Action Alert (Texas): Raw Milk Bill - HB 46 - Heard by the House Public Health Committee
Texans can legally buy farm-fresh, raw milk from licensed Texas dairies. But the government requires consumers to drive to the farm — which may be 2 or 3 hours away — to get it. The current law burdens consumers, and it penalizes family farmers who are unfairly prevented from marketing their milk.
HB 46, filed by Representative Dan Flynn, would allow the sale of raw milk by licensed farmers at farmers’ markets, drop points, and through delivery. The same bill was filed last session, but failed to pass.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the hearing for the raw milk bill (HB 46) 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.
As expected, the Texas Dairymen’s Association, Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatrics Association, and the Harris County Health Department opposed the bill.
The Committee has left the bill pending, which is normal procedure. We are discussing possible changes to address the opponents’ objections, and we hope to see the committee vote on HB 46 within the next two weeks.
In the meantime, if you haven’t yet done both of the following, please take a few minutes to do so this week – it can still make an impact on moving these bills forward:
1) Call or email your State Representative to urge him or her to co-author HB 46 (raw milk). You can find out who represents you at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us or by calling the Texas Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630. Having more co-authors is very important, both to getting the bill out of Committee and the steps after that!
Sample message: “Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Representative ___ to co-author HB 46, to legalize the sale of raw milk at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer options. Do you know where he/she stands on this bill?”
If the staffer says they don’t know the Representative’s position (which is a common response), say: “I would very much appreciate it if you could call me back after talking with the Representative. This issue is very important to me and my family.”
2) Then email all of the Public Health Committee members (see the list at the end of this post) to urge them to approve HB 46 as soon as possible.
3) Share our press release, Local Food Bills Heard by the Texas House Public Health Committee, with your local media, and ask them to follow the progress of the local foods bills.
Special thanks to Representative Dan Flynn, the author of HB 46, and his joint and co-authors: Representatives Dennis Bonnen, Jodie Laubenberg, Bill Zedler, Lance Gooden, Lyle Larson, Rick Miller, Eddie Rodriguez, David Simpson, and Steve Toth.
Please help us move HB 46 forward!
HB 46: FACTS ABOUT THE BILL
- Would allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk at farmers markets and through delivery arrangements.
- Makes no other change to the existing health and safety regulations for raw milk that have been successful in protecting the public’s health in Texas.
- Sales will continue to be limited to direct-to-consumer transactions, as they are currently. The bill does not allow sales of raw milk in grocery stores.
Many advantages to HB 46…
- Addresses the consumer demand for high-quality raw milk by making it available at farmers markets and through home delivery.
- Benefits rural economies because direct farm-to-consumer sales of raw milk can mean the difference between a net loss on the farm and a reasonable income for the farm family – which impacts the entire community.
- Improves the safety of raw milk by allowing producers to transport it to consumers under safe conditions.
- By allowing a producer to make a single trip to serve multiple customers, rather than having each customer drive to the farm, the bill reduces vehicle miles, thereby benefiting air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety.
What can you do?
Call your State Representative and ask him or her to SUPPORT HB 46.
REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE
These Representatives have heard the raw milk bill (HB 46) and will soon be voting on it - your phone calls can make a difference!
Garnet Coleman (part of Houston County – Zip Codes 77002, 003, 004, 006, 007, 010, 019, 021, 033, 048, 061, 075, 087, 089, 098) | Phone: 512-463-0524 | Email: Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us
Nicole Collier (part of Tarrant County – Zip Codes 76012, 76102, 76103, 76104, 76105, 76107, 76110, 76111, 76112, 7615, 76119, 76120, 76133, 76134, 76140) | Phone: 512-463-0716 | Email: Nicole.Collier@house.state.tx.us
Philip Cortez (part of Bexar County – Zip Codes 78002, 006, 023, 039, 052, 073, 211, 224, 226, 227, 236, 242, 245, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255) | Phone: 512-463-0269 | Email: Philip.Cortez@house.state.tx.us
Sarah Davis (part of Houston County – Zip Codes 77002, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 019, 024, 025, 027, 030, 046, 056, 057, 081, 096, 098, 401) | Phone: 512-463-0389 | Email: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
Bobby Guerra (part of Hidalgo County – Zip Codes 78501, 78503, 78504, 78539, 78572, 78573, 78574, 78577) | Phone: 512-463-0578 | Email: Bobby.Guerra@house.state.tx.us
Susan King (Jones, Nolan, and Taylor counties) | Phone: 512-463-0718 | Email: Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
Lois Kolkhorst – Chair (Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Lavaca, and Washington counties) | Phone: 512-463-0600 | Email: Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
**If you are in Chairwoman Kolkhorst’s district, please be sure to say “thank you for sponsoring HB 910!”, while also asking for her support for the raw milk bill.
Elliott Naishtat – Vice Chair (part of the City of Austin – Zip Codes 78701, 78703, 78704, 78705, 78712, 78731, 78735, 78745, 78746, 78751, 78752, 78756, 78757, 78758, 78759) | Phone: 512-463-0668 | Email: Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us
J.D. Sheffield (Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba, and Somervell counties) | Phone: 512-463-0628 | Email: J.D.Sheffield@house.state.tx.us
Note: Two members of the Committee, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Rep. Bill Zedler, have already co-authored the bill, so we are not listing them above. If you are a constituent, be sure to say thank you! We’ve included their contact information below.
Jodie Laubenberg | 512-463-0186 | Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
Bill Zedler | 512-463-0374 | Bill.Zedler@house.state.tx.us