RAW MILK BILL NEEDS CALLS!
Thank you to everyone who has called or written in support of the Texas raw milk bills. You have definitely made an impression on the legislators, as shown by the 21 legislators who have co-authored the bill!
We need your help again.
Last week, the Public Health Committee held a hearing on HB 75, and over 100 people showed up to support the bill. The Committee heard testimony from medical professionals, farmers, and mothers in support of the bill. Unfortunately, not only did Big Dairy oppose the bill, but the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatrics Society both testified against the bill, making assertions about the dangers of raw milk despite the data to the contrary. The Department of State Health Services also tried to scare the legislators about the supposed dangers of raw milk, even though they were forced to admit that only two illnesses had been attributed to raw milk in Texas in the last twenty years.
Despite this strong showing by raw milk supporters, the bill appears to be in trouble. Unless it is voted out of committee this week, it has little chance of passing.
Even if you have called or emailed before, please take a few minutes to do so again!
STEP 1: EMAIL THE COMMITTEE
Please email each of the Committee members listed below. Be sure to put “Vote YES on HB 75” in the subject line of your email.
Chairwoman Kolkhorst: Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
Vice Chairman Naishtat: Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us
Representative Alvarado: Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
Representative Davis: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
Representative Gonzales: Veronica.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us
Representative King: Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
Representative Schwertner: Charles.Schwertner@house.state.tx.us
Representative Truitt: Vicki.Truitt@house.state.tx.us
Representative Zerwas: John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us
(note: Representative Coleman and Laubenberg are also on the Committee, but they are already co-authors of the bill, so we do not need emails sent to their offices)
Remember that it is very important to personalize your email because form letters are essentially ignored. Your email can be short — a personal, 3- or 4-sentence email is enough to make an impact. This sample is just to help you get started.
Subject: Vote YES on HB 75
Dear Representative _______________:
I urge you to vote yes on HB 75 and help move it forward this week. Raw milk is very important to me and my family because _________________________.
The health department and medical associations’ objections are based on fear, not fact. Any food can cause foodborne illness. I want to have a choice as to what to feed my family, without having to spend the time and money to drive out every week to the farm. The current barrier to raw milk does nothing to improve food safety or public health, it just harms the people — like me — who wish to buy this food.
I urge you to help pass HB 75 as soon as possible.
STEP 2: CALL YOUR OWN REPRESENTATIVE
Please also call your own Representative and urge him or her to co-author HB 75 — the more co-authors we have, the more pressure there is to move the bill forward. Ask your Representative to speak with Chairwoman Kolkhorst to express their support for the bill.
If your Representative is on the Public Health Committee, be sure to mention that you are a constituent and that this issue is very important to you. Ask them to urge Chairwoman Kolkhorst to bring it to a vote immediately. And then ask 5 of your friends and neighbors in the district to call as well!
If you don’t know who represents you, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630 or look it up online at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us
Talking points about HB 75 are posted at:
Texans can legally buy raw milk from Grade A dairies, but the regulations that limit sales to on-the-farm and require individuals to drive out to the farm, which may be 2 or 3 hours away. This regulation burdens consumers and penalizes family farmers.
* Do you know that agency officials contend that it is illegal for you to pick up milk for your friends and neighbors, even as a favor to them?
* Do you know that agency officials also contend that it is illegal for people to form buying clubs to pick up milk from a licensed dairy?
* Do you know that Massachusetts recently tried to crack down on raw milk buying clubs under rules almost identical to the Texas rules?
HB 75/ SB 237 would remove these unnecessary and unfair marketing restrictions on raw milk. HB 7/ SB 237 provides that licensed farmers can sell raw milk directly to consumers at farmers markets, farm stands, and fairs, as well as make arrangements for delivery. This bill would continue the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship while ensuring that raw milk is both safe and accessible to rural and urban customers.
Please help us get this bill passed. Take a few minutes to email the Committee members and call your Representative today.