Capitol Alert: AM Alert: Genetically modified food fight returns to California

jwhite@sacbee.comJanuary 6, 2014 

Some labels show foods free of genetically modified organisms at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

RANDALL BENTON — rbenton@sacbee.com

In the months since California voters rejected a November 2012 ballot measure on the subject, proponents of labeling genetically modified food have pushed their fight nationwide with mixed results.

Last summer, the Connecticut and Maine legislatures handily passed labeling bills within days of each other — albeit with major caveats that require, among other things, at least four more states in the region to pass similar bills for the laws to take effect. In November, a GMO-labeling measure in Washington failed by a large margin.

Now the effort returns to California with a rally on the west steps of the Capitol from 10 a.m. to noon. The event — organized by the California State Grange, an agricultural service organization, and the group Label GMOs — has the goal of getting a lawmaker to carry a labeling bill for the 2014 session.

VIDEO: Two internal elections this year could be just as significant for the Legislature's future as the November races, Dan Walters says.

AND SO IT BEGINS: After a four-month recess, the Legislature is back in Sacramento. The 2014 session kicks off today with floor sessions for the Assembly at noon and the Senate at 2 p.m.

Big stories to watch for in the early part of the year include potential budget battles with Gov. Jerry Brown over a large surplus and efforts to tighten political spending rules in the wake of corruption allegations against Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.

Jeremy B. White has more in his video preview of California politics for 2014.

FRACK ATTACK: New rules for hydraulic fracturing in the state are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and the California Department of Conservation is in the midst of a 60-day public comment period on the proposed regulations. A public hearing will be held today from 3-7 p.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency building at 10th and I streets.

NEW JOB: Lobbyist Crystal Jack is leaving the firm Kahn, Soares & Conway for a new position at health insurance company Cigna. She begins on Jan, 21 and will oversee lobbying efforts for 11 states in the western region.

CORRECTION: Friday's AM Alert incorrectly stated the ages of California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton. Jones and Galgiani turned 52 and 50, respectively, on Saturday, not 51 and 49. We apologize for the error.

PHOTO: Some packaged foods are labeled as being free of GMO at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op on September 18, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

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