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August 3, 2000


Bills in Other States


Dear Tim and all,

States have been quite active in proposing legislation regarding biotechnology.
The following is an article with appeared a couple months ago in the
Agra/Food/Industrial Biotech Legal Letter:

Plethora Of Proposed Biotech Bills In State Legislatures
Across the country, a wide variety of bills attempting to
(1) encourage or (2) discourage or (3) rein in biotechnology
have been introduced into state legislatures.

“What we’re seeing is people all over the country are
getting concerned,” says Chad Dobson of the Consumer’s
Choice Council.

Take a look at what’s out there:

In Vermont, bills have been introduced that would require
the labeling of agricultural inputs produced with the use of
genetic engineering, including seeds and would ask the
University of Vermont to study the impact of genetically
engineered crops and livestock on Vermont agriculture.

In Iowa, a senator introduced bill 2189 that would prohibit
a person from selling or offering to sell genetically
modified crop seed if the person includes in the sales price
any charges associated with genetically engineering the
seed. Introduced into the Iowa House was Bill 2013 which
would regulate the genetic engineering of yellow hilum
soybeans and states that a soybean has been genetically
altered if the deoxyribonucleic acid of the seed or plant
has been modified in a manner other than by breeding.

The West Virginia legislature has entertained a bill
requiring that only foods free from genetically modified
ingredients and pesticides be served in West Virginia
schools. In Washington, a bill would establish a commission
to study issues involving deoxyribonucleic acid technology.
In Connecticut, proposed legislation would provide a
corporate income tax credit to encourage investment in
biotechnology companies. In New York, bills would impose a
moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically
modified crops and ban the sale or planting of engineered
sterile seeds.

In Minnesota, bills have been introduced that would ban the
sale of genetically modified food, unless such food is
labeled, and that would impose a moratorium on permits for
and use of genetically modified organisms.
In Maryland, a bill withdrawn from further consideration on
March 21 would have prohibited the sale, distribution or use
of nongerminating genetically engineered seed rendered
incapable of producing second generation seed by terminator
gene technology and would have authorized the Secretary of
Agriculture to impose a civil penalty for violating the
prohibition on the sale, distribution, or use of
nongerminating genetically engineered seed.

Introduced into the Florida Senate was Bill 704, which
would establish the Florida Marine Biotechnology Research
and Development Program.

On a more genomic note, introduced into the New Mexico
Senate was a bill to appropriate funds from that state’s
tobacco settlement fund to the University of New Mexico
Cancer Center for a research program in genomics.

In Pennsylvania, a House bill would provide for a
Pennsylvania Emerging Technology and Biotechnology Tax
Benefit Transfer Program.
The New Hampshire House shot down a bill that would have
required labeling of foods which contain any ingredients
derived from plant seed treated in a manner that results in
artificially heightened immunity to pesticides or herbicides
and would have prohibited the importation of such seeds into
the state.

Senator Cap Dierks of Ewing, Nebraska, introduced bills that
would create a state program to certify that grain had not
been genetically modified and to make producers liable if
their genetically modified crops pollinate neighboring
conventional crops.

In Hawaii, bills have been introduced that would recognize
biological materials as personal property and expand the
definition of trade secret to include biological materials;
that would express legislative support for the responsible
use of agricultural biotechnology for the benefit of
Hawaii’s people; that would require the reporting of all
ongoing and planned work with engineering in the state of
Hawaii; that would provide for further scientific and
economic evaluation before continuing the expansion of
genetic engineering in Hawaii; and that would allow
biotechnology companies to sell their unused net operating
loss carryover and unused tax credits to other qualified
biotechnology companies.

California, as always a trend setter, has had legislators
introduce bills that would require manufacturers, producers
and distributors of food intended for human consumption to
label genetically engineered food products and would require
manufacturers to make available samples of their food to the
Department of Food and Agriculture to confirm the absence of
genetically modified organisms as well as a bill that would
require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene
a task force to consider the establishment of state
guidelines ensuring parents’ right to know whether
genetically engineered materials are served to their
children in public schools in snacks, breakfast or lunch
programs, or in after school programs.

All this is in addition to ballot initiatives in Maine and
California that would require the labeling of genetically
modified foods.

> From: "Tim Bubar"
> Subject: Re: New York State Bill A09871
> Does anyone know if there are other U.S. states considering legislation of
> this type?

> If you live in New York you may want to call your local congressman about
> this. A New York State Senate hearing is supposedly scheduled for
> September 13th, and expert witnesses are needed.