Sunday, August 27, 2006

California State Assembly Votes for Control of GM Crops

In an earlier post, "Pre-emptive Strikes," reported on the California Senate Bill 1056. Sponsored by Monsanto, the bill was introduced by Democrat Senator Dean Florez in February this year.

The bill has just been read for the third time and passed by the State Assembly, in the session of Thursday, 24th August. The bill passed with a bipartisan majority of Republicans and centre-right Democrats in a vote of 51 to 24, with 4 abstaining.

In the comments to the bill, it is stated that "This bill clarifies that no state law shall be more restrictive than federal law by providing that no ordinance or regulation of any political subdivision may prohibit, or in any way attempt to regulate, any matter relating to the registration, labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of use, or use of seeds or nursery stock."

As to existing county actions, if such actions have gained passage on or before July 1, 2006, the passage of the new Bill will not invalidate those actions. This means that the Counties of Marin (at left, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting the organic markets in West Marin, last year), Mendocino, Trinity, and (most recently) Santa Cruz, will be exempt from the provisions of the bill if it passes into law. However, as Kimberly Geiger notes in an article in The San Francisco Chronicle, this still leaves 54 counties (including the Orange County) subject to the state when it comes to regulation of the industry, "even though the state does not have any regulation on the books."

Senate Bill 1056 must now go to the state's Senate and the Governor for approval before passing into law. The Governor must be given the opportunity to veto the law.

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