Kansas is an intensely Republican state, yet Democrats have hopes of an upset in the first U.S. House race in the age of Trump, a special election today to replace Mike Pompeo, who quit Congress to become CIA director. The Democratic nominee, civil rights lawyer James Thompson, "has spooked Republicans in Washington" with a Bernie-Sanders-style campaign, says The Nation.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce gave his support to legislation that would bar states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms and keep labeling voluntary on the federal level. In a statement, chairman Fred Upton thanked the Agriculture Committee "for working with us to get this bill through the House." The preemption bill is being handled by Upton's committee. Support by a chairman smooths the way for legislation.
After Vermont's enactment of the first-in-the-nation labeling law for genetically engineered foods in 2014, state legislatures are comparatively quiet on the issue this year. Only four items were enacted during sessions that ended this spring and two of them were resolutions, from Idaho and North Dakota, that ask Congress to ensure there is a uniform national standard for labeling, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo called a news conference for today to unveil a bill that would block states from requiring special labels on food made with genetically modified organisms, and keep labeling voluntary on the federal level.
Seventeen lawmakers signed as co-sponsors to the Pompeo-Butterfield bill in the House to pre-empt state labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms. Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican, told reporters he's spent a lot of time talking to senators about the legislation, a broader-reaching bill than his 2014 version. "We just have to find the right path forward," he said, which means finding well-positioned sponsors who could help steer the bill through committee approval to a floor vote.
House and Senate sponsors announced a new drive in Congress to require labels on food made with genetically modified organisms. "Consumers have a right to know what is in the foods they eat," said California Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the lead sponsors of the legislation. Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the lead sponsor in the House, said, "If food manufacturers stand by their product and the technology they use to make it, they should have no problem disclosing that information to consumers."
Congress could act early in 2015 on legislation to pre-empt state and local requirements for labels on food made with genetically modified organisms, said Kansas Rep Mike Pompeo, sponsor of a bill to keep labeling voluntary.
The leader of the largest U.S. farm organization said GMO food labeling, debated at the state level for the past three years, would result in "patchwork regulation that will do nothing but raise the cost of food." At the opening session of the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in San Diego, president Bob Stallman said "we need a national, fact-based approach to food labeling." Stallman also said, "We need to maintain farmers' access to better seeds and technology, whether it's through today's technology or innovations yet to come."
After three years of state-level referendums that cost $100 million, the fight over labeling GMO foods will come to Congress in 2015, say two organization leaders, Laura Batcha of the Organic Trade Association and Scott Faber of the Just Label It campaign. "The fight is shifting to D.C.," Faber told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by OTA. Batcha said "we really see 2015 as the year the fight moves to Washington."
County clerks in Oregon will begin a recount on Tuesday of the 1.5 million ballots cast on Measure 92, to require labels on foods made with genetically engineered organisms, according to a schedule posted by Secretary of State Kate Brown.