Maine’s small farmers had held out great hope for LD 1282, explained the Bangor Daily News a few months ago. The bill, if made law, would have allowed “unlicensed farmers whose facilities are not under inspection to sell up to 20 gallons of raw milk per day directly to consumers, so long as the product was clearly labeled.”
For small farmers, a traditional freedom, a niche in the system.
For big farmers it presented an unwelcome double standard, allowing something for the little guy that the big guy couldn’t match. And yes, the bill did suffer from this kind of inconsistency, but only because current regulations all stack against small farmers.
The bill passed, but last month the governor vetoed it . . . and the veto was not overridden. No legal raw milk in Maine.
For some in the state’s Republican Party, including national committee member Mark Wilson, that was just too much. “We want our God-given rights to buy, sell and consume what we want protected by the law — not restricted by FDA or USDA directives.” Citing lack of principle on the federal level, too, they resigned from the party, choosing to focus on helping their “fellow Mainers outside of party politics.”
The story hit the papers.
Can they accomplish more good outside the GOP? Probably. The state’s initiative and referendum process rated a C in Citizens in Charge’s 2010 report; most states rate an F. But there’s no point in even trying to rate partisan politics. It’s that bad.
And direct citizen action is certainly less frustrating. It’s hard when you must fight not only the opposition party, but your own team as well.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.