Area Farmers Challenge County Over Ballot Access

These small area farmers may not have envisioned taking on Benton County’s attorney and the global issue of genetically modified (GMO) crops, but that was before the County said “no” to putting their proposed Food Bill of Rights initiative on the ballot. The group was not allowed to collect signatures, said Harry MacCormack, one of the Chief Petitioners.

Supporters say the Food Bill of Rights ordinance elevates the rights of local citizens and ecosystems, and excludes the planting of GMO crops in Benton County.

The Initiative has been submitted to Benton County Elections and was challenged under the Single Subject Rule required by Oregon election law. The Chief Petitioners have filed an appeal and are responding in court. The question now is whether the Court will rule in time to issue the Ballot Petition for signature gathering in time to meet the deadline to qualify for the May 2013 ballot.

Look for more updates as this case unfolds. For more information, visit the Benton County Community Rights Coalition web site that is currently under construction at http://bentonccrc.org/.

by Genevieve Weber

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