California proposition 37: Trial Lawyers, Bootleggers and Baptists

“When I used to go and talk about Prop 65 when it was on the ballot, I would say the biggest beneficiaries would be lawyers. I think that goes double for Prop 37,” said Michele Corash, a environmental defense partner with Morrison & Foerster. — from The Recorder, Defense Lawyers Say Prop 37 Will Bring Bumper Crop of Litigation, 7/27/2012

Courtesy of Andrew Apel @AgBioEye, an excellent little article on the developing California proposition 37 train-wreck. Snippet: 

Proposition 37, which will be on the ballot this November, will all but guarantee payday after payday for trial lawyers in the Golden State. Also known as the Right to Know Genetically Engineering Food Act, the law would require labels on foods and beverages that include ingredients produced with biotechnology. Never mind that biotechnology can produce crops more resistant to disease or with greater yields. Oh, and they’ve been on the market for almost two decades, and there’s no credible evidence that biotech crops have produced even a case of sniffles in humans.

So who stands to benefit, other than dubious nutrition supplement peddlers? If you guessed trial lawyers, you win an organic cookie. They have already attacked food companies for using biotechnology in the past, so having the law in their favor will turn these seemingly frivolous cases into sure winners.

Never mind that biotech crops could change the world and avert the global food crisis; ignore the fact that biotech food has helped nations develop. The American Medical Association’s declaration that “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods” is irrelevant to the debate, it seems. Facts don’t matter when there’s money to be made.

This should all sound familiar, because Prop 37 isn’t too many steps away from Proposition 65. It was a decade ago when we first noted the outrageous results of Prop 65—when French fries were under attack. It’s a rule that California has onlymade even worse over the years by adding more and more substances to the list.

So is it any surprise that the man who helped craft Prop 65 is leading the charge for Prop 37? Would you be any less surprised if he tried to deny the blatantly obvious similarities

Read the whole article – lots of potentially useful resources. I’ve not had time to do any checking on the article source: “Center for Consumer Freedom“. This group may be baptists fronting for other bootleggers. See Bruce Yandles Bootleggers and Baptists if you are not familiar with this economic analysis.

Some background on the other bootleggers hiding behind Prop 37. E.g.,

Quackwatch FDA Orders Dr. Joseph Mercola to Stop Illegal Claims, Mercola is biggest $$$ at $800,000. Mercola is a large anti-vaccine, organic, “natural stuff” moneymaker. They are part of the Big Organic lobby.

Station KCET is tracking prop 37 donors. The bootleggers were way in front on the funding last week (~3x the opposition who had only two small contributors). I’m happy to see some contributors coming along to oppose. The challenge here is that Prop 37 sounds harmless to people who don’t know anything about the food supply chain, and don’t appreciate the powers that are behind the sorts of propositions.

2 thoughts on “California proposition 37: Trial Lawyers, Bootleggers and Baptists

  1. Laws, whether enacted by the legislature or by proposition, can have unexpected consequences. Proposition 13, which was enacted about 1978, comes to mind. It drastically limited the amount by which real-estate taxes could be raised unless a property was sold. It turned out that private homes are sold much more often than commercial properties, so the net result was to INCREASE taxes on private homes more than would have been the case without Proposition 13, and raise taxes less on commercial properties. That was not the desired result.

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