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Preemptive laws vs the right to local self-governance

Preemptive laws vs the right to local self-governance

There is probably no greater beacon or symbol of an irresponsible, ruthless and heartless company than Monsanto. Known for its patented Roundup Ready genetically modified seeds, the company viciously defends its patents by suing hapless farmers for storing their own seeds, as they have for generations, because they have been cross-pollinated by Monsanto seeds. These farmers, especially those growing organic foods, didn’t give Monsanto permission to contaminate their seeds but the company sues, using courts funded by the taxpayer to extract a fee and has put many small farmers out of business. In the US, suicide is now the number one cause of non natural death amongst farmers.

Despite the ruthlessness of Monsanto and the devastating effect it can have on family and organic farmers the Oregon State Legislature passed a preemptive law to stop local communities from banning genetically modified seeds in order to protect their farms. Dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act all four of our south coast representatives voted to deny our communities the right to say “NO”. In fact, Senators Arnie Roblan and Jeff Kruse co-sponsored an early version of the bill.

revolutionary-war-pictures-9Across the country communities are discovering their own legislature is working to preempt their rights to protect their citizens from factory farms, sewage sludge, big box stores, ground water contamination and more. The good news is that more than 160 counties and municipalities are fighting back by passing rights based ordinances and establishing a bill of rights which asserts the right to self-government. In Oregon, Benton and Lane counties are working on initiatives and Colorado is considering an amendment to its constitution establishing the right to local self-government.

(2) That right shall include, without limitation,
(a) the power to enact local laws protecting health, safety, and welfare by recognizing fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, and nature, and by securing those rights using prohibitions and other means; and
(b) the power to enact local laws establishing, defining, altering, or eliminating the rights, powers, and duties of corporations and other business entities operating or seeking to operate in the community, to prevent such rights and powers from interfering with such locally-enacted fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, and nature.

Salem has legislated Coos County into depression. Through special assessments counties with a high percentage of industrial timber like Coos cannot generate enough tax revenue to support basic services. To add insult to injury, the legislature can now implement a state of emergency in insolvent counties, takeover public safety services and raise local income tax rates to pay the costs. At some point we have to end this parent child relationship with the State and its one-size-fits-all approach and reclaim our “inherent and inalienable right to local self-government in
each county, city, town, and other municipality.” Local laws should not be subject to preemption by international,
federal, or state laws.

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About magix

Profile photo of magix When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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