Two Local Food Bills Scheduled for Public Hearing
Public Health Committee to consider HB 46 and HB 910 on Wednesday
By Virginia B. Wood, 4:10PM, Tue. Feb. 26
Two bills that are of particular interest to people involved in the local food movement will have a hearing before the Texas House Public Health Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 8am.
HB 46, sponsored by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) would allow licensed dairy farmers to sell raw milk at farmers' markets and fairs, as well as provide home delivery or other delivery arrangements for their customers. Although consuming raw milk is legal in Texas, regulations that require customers to buy it at the farm where it was produced impose hardships on both small dairy farmers and consumers and this bill would rectify that.
Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)is the sponsor of HB 910, which would cap the permit fess that could be imposed on farmers and farmers' market vendors at $50 per year, per county of city. This bill will help to make participation in multiple farmers' markets in one municipality financially feasible for vendors. It was co-authored by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D - Austin), chair of the Texas Legislature's bipartisan Farm-to-Table Caucus, the first of its kind in the country.
“The demand for raw milk and locally produced foods is growing by leaps and bounds," explained Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for both farmers and consumers. "Small farms and food vendors selling directly to consumers at venues such as farmers' markets should not be hampered by regulations designed by and for the large corporations that dominate our food system. We appreciate Representatives Flynn and Kolkhorst, and all of their co-authors, for taking steps to restore common sense to the regulations."
If better, more affordable access to local food is a priority in your household, let your local representative know that you support these bills.