The Raw Milk Amendments: Sigh

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Right now, the Raw Milk bill has gone through the Senate and should go to the Senate floor soon.It passed Sen. Ag Committee, and it was waived past Sen Judiciary and Sen Health. Last year, it went to all 3 committees in the Senate.It will go back for the second time to the House Ag committee Tuesday. The lobbyists for the Health Dept made a mess of it last Monday there. They may go on and adopt the Senate language at that time. The bills have to end up the same, eventually. It will then go to House Health, same as last year.The House bill is a one page bill without regulation, much like all active Herdshare laws in the Nation. The Senate bill began as the same regulated bill that passed the Senate and House last year (which was nearly law in 2015), giving the Dept. of Ag rule making ability and providing extensive regulation, but it did exclude the Health Department from the rule making process, thankfully.The bill that was vetoed by the Governor last year was the most regulated herd share bill in the Nation at it was written then. Farmers could have managed to work with it, though. It was not a true Food Freedom type of bill, but it was workable. This year, Several County Health Departments have hired Lobbyists, which the Dept. of Ag confirmed, and those lobbyists are being paid for with your tax dollars.Do you get that? Lobbyists are being paid for with YOUR MONEY to get Your Legislators, who are paid with Your Money, to work against you. Please do not believe this is based on concern for your health. If you’re involved in this farm freedom work, you know that concern for your health isn’t at play here. You should be outraged. I give you enough credit that you (and I) can look out for our own health. I don’t think anyone involved in the West Virginia government is qualified, given the track record of health here, to make ANY decision FOR me on what is safe. I've seen enough people die from what they call safe. Thanks very much.I began this effort in 2009 when few people seemed aware. I've used the Lucas Farm page and its broad reach to spread the word year after year. Through 2012, there wasn’t much interest, but by late 2013, I was able to find 2 lead sponsors for the first ever Raw Milk bills in the state: A sales and a herdshares bill. I wrote the language for these bills, it was sent to drafting by the delegates, and Del. Sobonya and Del. Miller introduced the bills in 2014. I can’t tell you what a sigh of relief I felt finding this action after so long was, and this allowed many people to believe SALES OR SHARES could happen Here. WE started to see mass support and attention nationally.While the political climate IN 2014 didn’t allow the bill to move beyond House Ag. Committee that year, it was a bill they assure they would keep working on, and they did. From the start of 2015, the House and Senate introduced the bills. I was asked to speak before the Senate Judiciary in 2015, and along with Trebor of Faithview Farm, we argued hard to leave the Health Department out of rule making. They were finally removed. I was asked to argue for the bill before the House Health committee, and after it passed and went to the House floor. The bill was passed by a landslide 81 out of 100 votes in favor. I was there, it was amazing.The herdshare bill passed, though heavily regulated, through the Senate and House without the Health Department involved at all. The governor vetoed the bill because The National Milk Federation (and likely others), who spent almost 1,000,000 the previous year and ½ a million in 2015. . .wished him to. Not because of lack of regulation on the bill.Some want to perpetuate, inoccently or intentionally, the untruth that he vetoed because of public health concern even though he was thanked by the above lobby group the day of the veto. That lobby group works for commercial dairy interests . . .do you think they are worried about your health or their pockets? Dairy is 180 billion dollar industry, ya’ll. They don’t want small, local raw milk farmers involved. Period.I've been up there year after year. I have seen more than I could relay, and many things in confidence I can only allude to if I wish to maintain honesty.We were assured an override of a veto this year. The bill was up and moving with plenty of time, without amendments to include the Health Department, to be vetoed and then for House/Senate to override. There are plenty of other bills they will be overriding this year. We DID NOT have to accept a new bill for fear of a veto. This misunderstanding is so detrimental.Lobbyist lie, folks. That is what they are paid to do. They bully and lie and work against the people. They work for corporations or your own government, but not YOU. Though you are paying this bill. Sadly, those up there lobbying against this bill, at least one of them. . . I have worked against before. A more dishonest, liberty despising person you could not find. A snake of a human. They have convinced some senators, some farmers and even some alleged raw milk advocates on other WV raw milk pages not associated with this one that came to the fight much later than I did. . .that "they" know best. They want to work together. Yet I’ve been assured by them. . .they intend to never see herdshares up and working in this state more than once. Those who support the raw milk movement who work in many health departments have let me know what is actually happening, though they fear losing their jobs, and the same is true in the Dept of Ag (which is just as crooked).Now, the fact is. . .our farmer based movement has no money. We are a broke, grass roots movement with TOO few people working at the capitol, but I know we have a huge voice via email, social media and on the phones of the legislators. We have value, but without Money, it is possible the Health Dept lobbyists have spent enough, when paired with the other national lobby groups, that we are outnumbered in dollars beyond overcoming it. It could be they have made it so that this year, the bill will not exist without being regulated to the point it is valueless. There are states where raw milk sales are legal, but the regulations are impossible for a farmer to comply with. . . and so, the law is without any merit.Is that what We’ve fought for so long? It isn’t what I’ve worked on for 7 years. Not by a long shot.Now, the bill only passed last year in the senate by one vote. I’ve been told Senator Williams (D) has decided to not support the bill unless the Health Department is involved. How convienent. He supported without it last year. I’ve been told by supportive senators who do not want the HD involved that they fear if they take them out the HD, Williams with not support, but truly, I feel we are far better off to risk It and have a bill we know farmers can benefit from than to have some useless legislation people are too silly to realize is of little or no value after all this time and effort. . . which is unlikely to be changed once it is created. The Health Department will not ever let it go once they get hold, I suspect. It has been said by some in the senate they intend to make the language such that the Health Department will be bound to work within herdshare language already on the books in other state, but this trusts that the HD and the rule making would be by the book. Let me tell you, often things do not go as they should, and that is still putting a lot of faith in the Health Department than you cannot have any in that department. Further, I’ve spoken too many times when they were before or after me, and I’ve heard how dishonest they are, how they are willing to be as unethical as needed. . .to believe ANY bill with their involvement like this will work to the benefit of the farmer or be a foot in the right direction.I press upon you to not believe everything called a herdshare bill means you will be abel to actual operate a herdshare. I want the real thing for the farmers in this state. Not more asinine regulation.As it stands now, there is no fine for selling raw milk, by the way. At least we have that :)
Posted by Lucas Farm on Saturday, January 30, 2016