Ag bills update in Legislature 3/13

While there were no OFS priority bills up for hearings this week (3/6-3/10), it was encouraging to see farmers in town testifying on a couple other important issues. The first was on Wednesday in the Senate Workforce Committee where SB 779 was up for a public hearing. That bill would fix the new “sick leave” law by clarifying that family members should not be included in the employee count for determining if a business is required to offer sick leave benefits. Several farmers testified. talking about the need for the clarification for family farms.
On Thursday, a group of dairy farmers were in town to testify on SB 197 which would impose new clean air requirements on dairies. The bill was in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, where scientists and farmers opposed this unnecessary bill.

It’s always great to see farmers wandering the halls of the Capitol!
Dairy farmers outside the hearing on SB 197
Next week, there are two OFS priority bills scheduled for hearings, and it will be important to have growers visiting the Capitol or sending emails to their legislators.
On Thursday morning, March 16th, at 8:00am, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on HB 2469. This bill would undermine the seed preemption law by exempting regulations on GMO crops from preemption. This would mean local governments and citizen initiatives would be able to regulate what crops farmers are able to plant. Please attend the hearing or send a message to let legislators know why seed preemption is important to you!
On Thursday afternoon at 1:00 the House Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 2739, which would hold seed patent holders of GE crops financially liable if their seed was found on neighboring land. This bill seeks to demonize GE crops and paint them as somehow being “dangerous.” OFS is opposed to both of these bills.
If you have questions about these, or any other bills, please reach out to us.

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