The Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that 39 state Legislatures continue to be in session, and most of those are just getting interesting with a month or two remaining before they adjourn for the year.

So while it’s over for the western states of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, South Dakota and Mississippi and Alabama in the South, and middle states of Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, lawmakers are still at it in the other states.

A surprise is playing out in Arizona where House Bill 2509 passed 45 to 11 in the Senate and 52 to 8 in the House. It’s a popular cottage food bill that Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed on April 18.

Her veto appears to be in the process of being subject to override by the Legislature, the first time such an action has occurred in Arizona in about 40 years. Hobbs barely won election last fall as governor and the Legislature is generally seen as divided and paralyzed along the usual partisan lines.

But the veto appears to have unified the Legislature, at least over cottage food, against the new Democrat governor. The veto override could be wrapped up today, say observers.

Gov. Hobbs was not lacking solid rationale in her veto message

“The bill would significantly increase the risk of foodborne illness by expanding the ability of cottage food vendors to sell high-risk foods,” Hobbs wrote. “It fails to establish sufficient minimum standards for inspection or certification of home-based food businesses, and could limit the ability of ADHS to investigate foodborne disease outbreaks.

“Nor does it provide a strong enough mechanism to ensure home kitchens are free of hazardous chemicals, rodent or insect infestation, or that equipment and storage of temperature-sensitive foods are adequate, functioning or even existent,” the governor added.

Vetos by Hobbs, however, have not been rare. The veto of the cottage food bill was her 63rd of the current legislative session, where Republicans control both chambers.

The cottage food bill builds on a 2010 Arizona law that exempted baked foods from regulation. Republican Rep. Travis Grantham said that while there are food safety concerns, expanding cottage foods is justified because home kitchens have never caused him personally to get ill.

In Iowa, the State Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill to ease up on restrictions over child labor. Some meat plants in some states have recently been fined for employing child labor through an employment service. There is concern that children may increase food safety problems while cleaning equipment. Senate File 542 relates to youth employment and makes the following changes:

  • Removes language providing for child labor permits and migrant labor permits.
  • Prohibits individuals 13 years of age or younger from working in any work activity.
  • Removes language that allows migrant laborers who are 14 or 15 years of age to work during summer school hours.
  • Allows minors to participate in certain work activities that are currently prohibited.
  • Modifies the hours that minors may work.
  • Allows the director of the Iowa Department of Workforce Development (IWD) to issue waivers of youth employment restrictions in certain circumstances.
  • Provides that the director of the IWD or the director of the Department of Education may grant exceptions from any provision of Iowa Code section 92.6, 92.7, or 92.8 for individuals 14 to 17 years of age who are participating in work-based learning or a school- or employer- administered, work-related program if certain conditions are met.
  • Creates exceptions to Iowa Code section 92.8 for students in approved work-based learning programs, registered apprenticeships, career and technical education programs, or student learner programs if certain conditions are met.
  • Removes certain violations relating to child labor under Iowa Code section 92.19.
  • Removes the serious misdemeanor penalty for an individual in charge of any migratory worker or of any child who engages in a street occupation in violation of Iowa Code chapter 92.
  • Grants the director of the IWD the right to waive or reduce a civil penalty related to the violation of child labor laws based on the evidence the director obtains. The bill also requires the director of the IWD to provide a 15-day grace period before imposing a civil penalty.
  • Modifies employer liability related to secondary students in work-based learning programs.
  • Allows individuals 16 or 17 years of age to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises where sold if the employer has written permission from the legal guardian or custodian of the individual on file. The individual may not sell or serve alcoholic beverages in a bar.
  • Prohibits persons under the age of 18 from work activities in establishments where nude or topless dancing is performed.
  • Requests the Legislative Council to establish an interim study committee to examine policy and make recommendations related to licensed driving by individuals between 14 and 18 years of age.

Senate File 542 passed the Iowa Senate on a 32-17 vote after an all night debate shortly before 5 a.m.

In Colorado, the hands-off approach the Legislature took after voters approved recreational cannabis use isn’t being followed for legal psychedelic use. An 85-page bill to regulate the newly legal “magic mushroom” business has been introduced by Senate President Steve Fenberg.

Senate Bill 23-290 appears to take over the implementation of Proposition 122 for making psilocybin and psilocin available for medical use as so-called “healing centers.” Outside of these areas, the bill makes psychedelics unlawful, but with small fines and light enforcement that local jurisdictions would not be able to change. The bill also puts limits on personal cultivation and introduced new regulators.

In Missouri, House Bill 1169 failed to obtain a “do pass” recommendation from the “Emerging Issues” committee, and there is nothing more scheduled for the bill at this time. The bill laid down when a product has to be labeled as “Gene Therapy Product.”

But the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association says the legislation, which is also being introduced in Tennessee and Arizona, has its support so far as it provides for labeling of consumer goods and transparency throughout the supply chain.

But USCA has gone on record about mRNA. That being the Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the molecule in cells that carries DNA code in the nucleus to protein sites of protein synthesis in the cytoplasm.

It says the issue is that “currently there are no mRNA vaccines licensed for beef cattle in the U.S. Since there is little known about the technology, our organization will be forming a task force to develop a fact and science based assessment of the issue.”

USCA is going to invite others in the beef supply chain to participate in the task force.

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