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Help determine the fate of our priority bills as we near the end of the legislative session

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2016 July Issue Newsletter

By Amie Lindenboim

Lunch-In for Labeling GMOs on June 8 at MA State House

As we prepare to send you this update, just a few days before the historic Vermont GMO labeling law implements, attempts to shut down the Vermont law (and laws in Alaska, Maine, Connecticut, along with bills pending in state legislatures like Massachusetts) are moving quickly at the federal level.  Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a new bill that is nothing more than an industry-sponsored attempt to keep Americans in the DARK about what we are eating.  This supposed compromise is no better and arguably even worse than what was voted down just a few months ago:

  • It allows food companies to “disclose” GMO ingredients using barcode technology and websites, instead of clear words, in plain view, on the package
  • Many GMO ingredients would not be covered by the law’s narrow definition of “GMO,” so no labeling of any kind would be required
  • It won't kick in for another two years, even though many food companies are already labeling in order to comply with Vermont’s law
  • It would give food companies permission to flaunt the law by ensuring that there will be no penalties, no consequences, if they fail to comply

 It’s likely that as soon as both the House and the Senate return after the July 4 holiday recess, Monsanto’s hired guns will move heaven and earth to ram this bill through Congress.

 Please keep an eye out for action alert emails, our Facebook page and website as soon as the fireworks settle down.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Lunch-In for GMO Labeling on June 8! 

Our "Picnic with a Purpose" on the Boston Common in front of the State House and press conference on the State House steps was a fun way to remind legislators that we still want to know what’s in our food! 

NOFA/Mass Policy staff has been meeting with legislators and advocating for the GMO Food Labeling bill, along with bills that would protect pollinators, allow for home delivery of raw milk, and support local agriculture.

State Senator Anne Gobi (R), Chair of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, and Amie Lindenboim (L)There is less than a month until the end of the formal legislative session of the Massachusetts legislature.  This July promises to be an especially manic one at the State House.  Power struggles between the House and Senate have slowed the passage of bills to a snail’s pace, leaving a huge backlog of bills vying for consideration at the last minute. The Baker administration just disclosed that this year's state budget hole has grown larger, and estimates of revenues available for next year's budget might be off by as much as $750 million.  And right smack in the middle of July we have the Republican and Democratic National Conventions (on different dates). Due to travel, the legislature will only be able to meet on a limited number of dates.

What does this mean for NOFA/Mass’s legislative priorities? We will need to advocate loudly for any bill we want passed.  Stay tuned for action alerts and as always, contact your legislators and ask them what concrete steps they are willing to take to pass these bills and support sustainable local agriculture.


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