[env-trinity] ALERT! Possible Legislation to Preempt Local Regulation of GE Seeds!

Daniel Bacher danielbacher at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 27 18:28:21 PDT 2005


Hi everyone,

As a quick update, I received a slightly expanded version of the earlier
information about revision language for AB1508, which would override
county authority on the regulation of GE organisms, effectively preempting
existing and future county and city bans.  (See information below.)

The message that is suggested to consistently deliver is that "this is an
assault of local democratic rights of individuals to protect their health,
environment, and economies.  This bill undermines participatory democracy,
strips local control, and is a threat to citizen participation on issues
of widespread concern."

It is critical to get as many (short) phone calls, e-mails, and faxes
to Senator Deborah Ortiz and other Assembly Agricultural Committee members
requesting they do not allow the revision language to be added to AB1508.


                                                      Kim

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ALERT!  Possible State Legislation to Preempt Local Authority to Regulate
Seeds (Particularly Genetically Engineered Seeds)

On Friday June 24, it was learned that there is an attempt to amend a
California State Assembly bill (AB 1508) to include language that would
override county authority on the regulation of GE organisms, effectively
preempting existing and future county and city bans. AB1508 was in its
final round of hearings, and this last-ditch amendment is clearly an
underhanded attack by the biotech industry on local democratic rights. The
original author of the bill, Assemblymember Simon Salinas (D-28) on the
Assembly Ag Committee from Monterey, Santa Clara and San Benito is
considering authoring the amendment, but as of today has not decided to do
so, and another author may have to be found. The next hearing of the bill
is on Tuesday morning June 28 in the Senate Ag Committee, the last
committee hearing of this legislative session.

[NOTE: For those of you in Sacramento, Fresno, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake,
Humboldt and LA counties, please scroll down to see what you can do
IMMEDIATELY to put pressure on your representatives who are in the Senate
Agriculture Committee. A broader appeal will follow if the bill passes
through the Agriculture Committee.]

The message that we want to consistently deliver is that this is an
assault of local democratic rights for citizens to protect their health,
environment, and economies.  This bill undermines participatory democracy,
strips local control, and is a threat to citizen participation on issues
of widespread concern. As many of you know, 15 states recently have
introduced legislation removing local control of plants and seeds, and 12
of these have already passed into law. The uniformity of the language in
each of the bills and their swift, back-door introduction indicate that
this is a coordinated attempt by industry to undermine the growing
grassroots movement to establish local protections over genetically
engineered organisms.

Note that even if we win this round and kill or stall it in a committee,
we have to remain vigilant for the possibility of an even worse-case
scenario.

This bill will move fast, so immediate attention is important.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR ORGANIZERS IN Sacramento, Fresno, Sonoma,
Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT OF ANY

OF THE REPRESENTATIVES LISTED BELOW, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR BEFORE
TUESDAY EXPRESSING YOUR STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE PRE-EMPTION LANGUAGE
AMENDMENTS TO SB 1508. To find out who your Senator is, go to
http://www.vote-smart.org and enter your zip code.

At this point we only want to target the possible author of the amendment
as well as legislators within the Senate Agricultural Committee who are
likely to vote against the amendment to support and encourage them in
their opposition.

Below is a shortened version of what we recommend to say as well as
legislator contact information - a brief phone call or  message is all
that it takes. Send this to people you know in your county asking them to
also contact their representatives.

This is THE most important point:

Pre-emption undermines participatory democracy, strips local control, and
is a threat to citizen participation on issues of widespread concern.

Other talking points:
* Local governments have historically overseen policies related to public
health, safety, and welfare.
* Preventing local decision-making contradicts the legitimate and
necessary responsibilities of cities, towns, and counties.
* Traditionally, laws enacted at the federal and state level have set
minimum requirements and allowed for the continued passage and enforcement
of local ordinances that establish greater and regionally appropriate
levels of public health
protection. Pre-emptive legislation reverses this democratic tradition.

GE-Specific:
* Local legislation regulating genetically engineered organisms, in
particular, is designed to address important gaps in federal and state
policy, and mitigate potentially serious threats to public health, the
environment, and economy.


Legislator Contact Information:

ASSEMBLYMAN SIMON SALINAS (potential author of the amendment - urge him
NOT to author this amendment)
Assembly District 28, Santa Clara, Monterey, San
Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
Capitol Office
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0028
Phone: (916) 319-2028
Fax: (916) 319-2128

SENATOR DEBORAH ORTIZ (senator.Ortiz at sen.ca.gov)
Senate District 6; Sacramento County
Member of Senate Agriculture Committee
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4006
Fax (916) 323-2263

SENATOR DEAN FLOREZ (Email:
senator.florez at sen.ca.gov)
Senate District 16; Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties
Member of Senate Agriculture Committee
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5061
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone (916) 651-4016
Fax (916) 327-5989

SENATOR WESLEY CHESBORO
(Senator.Chesbro at sen.ca.gov.)
Senate District 2; Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Napa
and Sonoma Counties
Member of Senate Agriculture Committee
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5035
Sacramento CA  95814
(916) 651-4002
Fax (916) 323-6958

Senator EDWARD VINCENT
District 25; LA County
Member of Senate Agriculture Committee
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5052
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4025
Fax (916) 445-3712




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