Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Something sweet for Washington farmers emerged from the Washington State Senate Thursday.
The state's Senate Bill 6471 passed unanimously, 46-0.
An SB 6471 would be a good idea for Oregon -- and something like it may very well be in the works.
Under SB 6471, stores and other businesses in Washington that offer fresh fruit and vegetables for retail sale must display a placard informing consumers if it was grown either in Washington or in the United States.
Sen. Jim Honeyford, the bill's prime sponsor, said the agricultural labeling measure helps both Washington farmers and consumers.
"First of all, this bill will promote Washington products," said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. "I think consumers will buy these products if they know they were grown in Washington. That in turn will help our farmers, who have faced tough economic times in recent years." (The bill now goes to the Washington House.)
Rep. Patti Smith, the Corbett Republican who serves Hood River County, is hard at work on "Buy Oregon" legislation that encourages schools, prisons, and other state-supported food purchasers to use Oregon and domestic products first.
Meanwhile, Washington's SB6471 is seen as a huge step in the right direction by Camille Hukari of Hood River's Tractor Coalition.
"It's absolutely fantastic, exactly what we want to have happen," said Hukari, who with other Oregon and Washington farmers have striven for the past year to encourage government-backed efforts, such as SB6471, to educate consumers about the availability of domestic produce.
Hukari called it "a step in the righ direction and wonderful because the Washington Senate has heard us, and recognizes there is a problem."
Consider it a nice birthday present for the coalition, which held its first parade, from Pine Grove to Hood River, in February 2001.
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I Can't Keep Quiet singers at "Citizen Town Hall"
‘I can’t keep quiet,’ sing members of an impromptu choir in front of Hood River Middle School Saturday prior to the citizen town hall for questions to Rep. Greg Walden. The song addresses female empowerment generally and sexual violence implicitly, and gained prominence during the International Women’s Day events in January. The singers braved a sudden squall to finish their song and about 220 people gathered in HRMS auditorium, which will be the scene of the April 12 town hall with Rep. Greg Walden, at 3 p.m. Enlarge