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Re: E-M:/ Re: slander against vegetables bill


Your response here seems commendably high minded, but perhaps a tad naive.
 This legislation is transparently a variation of industry's SLAPP (Strategic
Law Suits Against Public Particpation) ploy.  The idea of SLAPP is not to win
in court, but to use superior financial resources to ensnare your opponents
in a time consuming, extremely expensive legal battle.  In the end, they stop
engaging in the public dialogue--not because their ideas are invalid,  but
because they simply cannot risk the expense of defending themselves in court.

You see what could happen with the proposed HB 4634.  If I do not think
pesticide regulations sufficiently protect the public health, and say so in
public, I could become embroiled in a law suit on the grounds that I was
conveying "false and misleading information."  The language here is so broad,
and the factual scientific situation so equivocal, that almost any mildly
negative comment could be grounds for a suit.  Again, I doubt the industry
types who support this sort of legislation expect to win many judgements.
 With their superior financial resources, they win any time they can expand
the available pretexts for bringing an opponent to court.

Think what kind of a world this would be if concerned citizen were afraid to
voice their concerns about the safety of food, the quality of the air, the
adequacy of discharge permits, the safety of cars or toys. etc., etc., etc.

Paul Smyth
East Lansing 

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