GMO provision rides in on budget deal
When Congress approved a spending bill two weeks ago, members did more than avert a possible government shutdown; they gave Monsanto and other manufacturers of genetically modified crops and seeds a big pass.
Language attached to the bill shields the makers of genetically modified food from federal court decisions that would block the companies from selling goods due to problems or incomplete environmental tests. Language in the bill – which President Obama signed last week – requires the Agriculture Department to permit the selling and growing of the products even if courts say they are not ready for sale. Critics are dubbing it the Monsanto Protection Act.
Among groups protesting the law are the Center for Food Safety, the National Farmers Union and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The language was in a rider to the bill, so called because they ride on an unrelated but necessary bill that Congress is unlikely to defeat and the president isn’t likely to veto.
Like many other such riders, it’s not clear which member of Congress is responsible. Critics blame Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., but her office says the language was in a version of the bill before she became chair.
Double or nothing
Let’s see if we can get this straight.
Some Hoosier lawmakers don’t like a proposal to replace the computerized table games at the state’s two racinos with live games and human dealers. They call it an expansion of gambling – even though the number of games would be the same.
Yet they aren’t raising red flags about the Hoosier Lottery ’s newly expanded late night hours to buy tickets.