Symington says House could consider seed bill before adjournment

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(HOST) House Speaker Gaye Symington says it’s possible that the full House will consider legislation dealing with genetically engineered seeds before lawmakers adjourn for the year.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Symington said it’s likely that the legislation will be very different from a bill that passed the Senate several months ago.

The Senate bill held the manufacturer’s of the seeds liable for damages relating to the possible contamination of nearby fields. Symington is worried that the Senate approach could place some farmers in the middle of extensive legal proceedings.

(Symington) “There are a number of concerns in the House that the senate version of this bill could really tie up our farmers, our small farmers, presumably the farmers that supporters of the bill say they’re trying to protect. It could really tie them up in court.”

(HOST) Instead, Symington said the bill that reaches the House floor would try to put the basic elements of a federal court ruling dealing with pesticide damages directly into Vermont law.

(Symington) “Where it establishes that a farmer would be treated as a consumer. It establishes that economic losses would be considered injury. And it seems as if there’s a kernel within that decision that could be acceptable, and maybe an approach that the House Judiciary committee may put forward.”

(HOST) Symington says she’s hoping that the legislation will emerge from the House Judiciary by Friday.

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