GMO Bills Passed Connecticut and Maine; Senator Sachs Revising Florida Bill For Next Session
Over the past year, public outrage of the use and lack of labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms -- a.k.a. GMOs -- in the food supply has reached a fever pitch.
Sara Ventiera Senator Maria Lorts Sachs speaking to activists at March Against Monsanto Miami
Since the failure of California's Proposition 37 last November, protestors across the country began pushing for mandatory labeling initiatives in other states.
Then came the 'Monsanto Protection Act.' Actually titled the Farmer's Assurance Provision, the rider was snuck into the unrelated Federal Budget, the Continuing Resolution Act. Food activists, parents, health advocates, environmentalists, and a number of other groups were -- and still are -- livid.
More than 26 states have added mandatory labeling initiatives on legislative agendas since. In the past couple weeks, Maine and Connecticut legislatures have overwhelmingly supported their own mandatory labeling initiatives.
In Florida, Senator Maria Lorts Sachs is working with activists to rewrite a new labeling initiative to introduce in the fall. Clean Plate Charlie spoke to Trish Sheldon of GMO Free Florida about the new bill.
Connecticut's mandatory labeling bill easily passed both the House and the Senate. Governor Dannel Malloy (D) has said he will also sign off on the bill.
However, while the state looks like it will be the first in the country to require labeling of GMOs, it does have stipulations that will take time to allow its passage. To actually go into effect, labeling initiatives must become law in four other states, including one bordering state. On top of that, the clause indicates that these states must include Northeast states with total populations of more than 20 million.
Connecticut has a total population of about 3.5 million people, so the sum of the other states must exceed 16.5 million.
Just this week, Maine's Senate passed its labeling initiative with a landslide vote, 35-0. In a similar fashion to Connecticut's bill, Maine's measure requires five consecutive states to require GMO labeling, including its only bordering state, New Hampshire.
Maine has a population of just over 1.3 million. So Connecticut still needs a bordering state, plus two additional states, and another 15.2 million people to move forward.
Why all the conditions? According to the Kennebec Journal:
"Monsanto has threatened to sue states that pass similar labeling laws, which is one reason why lawmakers in several states are passing labeling legislation dependent on other states doing the same. The state compacts could help defray costs of a lawsuit."