Indiana State Senator Jim Banks
State Senator and Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) friend Jim Banks took a major step Tuesday towards becoming the next representative for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District when he defeated a crowded field in the Republican primary election for that seat. Senator Banks advances to the general election in November where he will be facing Tommy Schrader, a candidate who has not reported raising any money. The 3rd District is the most heavily Republican in the state; a Democrat has not been elected to Congress for that District since 1992.
During his time in the state legislature, Senator Banks has worked on numerous measures to strengthen Indiana’s local food system. He was the lead sponsor for legislation passing into law that greatly increased the number of poultry that producers can slaughter and process on the farm. The poultry bill also eliminated regulation from county health departments over poultry, rabbit and egg sales direct to the consumer. In the prior legislative session, Senator Banks was the lead sponsor in a successful effort to legalize on-farm slaughter and processing of rabbits. He was also able to convince the Indiana Board of Animal Health to amend a regulation on wild pigs that was similar to the Michigan swine Invasive Species Order so that heritage breed hog farmers were no longer a potential target of the law. Senator Banks has been a sponsor of a food freedom bill introduced in the legislature and has worked on legalizing the sale and distribution of raw milk. Recently he worked with FTCLDF members, Pete Eshelman and Jeff Hawkins, in a successful effort to establish the rights of farmers processing poultry on the farm to sell their products to restaurants, hotels and institutions such as schools. FTCLDF has worked with Senator Banks on these matters.
If elected in November, Senator Banks is expected to be a valuable ally to Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s 4th District in the latter’s work to increase access to locally produced food and to transfer regulatory authority over food commerce from the federal government to the states. Senator Banks has indicated that he would be a cosponsor for the PRIME Act, a bill Representative Massie introduced to give states the option of allowing the sale of custom-processed meat.
Congratulations to Jim Banks and local food supporters in Indiana’s 3rd District.
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Services provided by FTCLDF go beyond providing legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and Political Action Services also provide an avenue for FTCLDF to build grassroots activism to create the most favorable regulatory climate possible. In addition to advising on bill language, FTCLDF supports favorable legislation via action alerts, social media outreach, and the online petition service.
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