From Rural Vermont –
JUDGE RULES: VT’s GMO FOOD LABELING LAW IS CONSTITUTIONAL AND CAN GO TO TRIAL
In an eighty-four page decision issued late on Monday April 28th, Federal District Court Judge Christina Reiss denied the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s motion for an injunction to block Vermont’s GMO labeling law from being implemented. Although she also denied the State of Vermont’s motion to dismiss the GMA’s lawsuit entirely, her ruling did support many of the State’s key arguments in support of the law.
Vermont’s first in the nation GMO labeling law was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature last year, and signed by Governor Shumlin last May. Passage of the law was supported by the work of the Vermont Right to Know GMOs coalition spearheaded by Cedar Circle Farm, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), Rural Vermont, and VPIRG. .
Next steps in the case may include proceeding to trial to resolve outstanding claims, or an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Though the Court found that Plaintiffs’ are not likely to succeed on blocking the disclosure requirement, the Court indicated that the prohibition on using the term “natural” will face an uphill battle. The law is set to go in to effect on July 1st 2016.
Please visit the VT Right to Know GMOs website for further updates as the court case continues.
House defeats proposal to ban teacher strikes – VTDigger.
Acontroversial bill that would have banned teacher strikes and the ability of school boards to impose labor contracts was slashed down to a task force. The study committee will report findings and recommendations to the Vermont Legislature in the fall.
The House of Representatives debated the bill, H.76, and a series of amendments that whittled away at the bill’s original purpose, for nearly five hours Wednesday.
Tensions ran high. Proponents of the ban passionately argued that teacher strikes are harmful to students and communities, while opponents defended the importance of labor unions and teachers.
In the end, the House replaced the meat of H.76 with a seven-member task force to study labor issues, in a roll call vote of 75 to 61. A final vote is expected Thursday.
Rep. Willem Jewett, D-Ripton, said the House should study the issue before taking action to ban strikes or impositions.
“I’m proposing an alternate approach here,” Jewett said as he addressed the Democratic caucus earlier in the day. Less than 1 percent of impasses result in strikes or contract impositions in Vermont.
Jewett said reconciling staff and infrastructure at a time when the state is faced with declining enrollments is the most critical educational issue now facing the Legislature.
The vote followed a day of debate and behind-the-scenes gatherings on details of the original legislation.