Senate Agriculture Committee Approves GMO Labeling Bill 4-1

Following a packed public hearing in the House Chamber the night before, the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee met this morning to review proposed changes to H.112, the GMO Labeling Bill. They then passed the bill by a vote of 4-1 with no trigger clause to impact the effective date of the bill. Clearly impressed and even moved by the out-pouring of passionate, well-informed testimony in favor of the bill at the public hearing (no one spoke against GMO labeling) the Committee first removed two alternative “trigger” clauses they had been considering over the past few days. They then edited the House version of the effective date for the bill making it simply July 1, 2015. “It is a strong vote for state autonomy and Vermonters’ clear indication that they want this information due to their environmental and health concerns.” said Sen. David Zuckerman following the vote. Although Sen. Norm McAllister cast the lone vote against the bill, he did support removing the trigger language in a preliminary vote. All members of the Committee expressed their appreciation for the Vermonters who attended the Public Hearing and in turn the VT Right to Know advocates, who were in the committee room for the vote, thanked the members of the Committee for their diligent work and for holding the public hearing. Falko Schilling, Consumer Protection Advocate for VPIRG and a partner in the VT Right to Know Coalition said “Last night’s public hearing made clear what we already knew, the vast majority of Vermonters support this bill and want to see GMO foods labeled. The Agriculture Committee has spent the last month putting in long hours making this bill as strong as possible and we are extremely pleased with the result of their work.” The bill will now be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where there will be further debate about its merits most likely beginning some time after the Town Meeting week break. In the meantime, stay posted for ways you can help move the bill forward. Thank you to all those who made it to the hearing last night, and all our supporters throughout Vermont!