The debate about agricultural biotechnology has been reflected to varying degrees in state legislatures across the country. In the last several years, state legislators have introduced an increasing number of bills and resolutions highlighting a number of issues related to the technology. Many states are attempting to balance a diverse set of interests. On the one hand, there is an interest in capturing the perceived economic value of agricultural biotechnology for their agricultural producers. On the other hand, states are also addressing some of the conflicts that often arise when a new technology is introduced, including impacts on other economic interests and public concerns. Outside of statehouses, local public officials and voters have also become more active on the topic.
This fact sheet updates the 2003 state legislative fact sheet released in May 2004 by incorporating new legislation introduced in 2004, and by updating the status of the legislation introduced in 2003. The fact sheet also compares the activities of the 2003-2004 state legislative session with the previous 2001-2002 session documented in a prior fact sheet in June 2003, agricultural biotechnology in 2001-2002. In addition, the fact sheet reviews a selected number of local initiatives and provides a preview of some activity from 2005.