Legislators assess final bills before adjournment

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(Host) Senate Democratic leaders say passage of legislation that holds the manufacturers of genetically modified seeds liable for the contamination of neighboring fields is a top priority in the final days of the current session. The measure has passed the Senate but is stalled in the House.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Senate majority leader John Campbell said the Senate will keep pushing for this bill this year:

(Campbell) “Tthis is an issue that affects a lot of farmers and people are losing their livelihood as a result of this. So we have to take every step we can to make sure that we protect those farmers who decide to have organic – and also even the regular farmers who do non-organic, by the way – of drift and things of that nature. Their crops can actually be adulterated and causing problems for them also.”

(Host) Meanwhile on another issue, House Republican leader Connie Houston says she’s not certain if a medical marijuana bill is going to make it to the House floor for a vote before the Legislature adjourns. The measure passed the Senate last year and a scaled back version has been approved by the House Health and Welfare committee. The bill is now being reviewed in the House Appropriations Committee:

(Houston) “I really cannot tell you if it going to happen. I do know that there are concerns. It’s an illegal drug. Doctors have talked to us – we met with a whole group of doctors the other day that said, look: you’re going to put us in a different situation. So again I’m not really sure what’s going to happen at this point in time.”

(Host) Both leaders say they’re hoping to adjourn by Friday night, but they acknowledge that there are still a number of key issues that need to be resolved before lawmakers can go home for the year.

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