A bill was introduced during the 2013 legislative session that would have restricted local governments from regulating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). The bill proposed all regulation of seed and seed products should be left to the state. It passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, but died in the House.
In the horse-trading around the special session, however, the bill has been resurrected. Legislators are trying to come up with a solution to raise revenue and cut the cost of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). In the attempt to find a compromise, the GMO proposal was put back on the table.
Supporters say county bans could overwhelm farmers with land in multiple counties who would have to deal with differing regulations. Opponents are worried the language is too sweeping, and could threaten Oregon’s organic and natural food trade.
This debate comes as activists in three Oregon counties are trying to get GMO bans on the ballot in 2014.
- Ivan Maluski: Director of Friends of Family Farmers
- Barry Bushue: President of the Oregon Farm Bureau