Texas Local Food Bills 2013

 

Local foods was a hot topic at the 83rd Texas Legislature!  FARFA worked on several bills to support local farmers and remove some of the barriers for local food systems.   These common-sense bills address the needs of the local foods movement, where local farmers and food producers sell their products directly to consumers in transparent transactions. Helping the local food movement helps small local businesses and our economy.

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Action Alert: Texas Local Foods Bills Go to the Senate

Three local foods bills have been approved by the Texas House and will be considered by the Texas Senate.  Two of them – the “cottage foods” bill (HB 970) and the DSHS “better communications” bill (HB 1392) – will be heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee next Tuesday, May 14.  Check out the Take Action section below to see how you can help keep these important bills moving forward.

We also have the report about the bills that did not make it in the More Information section at the end.

The cottage foods bill, HB 970, would allow small-scale producers who make low-risk foods at home to sell directly to consumers at farm stands, farmers’ markets, and community events, in addition to selling directly from their homes. Cottage food producers would not be regulated by the health departments, although they would have to get a food handlers’ license (which can be acquired through a 2-hour online course).…

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Action Alert (Texas) – Local foods bills on the move!

Three of our local foods bills are moving forward in the Texas House of Representatives!

The cottage foods bill, HB 970, passed it first vote on Saturday!   Two more bills — the DSHS Better Communications Bill and the farmers’ market sampling & cooking demonstration bill — are scheduled for a vote this week.  All of these bills help our local farmers and food producers get their products to market.

These bills need your support to keep moving, all the way through the Senate and to the Governor!

Unfortunately, the raw milk bill and three more local foods are still stuck in the House Calendars Committee.  If they are not put on the schedule by tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7, then they will die without ever being voted on.  We were told that the raw milk bill would be voted on, but it is not yet scheduled — so our focus in the last push is to get a vote for raw milk!…

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Action Alert (Texas): Cottage foods bill goes to a vote, but other bills still need help

 

The cottage foods bill is scheduled for a vote! We need calls to support it – and emails to get the other bills moving.

Your phone calls and emails to Calendars Committee succeeded in getting HB 970, the cottage foods bill, scheduled for a House vote on Saturday, May 4!

The cottage foods bill, HB 970, would allow people to make low-risk foods at home and sell them to consumers at their homes, farm stands, farmers markets, and community events. Cottage food producers would not be regulated by the health departments, although they would have to get a food handlers’ license (which you can get through a 2-hour online course).

Please call your Representative today to urge him/her to vote YES on HB 970, the cottage foods bill!

While this is excellent news, our other six local foods bills are still stuck in Calendars. The last day for the House to vote on House bills is next Thursday.…

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Update (Texas): Raw Milk and Cottage Food Bills in Calendars Committee

Both the raw milk bill and the cottage foods bills have been approved by the TexasHouse Public Health Committee. Now on to Calendars! We’ll have an update with all the details soon. Thank you to everyone who has called, written, or come to the Capitol over the last couple of months — your efforts are making a difference!

Below are links to the amended versions of the bills:

CS HB 46 (raw milk bill)

CS HB 970 (cottage foods bill)

 

 

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Action Alert (Texas): Raw Milk Bill Stalled in Committee – We Need Your Help!

The raw milk bill has gotten stalled in Committee. The Texas Medical Association is lobbying hard to kill it, and they have convinced several Committee members to vote against the bill. We need a flood of phone calls – as soon as possible  from the grassroots to counter them!

The raw milk bill (HB 46) will allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk off-the-farm, at farmers’ markets and consumers’ residences. Right now, consumers have to drive all the way to the farm every time they want raw milk. This bill will help raw milk farmers expand their markets, and help raw milk consumers get reasonable access to raw milk.

Even if you have called before, please call again! (And if you haven’t yet called, it’s more important than ever to do so). This action alert is very time sensitive; please call as soon as possible this week.

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Update on Texas Local Foods Bills

 
With nine bills before the Texas Legislature, the next ten weeks are going to be extremely busy. You won’t be able to take action on every alert, and we realize that. But please do take action as often, and in whatever way, you can.

HB 910, to limit health permit fees for farmers selling directly to consumers & other farmers’ market vendors, has been unanimously approved by the Public Health Committee! It is now in the Calendars Committee, waiting to be scheduled for a vote by the full House.

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Raw Milk / HB 46 – Resources

The following is a list of resources you can use in talking with your State Representatives and/or sharing information with members of your organization or community. Don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, March 19 at the Capitol in Austin, Texas for our Local Foods Citizens Lobbying Day!

You can also read the content from these information sheets below:

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Action Alert (Texas): Raw Milk & Health Permit Fee Bills Heard by Public Health Committee: Next Steps

Last Wednesday’s hearing on the raw milk and permit fees bills went very well, and we had tremendous support from our grassroots. THANK YOU to everyone who attended – your presence and testimonies made a big difference!

Over 100 people registered in support of HB 46, the bill to allow licensed raw milk farmers to bring their products to farmers’ markets and delivery points. We had strong testimony from several of our farmers, registered dieticians, and passionate consumers, including a very articulate 11-year-old girl who shared her story of years of extremely painful eczema finally being solved with a change in diet that includes raw dairy. The Committee members asked good questions throughout the hearing.

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Action Alert (Texas): Raw Milk and Permit Fee Bills – Hearing on Wednesday, February 27

Two important bills will have a hearing before the Texas House Public Health Committee this Wednesday, February 27.

The first bill, HB 46, would allow licensed dairy farmers to sell raw milk at farmers’ markets and fairs, as well as do home delivery and make other delivery arrangements with their customers.  While raw milk is legal in Texas already, the current law requires consumers to drive to the farm every time they want to buy raw milk — imposing hardship on consumers and unfairly restricting small farmers from marketing their product.

The second bill, HB 910, would cap the permit fees that could be imposed on farmers and farmers’ market vendors to $50 per year per county or city.

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