Early this week, the House Agriculture Committee favorably passed HB 2437, which would require transparent labeling of fake meat products. It now will be considered by the full House. KLA members are encouraged to contact their legislators and indicate support of the bill, as well as opposition to any amendments to weaken the disclaimer language.
Prior to passage, the committee voted for a KLA-approved amendment designed to further strengthen the bill against First Amendment legal challenges. It removed “advertisements” from the purview of the bill, as well as offering “meatless” and “meat-free” as alternatives to the original disclaimer language of “this product does not contain meat” and “imitation.” It also exempted “menus and menu boards” because certain portions are regulated by the federal Affordable Care Act, not by the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s misbranding regulations. KLA was able to successfully repel an amendment that would have rendered the bill useless by removing the requirement that fake meat disclaimers be in the same font as the meat term and placed immediately before or after the meat term. The same adverse amendment, which was offered by Rep. Rui Xu of Westwood, also would have allowed fake meat companies to use terms like “plant-based” and “veggie.” These terms currently are being used by fake meat companies in inconspicuous locations on the label, leading to consumer confusion.
In other ag-related action, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved SB 270, which would allow water rights certified after 2009 to participate in the multi-year flex account program.
Finally, at the time of publication, the House was awaiting final action on SCR 1613, a constitutional amendment intended to overturn the Kansas Supreme Court opinion that held Kansans have a constitutional right to an abortion. A preliminary vote in the Committee of the Whole showed the amendment to be four votes short of passage. While this is not an issue covered by KLA policy, failure of the amendment could grind other legislative activities to a halt as House leadership attempts to get the two-thirds majority votes necessary to place the measure on the ballot.