Senate kills GE labels bill

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Despite passing the Senate Public Affairs Committee late Tuesday evening after an overwhelmingly positive discussion, Senate Bill 18 to amend the New Mexico Food Act to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food and feed was “deemed lost” after a majority of the Senate, in an extremely rare action, voted on the Senate Floor not to adopt the committee’s report.
Under Senate rules, this stopped the bill in its tracks and cut off any further debate or public input.
“Even though SB 18 is dead this year, it’s clear that New Mexicans want and deserve a label that tells them whether or not their food has been genetically engineered,” said the bill’s author Senator Peter Wirth (D-25 Santa Fe). “I greatly appreciate the Public Affairs Committee’s feedback and discussion around the issue of labeling GE food, as well as Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez’s leadership on this issue.
“GE food labels are a right New Mexican consumers deserve and, while this defeat is a setback, this discussion will continue at the state and national level.”
The bill passed the Public Affairs Committee 5-3 with Senators Craig Brandt (R-Dist 40), Ron Griggs (R-Dist 34) and Gay Kernan (R-Dist. 42) voting against. In a roll call vote on the Senate Floor Thursday morning, 23 senators voted to reject the report submitted by Public Affairs Committee Chair Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Dist 12). The senators who traditionally support peoples’ rights who voted the report down were: President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen (D-Dist 38), John Arthur Smith (D-Dist35), George Munoz (D-Dist 4) and three members of the Corporations Committee, Clemente Sanchez (D-Dist 30), Phil Griego (D-Dist 39), John Sapien (D-Dist 9).

Yong Jung Cho
Food and Water Watch
Santa Fe