Please Support Virginia Farmers:
Show your opposition to SB1195 which will be voted on this THURSDAY, January 19, by the Senate Agriculture Committee who meet in Senate Room B, 1/2 hour after adjournment (approx 1:30 or 2 pm)
SB 1195 Produce safety; farm inspections; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties.
Sponsor- Senator Richard H. Stuart
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:
Produce safety; farm inspections; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties.
Prohibits certain farms from violating the federal regulations that set minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. The bill authorizes the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of the law and gives the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services free access at all reasonable hours to any farm to inspect the farm and take samples. The Commissioner also is authorized to seize certain produce that he believes to violate the federal regulations or state law. The bill makes the act of obstructing an inspector a Class 2 misdemeanor and of violating any other provision of the law or a Board regulation a Class 1 misdemeanor. In lieu of a criminal penalty, the Board is authorized to levy a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, to be deposited in an Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund that is created by the bill. full text
Talking Points for Commenting in Opposition to SB 1195
Constitutional issues of search and seizure and the potential litigation liability.
Constitution of Virginia, Article I. Bill of Rights
Section 10. General warrants of search or seizure prohibited
That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
This bill seeks to expand the powers of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) without a defined health risk.
Fresh produce is one of a very few foods not heavily regulated.
This bill would expand inspection from actual production facilities to just about anywhere.
This bill will authorize a “fishing expedition” by VDACS funded by USDA grants leading to its own source of revenue, outside of the legislature.
Just this last year, VDACS imposed new produce regulations on farmers markets without legislation.
VDACS is out of control and needs to be constrained not expanded.
The impact on orchard and vegetable farms would be dramatic, giving consumers few choices other then industrialized agriculture.
This bill will have a detrimental impact on Virginia agriculture, particularly small farms.
Small farms are failing due to over regulation.
The loss of small farms will drastically damage Virginia’s agricultural nature.
This is a loss of revenue issue for the state, in that the majority of the industrialized food industry is not based in Virginia.
We need to keep Virginia’s consumers’ food purchases going to in-state producers, not to multi-national corporations.
Buy local is a major trend with food consumers.
The state should be finding ways to capitalized on that market, not minimize it.
How did the people of the Commonwealth survive for the last 283 years
without this legislation?
1/ Write down a few comments, then click on SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE for phone numbers (click on the names at the top). Call each office and ask to speak to the Senator or their Legislative Assistant, give your comments, and ask the Senator to vote AGAINST SB1195.
MONDAY 23 January is VICFA lobby day. Meet at 4th Floor West Conference Room at 1pm. No experience needed, and a great learning opportunity for children. Info at VICFA facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/179473499197088/
Bills we support:
HB2030 ( Introduced by Del Nick Freitas) This is a Food Freedom Bill which would provide more access to nutrient dense locally produced foods and may be on the docket at 4.30pm and if so we want to fill the room.
HB 1677 ( Introduced by Del Ben Cline) General Assembly; introduction of legislation; recorded vote.
Many bills never make it out of the sub-committee level, this affects all legislation that is potentially contentious. These bills often are peoples bills or rights bills and never get a recorded vote. As a result…you, the voter, never really know how your representative is representing your interests.