Biotech fails again in state Legislature

SB 1056, a bill to amend the California Seed Law to deny local authority over seeds and plants failed to pass the state Senate last week, according to one official state Legislature website and several environmental groups.

The environmental groups said the bill was strongly backed by Monsanto and other biotech corporations.

There are two strong arguments against this legislation. First, it would preempt local authority, inviting state consitutional challenge. Secondly, the state has no policy on the poltential health and economic hazards of genetically modified organisms.

This bill, authored by Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, originally

required the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to submit on or before July 1, 2006, a report to the Legislature regarding the feasibility of adopting concrete and easily administered incentives to reduce agricultural air pollution.

This is called to "gut-and-amend" one bill with entirely new language.

The first time Florez tried to get this bill and do the bidding of the Biotech Industry Organization, he used the identical technique in an Assembly committee, not even providing written language for it. But, at that time, he had not refined it to grandfather in the counties who already had already passed anti-GMO measures. This time, he did grandfather them in.

No one doubts the bill will be back next year. Only the bill to be gutted and amended remains in question.