On August 21, 2008 I urged Governor Schwarzenegger to Veto SB 201. I learned a few moments ago that the Governor did just that. Makes a life long Democrat think about switching to the other team. Hopefully, the Senators will reconsider the bill and review some of the ideas I had outlined in a letter to them that I posted here on August 27, 2008.
Sometimes politicians do the right thing. Here is the "Governator’s" veto letter:
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 201 without my signature.
This bill weakens food safety standards in California, something I cannot support.
Last year I signed AB 1735, which passed the Legislature unanimously and put into law food safety standards for raw milk. Those standards are now in question by the proponents of this bill. Looking past the lobbying techniques, public relations campaign, and legal maneuvering in the courts, one conclusion is inescapably clear: the standard in place has kept harmful products off the shelves and California’s raw milk dairies have been operating successfully under it for the entirety of 2008.
Based on fears with no basis in fact, the proponents of SB 201 seek to replace California’s unambiguous food safety standards for raw milk. Instead they have created a convoluted and undefined regulatory process with no enforcement authority or clear standards to protect public health.
For these reasons, I cannot support this measure.
See Senator Florez’s response:
The Governor’s veto of SB 201 is disappointing but certainly not
unexpected. The Administration’s concerted efforts to defeat SB 201
are nothing more than an attempt to cover up the fraud committed on
the legislature through CDFA’s sponsorship of AB 1735, which placed
the wrong standards for raw milk into law. There is no question that
AB 1735 was flawed. The legislature carried multiple pieces of
legislation this year, including SB 201, to correct some of those
flaws. The Governor signed another urgency measure that specifically
fixed deficiencies in AB 1735 related to market milk (AB 2284 – Galgiani).
There is no question that raw milk and pasteurized milk are two
distint products. This Administration’s attempt to use the same
standard for both products defies logic and can be taken as an attempt
to regulate California’s two raw milk dairies out of business. The
philosophy and science behind SB 201 is supported by food safety
researchers from one of California’s most respected Universities.
These researchers agree that the regulatory structure of SB 201 would
make raw milk in California safer than existing law.
It is unfortunate that the Governor continues to play politics with
the issue of food safety. This merely serves to lower the food safety
standards that Californians rely upon for their protection.
As Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Foodborne Illness, I am
committed to pushing forward on the issue of food safety and look
forward to putting forth legislation next year to move the ball
forward on this important issue.