Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Support local foods. Support local farmers. Keep fresh and healthy goods available as an option for all!

Call your reps to support raw milk, house bill 75 and local foods, house bill 2084 and house bill 1139.

Support local foods. Support local farmers. 
Keep fresh and healthy goods available as an option for all!
    • Location: Texas State Capital, Level E2, Room 012. Fill out three green forms found on a table at the back of the room. One for each bill, Hand the forms to the clerk at the front of the room. Stay and listen if you like. There are many bills being heard today. Or head back to work, to life, to wherever you need to be. 

    • Note: check the  SUPPORT box
    • 2 hours FREE PARKING at the capital visitors center parking lot - you can't lose!
      The lot is located between 12 and 13th and between San Jancinto and Trinity. 

      Please stop by the House Committee Hearing this Wednesday morning to fill out a form saying that you support the raw milk bill, the cottage foods bill, and the local foods omnibus bill (more info on all three below). The more in favor, the more support we will see from our state legislators!

      Can you spend 15 minutes? Come to the hearing room at 8 am, and fill out a witness affirmation form saying you support these bills. Hand... it to the clerk, and you'll be listed on the witness list even if you leave soon after. The witness list is important because, when the bill goes to the full House after the hearng, the Representatives will look to see how many people were witnesses for or against the bill. Just 15 minutes can have an impact.

      Can you spend an hour or two? Hand in your witness form and grab a seat. Simply being there and helping to fill the room with bodies who are watching the hearing in person makes an impact on the Committee members. Whether or not you testify, your physical presence helps a lot.

      Can't come at 8 am, but you may be able to get there later? Come on over! The Commitee is hearing 23 bills that day, so the timing depends on what order they hear the bills in and how many people testify. If it's after 10 am, you can double-check whether or not the Committee has already heard HB 75 by calling the Committee office at (512) 463-0806. You can also watch a live video broadcast at http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/

      Can you be there all day, to show your support whenever the Committee hears the bill? Thank you!

      We need your help to pass this bill, so please do as much as you can. Not only does the Big Dairy industry oppose it, but the Texas Medical Association and the Pediatrics Association have indicated they plan to testify against it. So if you want to be able to buy raw milk at farmers markets or have your farmer legally deliver it, you need to come tell the legislators that.

      WHERE: Texas Capitol, Room E2.012
      DATE: Wednesday, April 20
      TIME: 8 am
      PARKING: Parking is usually available at the Capitol Visitors Center, located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th. You can find a map and other options also listed at http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm

      Please invite all the people you know who care about raw milk access.

      In addition to the raw milk bill (HB 75), two other local foods bills will be heard on Wednesday: HB 1139 (cottage foods) and HB 2084 (local foods omnibus). Here’s a bit of information on each:

      • Improving access to raw milk: Grade A licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas, but only “on farm,” i.e. consumers must drive out to the farm. HB 75 and SB 237 would llow licensed farmers to sell at farmers markets and make delivery arrangements with their customers. You can read our fact sheet about raw milk at http://texasrealmilk.org/Learn-More

      • Promoting “cottage foods”: The costs of a commercial kitchen can be prohibitive for start up businesses and small-scale producers. HB 1139 and HB 2084 would allow small-scale producers selling low-risk foods, such as jams, jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs, to sell their products directly to consumers without needing a commercial kitchen.

      • Local Foods Omnibus: In addition to promoting cottage foods, HB 2084 would lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers, enable electronic food stamp benefits to be used at farmers markets, and identify the barriers to fair property tax treatment for organic, urban, and sustainable farms.
      Please come on April 20th to help support raw milk and local foods through these important bills!
      COMMITTEE MEMBERS

      Below is a list of the House Committee members and their emails. If you cannot come to the hearing in person, you can email each Committee member to express your support for the bill. Be sure to put “Support 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 Coleman: Garnet.Coleman@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 Lobenberg: Jodie.Laubenberg@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

      For more information, go to http://farmandranchfreedom.org/Texas-2011



      Thank you

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