Washington’s state legislature will hold public hearings this week on two new bills that would require labeling for genetically engineered raw agricultural commodities and genetically engineered ingredients offered for retail sale.
SB 6298 will be heard on Thursday in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development:
Senate Hearing Room 3
J.A. Cherberg Building
304 15th Ave. SE
Olympia, WA. 98501
HB 2637 will be heard on Friday in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources:
House Hearing Room A
John L. O’Brien Bldg.
504 15th Ave. SE
Olympia, WA. 98501
GMO-Free Washington and Organic Consumers Assn. are organizing bus rides. The bus ride is free, but OCA is accepting donations to defray the cost. Organizers ask that you RSVP in advance. For the 26th, RSVP here. For the 27th, RSVP here.
Rep. Cary Condotta of the 12th District sponsored the House bill, while the Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Marilyn Chase (32nd), Sharon Nelson (34th), Paull Shin (21st), Karen Keiser (33rd), Christine Rolfes (23rd), and Steve Conway (29th).
If you are unable to attend the legislative hearings, the group will be holding a public discussion on Monday in Seattle at the Ballard Library from 6-7:45 pm.
Whether or not you plan to attend the hearings, all Washingtonians are being asked to write and call their state representatives and senators asking them to co-sponsor HB 2637 and SB 6298.
Folks are also asked to contact these members of the agricultural committees if you’re in their districts. They are expected to decide the following week.
Next month, the California Right to Know coalition expects to begin collecting petition signatures in support of a citizen imitative, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. If they collect a half-million legitimate signatures, the GMO label law will go to the voters in November.
California is one of several states that allow citizen-sponsored legislation to be put to a public vote. Because previous bills submitted by state legislators to require GMO food labels never made it out of committee, the Right to Know group decided on direct democracy.
The Institute of Science in Society has put together a nice summary: The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World.
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