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GMO Bill a Political Necessity, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Says

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Oregon News page.

Pure politics, and little else, is behind the inclusion of a measure regarding GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- in Monday's special legislative session on public pensions and taxes, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said Wednesday.

However, he said he doesn't expect the proposed bill, which would prohibit local bans on farmers planting genetically modified seeds, to upend the session. And he said it wouldn't be bad to have a statewide policy rather than a quilt of local laws.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Oregonian, Kitzhaber said it's "a long shot" that lawmakers would also take up the controversial Columbia River Crossing in what he says will be a one-day session. But he said a second special session on the proposed new Interstate 5 bridge is possible, and that Monday is not a firm deadline to ensure federal dollars for the project.

Kitzhaber also said he still hasn't decided whether to run for re-election, and that among the issues he's weighing is his age -- he's 66 -- and the amount of time he gets to spend with his son, Logan, a high school sophomore.

Oregon lawmakers are scheduled to begin hearings Thursday on five separate bills -- most of them dealing with the Public Employees Retirement System and taxes. All five are on Monday's agenda, and were given the nod in meetings Kitzhaber held with House and Senate leadership from both parties.    


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