The House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to pass H.112, the Vermont GMO labeling bill. The committee voted on the issue after hearing testimony from a range of legal experts and reviewing the extensive testimony compiled by the House Agriculture Committee. Some of the most compelling testimony came from Mike O’Grady of Legislative Council who walked the Committee through an opinion from Oregon’s Legislative Council that determined similar GMO labeling would be found constitutional.
Before voting on the bill Committee members took the opportunity to explain their votes, and it was clear that the vocal grassroots support for this bill was a major factor in its passage out of Committee. In fact, Committee Chair, Bill Lippert, shared a story of a recent shopping trip, where a fellow shopper was studying the label of a food product. When asked, the shopper was trying to find out if the product had GMOs in it or not. Seeing constituents confused about what’s in their food solidified Representative Lippert’s support for the labeling bill.
In addition, a number of other committee members noted the overwhelming number of comments received from their constituents as a key reason they support labeling GMOs. The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives where a full vote is expected later this week. If the bill passes out of committee it will be the furthest a comprehensive GMO labeling bill has advanced in any state legislature. With the legislature slated to end their session later this week the bill will be in a great position to be taken up in the Senate when lawmakers return to their work in January.