As you all likely noticed, there was no measure on the ballot here in Oregon this election for requiring labels on foods made with GMO ingredients. We had hoped to be there for sure, but we never really got a chance. During the initiative process here in Oregon, there are two opportunities for public comments and an opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of an initiative being submitted.
Our measure was challenged on all fronts by a man named Terry Witt of the group Oregonians for Food and Shelter. Sounds like a nice group right? Turns out they are funded mostly by pesticide and forestry companies and were the group responsible for much of negative campaign lodged against the 2002 GMO labeling measure here in Oregon. Needless to say, I'm not a fan.
So back to our measure. We survived Mr. Witt's constitutionality challenge which was a nice hurdle to clear. The public comment periods that exist are actually for comments on the language that stage attorney general drafts that is to be the impartial unbiased summary of the measure placed in the voter info books. Mr. Witt challenged this language as well and it was subsequently revised by the State Attorney General. Because he challenged during the first comment period, he then had an opportunity in the second comment period if he still didn't agree with the language, which of course he didn't, to re-challenge. This second challenge by state law, sends the information drafted by the attorney general to the State Supreme Court for an official and final ruling on any final changes that need to be made to it. That process with the Supreme Court can take a long time, typically 4 or more months. By the time the court got around to us, it was already passed the final deadline to collect signatures. Mr Witt's shenanigans basically stalled us out and prevented us from ever being able to even start collecting signatures.
Fundamentally we simply didn't get impassioned about the issue early enough to allow for all of the challenges in the process. We knew it would be tight on time, but faced with the prospect of doing nothing but waiting and then filing for 2014, well we simply had to atelast try. Which we did.
We can file right now for 2014 and we will be doing so this winter. After seeing how things went in California with it's Prop 37, we are working on some changes to our language. After we get that locked down, we will submit and let the process begin. We can go ahead and expect that it will take 6-8 months from the time we submit to when signature gathering could begin.
Thanks to all of you who either helped with or took an interest in out 2012 effort.