GMO initiative derailed by county
Leader of Support Local Food Rights vows to fight on
By LACEY JARRELL
EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane County clerk’s office has rejected an initiative submitted by the Support Local Food Rights group, which wants to ban growing genetically modified crops in the county.
Ann Kneeland, spokesperson for Support Local Food Rights, said the initiative was rejected for failing to meet the single-subject rule, which states that an initiative can address only one issue or subject.
Kneeland identified the initiative’s single subject as “obtaining and protecting a natural community.”
“All the provisions in the ordinance advance that goal,” Kneeland said.
A certified letter Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart sent to Kneeland notifying her the initiative had been rejected identified four subjects that violated the single-subject rule: the creation of rights of natural communities; the creation of rights to self-government and sovereign citizenship; the elimination or curtailment of corporate rights; and limited immunity to federal patent law.
Kneeland said the group does not plan to revise the initiative’s language. Instead, it plans to file a petition to request that the decision be reviewed by the Circuit Court.
“We’re confident that when we present this to a judge, they will agree that the ordinance as drafted will comply to the single-subject requirement,” she said.
If approved by county officials, the initiative must be assigned a ballot title before the group can begin collecting petition signatures to have the initiative placed on the May 2014 ballot.
The ordinance was modeled after a similar initiative submitted to Benton County in 2012 by the group What’s In Our Future Benton County.
The original submission was rejected by Benton County officials for non-compliance with the single-subject requirement, and group members submitted a revised initiative in June.