Pages tagged "HB 2882"
Another Bite of the Sandwich: HB 2882 Legislative Update
Cultivate Oregon and coalition partners put forth identical bills in the House and the Senate that would create patent holder or manufacturer liability for GE contamination events in Oregon. Unfortunately, it is simply not politically feasible to pass a bill that puts liability on patent holders or manufacturers—yet! Salem is a conservative place where business interests are fiercely protected, even by many liberals, and we have to work with legislators and take incremental steps if we want to make progress.
- A new coalition member – Oregon Organic Coalition
- More sign-ons to the bills
- Support from the Speaker of the House
- Being assigned a legislative champion
- Surviving deadlines and having a hearing scheduled
- Having two legislators testify in support of our bill – a big thank you to Sen. Golden and Rep. Wilde
- An article in the Statesmen Journal and another story is in the works for a media outlet with national reach
- We have moved from being on the defense to being on the offense for GE issues
- A better understanding of how things work in Salem
HB 2882 Update
Update on HB 2882: First off, a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who showed up and submitted testimony for the GE Liability Bill last Wednesday. It is appreciated and is helping to keep up the momentum on this bill.
And HB 2882 is still alive. However, in order to maintain forward momentum, the bill’s original intent was amended. It is simply not politically feasible to create patent holder or manufacturer liability for genetically engineered (GE) contamination events. Yet. The new intent of HB 2882 is to grant ODA the authority to regulate GE crops in Oregon. This is a positive step forward, as ODA has long claimed that the agency does not have this authority. While many may be disappointed that a bigger step is not being taken, HB 2882 is farther along in the legislative process than ever before.
The GE industry still has incredible political power and it should be considered a win that an incremental step is being made. However, we’re not across the finish line yet. The hearing for HB 2882 will resume on Monday May 13th at 3pm in Hearing Room C. It is our hope that a work session will follow and the bill will be voted out of committee.
Please stay tuned for updates, which hopefully will include doing outreach to the next committee where HB 2882 lands. And you can still submit testimony up until 3pm tomorrow.
Hearing Scheduled for HB 2882!
Farmers, seed savers and those who care about the future of Oregon’s seed stocks, take note! HB 2882, the GE Liability Bill is moving forward thanks to the work of all of our coalition partners, especially Our Family Farms. There is a hearing and possible work session scheduled for this Wednesday, May 8th at 3pm in Hearing Room C before the House Rules Committee.
Having a hearing and a work session is a big step forward and we need to keep up the momentum by having the public testify or submit testimony.
If you can come testify THIS WEDNESDAY, please contact our Policy Director, Amy Wong at [email protected] or (805) 455 4200. We have a small travel fund to bring farmers to Salem but we will need to coordinate quickly. Amy can also help you create personalized testimony if you like. In-person testimony is powerful and moving.
If you can’t testify in person, please consider submitting written testimony. We have provided a template and instructions on how to submit on our website. Please also send a message to your Representative and Senator to tell them that you support HB 2882. Find who represents you here.
HB 2882, the GE Liability Bill, survived the first deadline and is being moved to the Rules Committee!
Update on GE Liability Bill: HB 2882 has been scheduled for a Work Session at 1pm on April 3rd. This alone is a big win because the legislature is overwhelmed with thousands of bills and many pieces of legislation don’t make it though, regardless of their underlying merits. The Speaker of the House helped ensure the forward movement of the bill and we are appreciative of her support.
What will happen at the work session? This work session is different from a public hearing in that no testimony will be taken, although the public may attend if they like. The purpose of this work session is to simply move the bill from the Judiciary Committee to the Rules Committee where it will (hopefully) get a full hearing. That's where you come in!
What you can do: Please do make sure you've filled out our support form and let us know if you can be available to write testimony or testify in person once a hearing does get scheduled.
What this bill does: HB 2882 will create liability for patent holders or licensed manufacturers of genetically engineered products that cause GE contamination events in Oregon. The bill will not pit farmer against farmer. The parties that will be held responsible are the corporations behind genetic engineering, not the farmers who use them since in some instances, contamination is out of the hands of the farmer who planted the GE seed. GE contamination, and the threat of contamination, has cost farmers--including Oregon farmers--billions of dollars.
What happened to SB 434? We introduced identical GE Liability bills in both the House and Senate—a slightly amended version of the bill that was introduced in 2017. We got off to a great start in terms of getting the bills drafted early and into committees in both chambers where they would have a chance. Because GE issues are incredibly contentious in Salem, some committees would be hostile to the bills and not take steps to move them forward.
We were repeatedly re-assured from our Chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Frederick, that the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Prozanski, would be scheduling a hearing. Sen. Prozanski even signed onto the bill and has long been a supporter of GE issues! However, last week Sen. Prozanski changed his mind because he is concerned that the bill could create negative, unintended legal consequences.
While it is disappointing that the Senate version is not moving forward, we still have the House version, and Sen. Prozanski committed to holding an Informational Hearing followed by a Work Group in the Senate because he does see the need to “draw a line in the sand” with GE issues but wants to make sure that he does so in a way that he is comfortable with. Our Chief Sponsor has gotten pieces of legislation out of Work Groups before, so ultimately, this is a step in the right direction. Sen. Prozanski said that he would schedule this hearing in late April or May so stay tuned.
It often takes multiple tries to get legislation passed, so while some of you may be feeling disappointed, we are still on a good track! We also found new Republican allies—Rep. Findley signed on and Rep. Stark is also supportive of the House version. We also are working with a new coalition partner, Oregon Organic Coalition, and through this relationship, we will be attending quarterly meetings at Oregon Department of Agriculture. These are really great developments.
What About Canola?
SB 885, which will address the sunset on the current limit of 500 acres of canola grown in the Willamette Valley, also has a work session scheduled on April 4th and we will know more after that time.
French, German farmers destroy crops after GMOs found in Bayer seeds
Another incident of GE contamination in France and Germany reported on 2/6/2019.
Our two bills, SB434 and HB 2882, will address the issue of GE contamination in Oregon by holding patent holders or licensed manufacturers accountable when GE organisms are found on land without permission of the owner or lawful occupant. These bills WILL NOT pit farmer against farmer. The parties that will be held responsible are the corporations behind genetic engineering, not the farmers who use them since in some instances, contamination is out of the hands of the farmer who planted the seed.
Learn more about these bills here.
Bayer said on Wednesday that farmers in France and Germany were digging up thousands of hectares of rapeseed fields after traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) banned for cultivation were found in seeds sold by the company.
GMO crops are widely grown across the world, but they remain controversial in Europe, where very few varieties are authorized for growing and some countries like France have completely outlawed their cultivation, citing environmental risks.
Checks by the French authorities during the autumn showed minute quantities of GMO seeds, estimated at less than 0.005 percent of the volume, in three batches of rapeseed seeds sold under the Dekalb brand, Catherine Lamboley, Bayer’s chief operating officer for France, said.
Dekalb was previously a Monsanto brand before the U.S. company was taken over by Bayer last year.
The GMO found, which is a rapeseed variety grown in Canada, is not authorized for cultivation in Europe, although it is allowed in imports destined for food and animal feed, Lamboley said.
Bayer issued a product recall but some of the seed had already been sown, representing about 8,000 hectares in France and 2,500-3,000 hectares in Germany, which are in the process of being dug up, Bayer said.
It was not yet known what caused the contamination of the rapeseed seeds, produced in Argentina in a GMO-free area, Lamboley said.
Protect the Specialty Seed Industry in Oregon
Cultivate Oregon and coalition partners are back in Salem to protect Oregon agriculture and the specialty seed industry by creating accountability for genetically engineered (GE) contamination events in Oregon! SB 434 and identical bill HB 2882 have been filed and have been placed in the Judiciary Committee in both the Senate and House. It is possible that we will need to call upon you to help us support these bills in the next couple of weeks. You can help by submitting testimony, traveling to Salem to testify at a hearing along with our lobbyist and other coalition members, and/or adding your name to our public list of supporters. So please sign up for our newsletter and action alerts to stay updated.
SB 434 and HB 2882 hold patent holders or licensed manufacturers accountable when GE organisms are found on land without permission of the owner or lawful occupant. These bills WILL NOT pit farmer against farmer. The parties that will be held responsible are the corporations behind genetic engineering, not the farmers who use them since in some instances, contamination is out of the hands of the farmer who planted the seed. GE contamination, and the threat of contamination, costs farmers, including Oregon farmers, billions of dollars. It is time to level the playing field and hold the corporations behind the technology that is responsible for this contamination accountable.
Sponsors and sign-ons of these bills include: Sen. Frederick, Sen. Manning, Sen. Dembrow, Sen. Prozanski, Sen. Gelser, Sen. Golden, Rep. Marsh, Rep. Helm, Rep. Sanchez, Rep. Holvey, Rep. Hernandez, Rep. Nosse, and Rep. Gomberg.
We’re not doing this alone--Our Family Farms, Center for Food Safety, Oregonians for Safe Farms and Families and Friends of Family Farmers are involved in this important work to ensure that we have a specialty seed industry for generations to come.
As many of you know, GE contamination is a one-way contamination and the burden falls on the farmer who needs to fence it out, which can be impossible in some geographic regions. Further, the legal precedent is not favorable for a farmer who is inadvertently contaminated by somebody else's GE crop. GE contamination is often irreparable. For example, the GE bentgrass infestation in Malheur and Jefferson counties is now the responsibility of the state since the federal government deregulated bentgrass, so there no longer are any legal teeth to hold Scotts and Monsanto responsible for this ongoing contamination.
Oregon is an incredibly unique seed growing region and it is important that we protect this legacy. Oregon is one of the top five vegetable seed producers in the world, owing to the state’s fertile valleys and temperate climate. Specialty seed growers in the state grow radish, cabbage, onion, Swiss chard, squash, beets, grasses, among others, for seed, which are planted by farmers around the world. Our specialty seed industry is worth at least $50 million dollars annually with room for growth if the right protections are in place. Ensuring that Oregon has a robust specialty seed industry that includes organic seed production will help create an environmentally and economically resilient food system, especially in terms of adaptive seeds that will help fight climate change.
Why is this legislation needed:
- Federal regulations are inadequate.
- There are no statewide GE regulations in Oregon.
- All counties, exception Jackson County, are preempted from making decisions about what type of seeds are grown in their jurisdiction.
- The ban on growing canola in the Willamette Valley sunsets later this year. Canola poses exceptional threats to a wide variety of organic and conventional vegetable seeds and as of right now, it is unclear how ODA will address this before the ban sunsets. Potential GE canola contamination unfortunately hasn’t been a large part of the official discussion, and even non-GE canola seed was recently found to be contaminated. As a result European farmers are ripping up their crops and won’t be able to use the fields for two years. See: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-gmo-bayer-idUSKCN1PV1RG
Read full text of both bills and track them here:
SB434 - https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB434
HB 2882 - https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2882
Read testimony from last year’s bills here (first public hearing) and here (second public hearing).