Citizen Initiative Review Panel finding supports Measure 15-119

Supermajority of the Non-partisan Citizens Initiative Review Panel Agrees with Family Farms Coalition’s  Primary Claims Regarding Measure 15-119 – Reject’s Opposition’s Primary Scare Tactics

via Family Farms Coalition

downtownrallyAfter three days of study, debate and deliberations with experts regarding Measure 15-119, a panel of 20 representative Jackson County voters organized as a part of the Citizens Initiative Review (CIR), which is sanctioned by the State of Oregon to review ballot measures, released its final findings yesterday. The purpose of the review by the non-partisan group named Healthy Democracy was to help voters understand the facts related to Measure 15-119 prior to the upcoming vote. The “Key Findings” of the group were voted on and approved by a supermajority of the group today and *validated each of the primary arguments and factual claims made by the Our Family Farms Coalition in support of Measure 15-119*.

The panel found that Measure 15-119 “protects family farmers from serious risk that their crops will be contaminated by genetically engineered crop pollen that is patented and controlled by large out-of-state chemical corporations.” (Finding #1).  It also found that while, “15-119 gives the County and farmers ‘the authority to enforce’ the measure but doesn’t require any minimum level of enforcement” which has been one of the measure supporters’ arguments as to why the measure itself doesn’t have an enforcement cost. The panel also agreed that similar measures in other counties had not had any enforcement costs, finding that “in other counties that have had similar measures in place there have been neither violations nor enforcement costs.”

Local farmer Elise Higley who is the director of the Family Farms Coalition said the findings are a major boost for the effort to pass 15-119 and said, “At the beginning of the presentations, I thought the panel was very skeptical of 15-119.  But it’s so encouraging that after studying the issue for three days they validated each of our major campaign arguments and rejected the counter-arguments by the opposition.”

Dr. Ray Seidler, who is one of the experts who presented to the panel in support of Measure 15-119 agreed.  “The panel asked very tough questions and you could see that they really took this seriously. Such strong findings really highlight why Measure 15-119 is so important for protecting family farmers in Jackson County.”

“What the panel findings showed is that if you get past the flood of television and radio ads the opposition is spending on this campaign, then there is every reason to Vote Yes on Measure 15-119,” added Higley