Raw Milk–Raw Nerves

March 28, 2015

 

 

  At the work session on Thursday March 9th 2015 the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry listened to their committee analyst regarding the two raw milk bills under consideration this session and then adjourned to party caucuses without any discussion of the bills.   They reconvened and, with the Republican half of the committee refusing to table the bill, voted them both out of committee “ought not to pass” on a straight party line vote with one Republican Senator absent.    Thus the vote was tied and the bills will move forward to a full legislative vote on a divided committee report.  What this means is that the Republicans successfully thwarted any effort to discuss this bill.   Civil discussion of our differences of opinion, a bedrock principle of any participatory form of government, denied.

Representative Saucier and Representative Chapman did attempt to start the discussion but they were mostly ignored and the votes were called.

At the public hearings the week before there was testimony presented on both sided of the issue.  Last year, the governor pledged support for a direct sales raw milk bill so long as farmers’ markets weren’t included.  The fact that the vote was straight party line, and that there was much arm twisting going on in the hallway by a former member of the committee, proves this is not the case.   This particular former committee member has stated publicly that it is his mission to block anything we try to do this year.   He has established himself as the Governor’s mouthpiece on these issues thus dashing any hope of there not being a veto if either bill gets through the legislature.

And so we move on to other more hopeful bills.   Including Representative Chapman’s bill LD 925 An Act To Promote Small Diversified Farms and Small Food Producers.  No public hearing has been scheduled for this bill  yet.   Stay tuned.

Advertisements

New Milk and Cheese Bill Hearing This Week!

March 2, 2014

“We always hear about the rights of democracy, but the major
responsibility of it is participation.”
–Wynton Marsalis

PUBLIC HEARING ON NEWLY PROPOSED MILK AND CHEESE BILL ON MARCH 4TH AT
1PM IN ROOM 214 of the CROSS BUILDING.

Public notice is short during this short session, but legislative and
public support for direct sales of fresh, unprocessed dairy keeps
growing. This time around, several Maine Cheese Guild members have been
working on bill language with Rep. Bill Noon (D-Sanford) on LD 1286 An
Act To Allow the Sale of Unregulated Farm-produced Dairy Products at
the Site of Production.

We have worked hard time and again to raise our voices over the last
five years to keep traditional ways of exchanging food legal. Each
time, awareness is raised, more understanding is reached and…we get
closer.

It is time for us to once again raise our voice, submit testimony,
attend the public hearing. PARTICIPATE! This bill aims to restore the
legitimacy to small-scale dairies that was stripped away by internal
language changes by the Quality Assurance and Regulations Division of
the Department of Agriculture in 2009. Please read the bill carefully.
Please consider it well. Please raise your voice and submit your
testimony to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
If you can, please attend the hearing in Augusta this Tuesday.”

Links below:

Committee Info.: Please submit testimony (one page or less is good) to
the clerk of the committee linked on the page:
http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/acf.htm

Bill Text:
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1278&item=1&snum=126