|GMO Legislative Update May 7-05|
FARMER PROTECTION ACT UPDATE
You may have heard that the House Agriculture Committee voted on the Farmer Protection Act on Wednesday...this is true. One of the members of the committee made a motion to pass the bill out of committee, as passed by the senate (S.18). The motion failed 0-11! Although this at first seems bad, it's really not. It's true, some of the committee members (LESS than half!) voted no on the motion because they do not support the Farmer Protection Act -- but some of the committee members (MORE than half!) voted no on this motion because they wanted to have time to actually discuss the bill and mark it up (so far, they have heard lots of testimony, but have not discussed the bill among themselves). Even though the vote was 0-11, there was a commitment made by the committee to continue discussion on the bill next week, and to try to get to a point where they could pass out an amended version of the bill. Stay tuned for further updates. The committee schedule is not yet posted, but we will continue to update our outgoing voicemail message as we get details at 802-223-7222.
It is very important to note that this motion was made because the member of the committee who made it believed that there were enough votes in the committee to "kill" the bill. However YOUR CALLS AND ACTION MADE THE DIFFERENCE. During the discussion on the motion, a committee member commented that there was a clear interest in the bill from many Vermonters (several showed up with less than 3 hours' notice for the discussion), and that the committee had a responsibility to at least try to get to a point where enough members could agree to pass a bill out. THANK YOU to all of you who have been working so hard during the past several weeks, months, and years to get to this point. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!! As the session winds down, it will be even more important to stay active and involved with the process - as the session draws to a close, deals are made, big issues are debated, and we need to keep our bill in the forefront of our legislators' minds to make sure it gets a vote on the house floor before they go home for the summer! See below for ways to help this week!
MAKE A SCARECROW THIS WEEK
It's not too late! If you didn't yet make your scarecrow for the front lawn, please make one now! This is a great family activity, and a nice break from phone calling and traveling to the statehouse. Also, it will be fun! Here's what to do:
Please make a scarecrow, put it on your front lawn, and let us know you did it! Call 802-223-7222 and tell us the location of your scarecrow, or email a photo to email@example.com. Get creative! Get your neighbors involved! Go to the Co-op and tell others to make scarecrows, too! This is something YOU can do to HELP US get the Farmer Protection Act passed without even leaving your house! If you don't have straw, stuff your scarecrow with newspapers or other stuff - just get it out on your lawn! To see photos of the scarecrows who visited the statehouse, check out www.ruralvermont.org. To see the ad that featured Elmer the scarecrow, visit: http://www.ruralvermont.org/archives/001126.html
TAKE A BREAK FROM PHONE CALLING
This week, we want to give the members of the House Agriculture Committee time and space to really work on the Farmer Protection Act, so we're asking you to STOP calling legislators JUST FOR AWHILE. We'll let you know when to start up again, but for now, we want to give them a bit of a break. Especially, please DO NOT CALL John Malcolm and Dick Lawrence this week. They have both received many many many calls, and they know how you feel. Let them have a bit of time off so they can make a good decision about what to do on the bill. THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org...
posted: 05/07/2005 01:34:32