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State Food Freedom Bills Go Down to Defeat Again

Tagged as “inexpedient to legislate” in New Hampshire and shelved in Utah, state food freedom bills got little traction for a second straight year.

Shannon Shutts, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, says when America’s largest state legislative body decides a bill is “inexpedient to legislate” it means the measure is dead.   

The 400-member body killed House Bill (HB) 1650 with a vote of 278-60.  

The Utah bill died when the Senate Rules Committee placed it in the “defeated bills” file.

Utah Sen. Casey O. Anderson, R-Cedar City, tried to save his Senate Bill (SB) 34  with amendments to recognize federal authority to enforce regulations that are adopted by Utah Code.  But the revisions did not stop the Rules Committee from killing the measure.

Wyoming Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, was the first to propose a state first freedom law in 2010. The Cowboy State has turned down several versions since then.

In Utah, over the past two years, sponsors of food freedom bills have sought to exempt any food grown and consumed only in the state from any federal regulation. Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, a dairy farmer, wrote last year’s bill.

This year, Anderson’s proposed SB 34 went further, making it a crime for anyone, including state officials, to help enforce federal regulations such as those found in the new Food Safety Modernization Act.

Like the earlier bill, Anderson’s measure sought to draw a line around agricultural products that were grown in Utah and consumed only in-state. The Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel issued an opinion of SB34, saying it would likely be found unconstitutional.

The New Hampshire bill was written along very similar lines, but it sought to jail “any official, agent, or employee of the government of the United States” who enforced federal laws and regulations on New Hampshire “foodstuffs.”

In a 400-member house where many ideas are thrown into the hopper as bills, New Hampshire’s Shutts says “a  great number of bills are voted inexpedient to legislate every session.”  

Still, state food freedom bills have gone nowhere over multiple years in three conservative states.   

© Food Safety News