New California law moves crop authority from county to state

Juniper Rose, TIMES-STANDARD ONLINE
EUREKA. A California law that will go into effect on Jan. 1 will transfer the authority to regulate seed and plant laws from counties to the state and has the potential to affect the ability of individual counties to ban GMOs.
The details on how the law would affect local ordinances that seek to regulate GMOs haven’t been evaluated yet, said Steve Lyle, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s public affairs director.
Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in August, California Seed Law — Assembly Bill 2470 — amends state Food and Agricultural Code sections relating to seeds.
The bill authorizes the California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary to adopt a list of plants and crops that the secretary finds are or may be grown in the state, according to the legislative counsel’s digest of the bill.
“The bill would also prohibit a city, county, or district, including a charter city or county, from adopting or enforcing an ordinance on or after January 1, 2015, that regulates plants, crops, or seeds without the consent of the secretary,” according to the digest.
Preexisting ordinances that restrict GMO crops — such as one in Arcata and Measure P, if it is passed by Humboldt County voters on Tuesday — would be grandfathered in and not affected by the law, Lyle said.
Counties looking to pass a GMO ban in the future could potentially be affected, he said.
“We would evaluate that on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Measure P spokesman Bill Schaser said the California Seed Law makes it even more crucial for Humboldt County to pass the ballot initiative at this time.
via New Calif. law moves crop authority from county to state – Times-Standard Online.

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