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Scores Testify in Favor of GE Food Labeling Bill

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

Hundreds of people, many of whom traveled in buses from the far corners of the state, jammed the Statehouse Thursday night to tell the House Agriculture Committee to pass the bill mandating labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food sold in Vermont.

"It reminded me of Barack Obama saying, 'Pass this bill,'" said Rural Vermont executive director Andrea Stander about the litany of testimony. She said 112 people testified by the end of the evening.

Committee member Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, echoed her. "One hundred percent wanted us to pass the bill. Some said tonight, some said tomorrow."

Committee Chair Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, said after Thursday's hearing that the committee will be discussing the bill Friday morning, and she expects it to pass in some form. She thinks it will need examination by the Judiciary committee.

"We have two weeks left in the session," she said. "I think it's important, if nothing else, to set up a model bill and do our best to create a defensible bill."

The hearing was scheduled for the House chamber to accommodate the large crowd expected. The House was still on the floor, however, at the beginning of the hearing, so the hearing opened in Room 11, the next largest meeting room in the building. "Welcome to the people's house," began Partridge. "I'm sorry we're not meeting in the living room, but at least we're in the den."

While the crowd waited for committee members to arrive from a roll-call vote on the House floor, they spoke to each other of why they were there, with committee staffer Linda Leehman taking a microphone around the room.
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