Friday, July 24, 2015

Third Party? Two are More Than Enough (with Larry Dunphy)

Why We’re Leaving the Party

Though we may be different in many ways, in one way we have found common ground. We both see the partisan politics and their destructive influence on our Republic.

It is apparent that the federal government has been rendered incapable of any coherent and comprehensive action by the intransigence of competing political parties; and we’ve both been eyewitnesses to this same dynamic in the Maine’s Legislature.  This destructive polarization harms the reputation and credibility of Maine’s government and more importantly, frustrates the creation of policies that affect the lives of everyday Mainers.  In our conversations with the people of Maine, we hear a common theme that this dysfunction that has grabbed the throat of Maine politics chokes the common sense out of our elected officials’ ability to serve their constituents.

Political parties have functionally become vehicles by which special interests exert inappropriate influence in government. One need only look at the list of donors to the two major parties and their candidates by political action committees to see this impact.  Some donors are so cynical that they contribute to both parties and competing candidates to ensure influence.  No elected official will readily admit that contributions to one’s party or one’s campaign affect the decisions he or she makes while in office; unfortunately, this assertion doesn’t pass the straight face test.  And don’t let the “clean elections candidate” label fool you either.  Many such candidates themselves operate PACs that raise funds, and in turn donate them to their party, which then in turn operates to secure the candidate’s or others’ election.  It’s no coincidence that many of these candidates, when elected, find themselves in leadership positions within their party and in the Legislature. 

Once in office, your representative is subject to the powerful influence of these parties.  Ask your legislator if he or she has been pressured to reverse his or her vote by a party leader.  Ask your legislator if he or she has been pressured to reverse his or her vote on reconsideration of a veto in order to support a governor.  Ask your legislator if he or she has really read and understands the bills on which he or she has voted or has merely relied on the caucus position.  The answers will not surprise you, but they are not the answers that the people of Maine will want to hear.  Party politics are directing Maine’s future, not the people of Maine.

Recently a $6.7 billion budget negotiated behind closed doors by four party leaders, and the unspoken influence of each was that “I can deliver 2/3 of my caucus” with this “compromise.”  Unless your legislator or senator was directly involved in these negotiations, he or she had little input, and since there were no public hearings on these agreements, no citizens’ voices were heard.  Maine people and their elected representatives had no seat at the table.   

We treat policy work as a team sport, and there are only two teams.  We fall easily into the rhetoric of “Democrats do this” and “Republicans think that” because it’s easily comprehensible to us, reducing everything to black and white.  It becomes easy for us to choose one side and denigrate the other, ignoring the complexity of the issues or even the very issue itself.  The party sound bites are much easier to throw out to a media that no longer investigates the truth.  This “us and them” thinking allows us to treat our fellow citizens with disdain, dismissing all of the other things about them that are positive.  To see this, one needs merely to read the online comments below any news story. 

Our politics has become fraught with dirty, personal attacks. By polarizing our conversation, we polarize our community and we polarize the way we think about issues.  We change the way we think about the people who hold opinions different from us.  We conclude that somehow, they are mentally deficient or woefully uninformed or motivated by evil intent. Consequently, our government becomes dysfunctional, not the representative democracy it was designed to be. 

The truth is the ideas and opinions of our citizenry are varied, complex, and wonderfully diverse.

Both of us represent small towns where Town Meeting is how issues are decided.  Of course there is disagreement and heated discussion.  But somehow, absent the influence of political parties, the citizens muddle through and do what’s best for their community and remain friends through the disagreement and discussion.  And the community is stronger for it.  Our politics in Augusta and Washington could be informed by this tradition.

Both of us have become good friends, and we respect our differences.  We trust that the other is sincerely trying to do the best thing as he understands it.  We disagree on a great many things but we also agree on others.  We recognize that issues are complex and require conversations and not arguments.  We both agree that the polarization of our politics and the disproportionate power of our parties have undermined the functioning of our government and frustrated our elected officials’ abilities to vote their conscience and properly represent their constituents.

So the Democratic and Republican parties in Maine each have one less member.  We are free to work together on complex issues, agreeing where we can, and disagreeing when we must.  Whether we agree or disagree, we will be civil, respectful, and responsible to our constituents and we will remain friends and true to the ideals of a truly representative democracy.

Larry Dunphy is a Legislator from North Anson and a former Republican, and Brian Jones is a former Legislator from Freedom and former Democrat.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fundamental Rights and the Right to Food

Let’s talk about fundamental rights and the right to food.

A fundamental right is a right that is so important that the government can’t infringe upon it without proving that doing so is necessary, and its infringement narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest. 

Some fundamental rights are stated or clearly implied in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.  Others are implied under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Since the right to food isn’t stated or clearly implied in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, we look at how the courts have interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment.

There are several tests of implied rights under the Fourteenth Amendments. 

Is the right “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race?”1 Is the right “so rooted in the tradition and conscience of our people as to be ranked fundamental?”2 Has the Supreme Court identified or suggested it or a similar right?

“[F]reedom of personal choice in matters of family life is a [protected] fundamental liberty interest.”3 This right denotes the “right of the individual to . . . generally . . . enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”4 Controlling the raising of one’s children is a fundamental right.5  And there is a right to make choices concerning one’s own health.  In fact, “[n]o right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person.”6

The rights to privacy7 and to bodily integrity8 are also fundamental rights.

But some governmental entities see the right to food as not being a fundamental right, hence our concern and the need for this amendment. 

For example, The United States Department of Health and Human Services testified that “[t]here is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food,” arguing that there “is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to food of all kinds.”  They also testified that “[t]here is no generalized right to bodily and physical health.”9

Above mere sustenance, people consume food for a variety of reasons:  as a part of religious practice or ceremony; as a means of communion with friends, family, or the community; as a means of self-expression or cultural expression; a conscious decision to exercise control over one’s health; and as political speech.  All these are protected fundamental rights.

We need to guard against governmental overreach, preferably by clearly constitutionally codifying, as a fundamental right, that every individual has a right to the food of his or her choosing.

1Skinner v. Oklahoma
2Snyder v. Massachusetts; Moore v. City of Cleveland, Ohio
3Santosky v. Kramer
4Loving v. Virginia
5Meyer v. Nebraska; Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and         Mary; Troxel v. Granville
6Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
7Lawrence v. Texas; Roe v. Wade; Griswold v. Connecticut
8Rochin v. California
9Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. Sebelius.  Brief filed by Stephanie M.   Rose for Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary, United States department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Milk Safety in Maine in Context

We hear a lot of discussion these days about of food safety and the “dangers” of raw milk and the risks associated with a small, unregulated market, so let’s talk about safety.  Let’s consider three standards of measure.  First, the hazard, that is, what causes the harm; second, the risk, that is, what’s the probability the hazard will cause harm; and third, safety, that is, given the definition of the hazard and the probability that the hazard will cause harm, what’s an acceptable level of risk?

The hazards of consuming milk, raw and pasteurized, are real.  We know that a wide variety of germs that are sometimes found in milk and milk products can make people sick and sometimes die. 

In the United States the CDC’s foodborne disease outbreak database reports that from 1998 to present there have been 31 outbreaks from foodborne pathogens in pasteurized milk and solid cheese, representing 2940 total illnesses and 10 deaths.  Similarly, in the same period, there have been 136 outbreaks in raw milk and raw milk cheeses representing 2464 total illnesses and 2 deaths.1

Two illnesses were reported in Maine attributed to raw milk in home use but nether of these individuals required hospitalization, and this milk wasn’t traced to any farm or milk distributor. 

Using extrapolated data, another statistical analysis suggest that annual estimates of foodborne illnesses from dairy may be somewhat higher, but are recognized in the study as probably overstated because of methodology.2

By the way, there are other hazards associated with milk consumption that are often glossed over:  an increased risk of prostate 3-5 and breast cancers,6 insulin-dependent (or type 1) diabetes,7 food allergies, especially in children,8 and constipation in children.9 Children suffering from colic has even been linked to breastfeeding mothers’ consumption of cow’s milk.10 Now none of these hazards will be discussed here, but we should be aware that there are other health and safety risks to consider when we talk about food safety in the context of milk.

When we talk about risk, we’re talking about the chances someone will experience an adverse effect.    So let’s put the risk of illness and death from foodborne pathogens from all milk products, ignoring the other hazards associated with milk consumption, in context.

We can relatively simply consider the probabilities of death from consuming these items.  Let’s take the population of the United States over the period 1998 to the present, a little over 300 million souls.11 Using past data as a guide, the probability of becoming ill in any one year from a foodborne pathogen associated with milk, raw or pasteurized, is roughly 1 x 10^-6 which indicates an illness rate of about 1 in 1 million.  The probability of dying in any one year from dairy products is about
2.4 x 10^-8 which indicates a death rate of about 1 in 42 million.

Reflect on that for a moment.  Your odds of dying from consuming milk or milk products are about 1 in 42 million.  Even given an error of an order of magnitude, we can conclude these risks are small, given other risks we cheerfully assume.

So let’s compare these risks to risks from other common activities that we tolerate with little or no discussion. In 2013 alone, there were 8 deaths and 11,400 hospitalization treatments for non-occupational fireworks related injuries.12 The odds of becoming injured in such an accident are about 1 in 36,000 and dying in such an accident are roughly 1 in 37 million. 

Annually, 38,000 people require hospitalization from furniture and television tip overs, and in the 5 years from 2000 through 2014, there were 430 deaths, 360 of them children under 10 years of age.13 The odds of receiving such an injury are higher than 1 in 8,000, and the odds of dying from one of these accidents are about 1 in 3.5 million.

An average of 51 people perish from lightening strikes each year.14  The odds of dying from a lightening strike are roughly 1 in 5.9 million, and those are an order of magnitude higher than from consuming dairy products.14  In fact 3 unlucky individuals in Maine died from lightening strikes in the period 1998 to 2012 while none were lost to the consumption of dairy or dairy products.15

Consider, for comparison, that an estimate of 440,000 annual deaths from errors in care in hospitals is roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year.  Your odds of dying from a treatment error in hospital are greater than 1 in 700.16

In this context, please realistically consider the risks associated with the consumption of raw and pasteurized milk and milk products.

Secondary to the discussion of statistical risk is the scale of possible adverse events.  If a small milk producer sells contaminated milk or milk products and his or her clients become ill, the potential scale of the outbreak, and consequently the number of people affected, is small. If a large milk distributor sells contaminated milk or dairy products, since the market and potentially infected population is larger, the consequences are far greater in terms of public health.  Or to use an analogous example by way of illustration, a farmer selling contaminated beef out of his or her freezer will affect far fewer people than the population affected by a 1.8 million pound ground beef recall, as we saw last year17. 

So now let’s talk about safety, that is, the acceptable level of risk.  The riskiest behavior any of us engage in is driving or riding in an automobile (with odds greater than 1 in 9000 of dying), yet we do it every day.18  We’ve recently legalized non-commercial fireworks in Maine, knowing the risks and trusting consumers to use them wisely and safely.  Most hotels secure their television sets to prevent tip overs, yet homeowners typically do not, assessing the hazard and risk and assuming responsibility for that decision themselves.  We still go to hospital when needing acute medical treatment, knowing that many preventable errors have high mortality rates there.

Individuals, knowing the hazards and assessing risks, make decisions about safety every day.  And they have the capacity to make decisions concerning the purchase of milk and milk products.

Knowing that we make decisions concerning safety every day, let’s turn to the inspection process.  There is no recent data that reveal that there have been any illnesses or deaths from small, uninspected farms in Maine. None.  

And do not think that regular purchases of unpasteurized milk and milk products from uninspected facilities do not occur and are not common.  These transactions do occur, and they are more common than many would like to admit.  In other words, the inspection process by which a patron purchases milk from an uninspected dairy, as evidenced by the apparent absence of illnesses and deaths, seems to be effective.

Ponder that for a moment.  Perhaps the relationship and inspection regime that exists between a farmer and his or her patron may be more effective in making sure the milk and milk products sold in this type of retail exchange are safe than the architectural and testing industry requirements that now prevail.

The consumption of milk and milk products does contain hazards.  The epidemiology of illnesses caused by foodborne pathogens is well known and well documented.  The risks associated with the consumption of these products are less well quantified, but obviously less than some would have us believe, certainly smaller than the risks many of us willingly assume every day. It’s important to determine the safety of these products and the efficacy of a face-to-face inspection model, vis à vis the architectural and testing model currently in place, with the best available data.

Let’s recognize patron inspection of dairy facilities as a legitimate inspection regimen and, given the lack of data to conclude otherwise, allow the sale of unregulated farm-produced dairy products at the site of production.  I can assure you that the sky won’t fall, rivers won’t turn to blood, and I don’t foresee dogs mating with cats any time soon.

2 Painter JA, Hoekstra RM, Ayers T, Tauxe RV, Braden CR, Angulo FJ, et al. Attribution of foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths to food commodities by using outbreak data, United States, 1998–2008. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2013 Mar  p. 411.

3Qin L, Xu J, Wang P, Tong J, Hoshi K. Milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer in Western countries: evidence from cohort studies. Asia Pac J Clinical Nutrition. 2007;16:467–476.

4Song Y, Chavarro JE, Cao Y, et al. Whole milk intake is associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality among U.S. male physicians. Journal of Nutrition. 2013;143:189-196.

5Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci E. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians’ Health Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001;74:549-554.

6 Kroenke CH, Kwan ML, Sweeney C, Castillo A, Caan Bette J. High-and low-fat dairy intake, recurrence, and mortality after breast cancer diagnosis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013;105:616-623.

7 Saukkonen T, Virtanen SM, Karppinen M, et al. Significance of cow’s milk protein antibodies as risk factor for childhood IDDM: interaction with dietary cow’s milk intake and HLA-DQB1 genotype. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Dibetologia. 1998;41:72–78.

8 Sampson HA. Food allergy. Part 1: immunopathogenesis and clinical disorders. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2004;113:805–819.

9 Iacono G, Cavataio F, Montalto G, et al. Intolerance of cow’s milk and chronic constipation in children. New England Journal of Medicine. 1998;339:1100–1104.

10 Paronen J, Bjorksten B, Hattevig G, Akerblom HK, Vaarala O. Effect of maternal diet during lactation on development of bovine insulin-binding antibodies in children at risk for allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2000;106:302–306.

16 James, John T. A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. Journal of Patient Safety: September 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 3 - p 122–128.



Monday, March 2, 2015

More about the Freedom Food Sovereignty Ordinance

"We always hear about the rights of democracy, but the major responsibility of it is participation." ~ Wynton Marsalis

Mark your calendar for March 6 and March 14.

                         Freedom’s Local Food Ordinance of 2015

“There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”
—FDA written testimony in an Iowa U.S. District Court, April 26th 2010

This Ordinance preserves our constitutional right to grow, sell and eat the foods of our choice by:

PROTECTING direct farmer/grower/processor-to-patron sales. So long as there is one willing seller and one willing buyer, the producer or processor of local foods is exempt from federal or state permitting, certification or licensure. Patrons may enter into private contractual agreements with a producer or processor for their products.

PRESERVING our local heritage. As federal agencies increasingly require food to be pasteurized, homogenized, centralized and sterilized, our long held rural traditions are under attack all over the country. The ordinance protects bean suppers, bake sales, traveling food fundraisers, holiday fairs and other community social events that are the fabric of our rural life.

ALLOWING family farms to be profitable and viable. Without this Ordinance, small, diversified farms face a growing number of burdensome requirements for facilities and infrastructure geared toward industrial food factory “farms.” A one-size-fits all approach is not the answer to food safety.

PROTECTING the livelihoods of our food producers by allowing them to continue to sell their products. Farmers, growers, and processors selling in our own town have an honest incentive to grow safe food; their reputations are based solely on the quality of their products. The new food-borne illnesses common in the factory-food system do not have their roots on our farms.

GROWING our local economy. Buying local keeps money in our community and helps farms remain economically viable as they supply the expanding demand for locally grown food.

PROMOTING public health. The biggest threat to our nation’s food supply, according to the USDA, is concentrated factory-style production, centralized processing, and long distance transportation.  Our small farms and local processors are the solution. Raising meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables as close as possible to the kitchens of customers, the end-users, increases our food safety.

 PROTECTING THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF FREEDOM by saving farmland.  Farmland provides food and cover for wildlife, builds soil health, protects watersheds and improves air quality. The Local Foods Ordinance helps preserve Freedom’s farmland by safeguarding economic opportunity for the family farmers, growers, and processors in Freedom. This in turn, helps preserve Maine’s wildlife, soils, watersheds, and our rural way of life.

Local agriculture is sustainable only when our family farmers and local processors are free to sell their food products directly to their customers, as they have since time out of mind. Sustainable farming makes our environment, economy, and community all grow stronger.

Please hear the facts at a Public Hearing March 6 at 6:00pm at the Town Office.  And make sure to come to Town Meeting Saturday March 14 at 10:00am at the Dirigo Grange and support this effort. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Food Sovereignty Comes to Freedom

Freedom, Maine will consider Food Sovereignty.

The Freedom Selectmen were presented with a Food Sovereignty Ordinance at Monday's meeting.  They'll consider it for a week and decide whether to put it on the warrant for Town Meeting, the second Saturday in March.  They know that if they fail to put it on the warrant, there'll be a citizens' petition, and that would require a special Town Meeting and the extra costs associated with that.  My guess is that the Selectmen, being frugal people sensing the inevitability of this initiative, will agree to put it on the warrant.

If you'd like more information on Food Sovereignty, on Maine communities' food sovereignty  initiative, or on how to create and present an ordinance for your Town, send me an email.

Here's the text of the proposed ordinance:

Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2015

An Ordinance to Protect the Health and Integrity of the Local Food System in the Town of Freedom, Waldo County, Maine

Section 1. Name.

This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the “Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.”

Section 2. Definitions.

As used in this ordinance:
         a. “Patron” means an individual who is the last person to purchase any product or preparation directly from a processor or producer and who does not resell the product or preparation.
         b. “Home consumption” means consumed within a private home.
         c. Local Foods” means any food or food product that is grown, produced, or processed by individuals who sell directly to their patrons through farm-based sales or buying clubs, at farmers markets, roadside stands, fundraisers or at community social events.
         d. “Processor” means any individual who processes or prepares products of the soil or animals for food or drink.
         e. “Producer” means any farmer or gardener who grows any plant or animal for food or drink.
         f. “Community social event” means an event where people gather as part of a community for the benefit of those gathering, or for the community, including but not limited to a church or religious social, school event, potluck, neighborhood gathering, library meeting, traveling food sale, fundraiser, craft fair, farmers market and other public events.

Section 3. Preamble and Purpose.

We the People of the Town of Freedom, Waldo County, Maine have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions. We recognize that family farms, sustainable agricultural practices, and food processing by individuals, families and non-corporate entities offers stability to our rural way of life by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community. As such, our right to a local food system requires us to assert our inherent right to self-government. We recognize the authority to protect that right as belonging to the Town of Freedom.

We have faith in our citizens’ ability to educate themselves and make informed decisions. We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute an usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice. We support food that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, nourishes individuals and the community, and sustains producers, processors and the environment. We are therefore duty bound under the Constitution of the State of Maine to protect and promote unimpeded access to local foods.

The purpose of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance is to:
         i.        Provide citizens with unimpeded access to local food;
         ii.       Enhance the local economy by promoting the production and purchase of local agricultural products;
         iii.      Protect access to farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm based sales and direct producer to patron sales;
         iv.      Support the economic viability of local food producers and processors;
         v.       Preserve community social events where local foods are served or sold;
         vi.      Preserve local knowledge and traditional foodways.

Section 4. Authority.

This Ordinance is adopted and enacted pursuant to the inherent, inalienable, and fundamental right of the citizens of the Town of Freedom to self-government, and under the authority recognized as belonging to the people of the Town by all relevant state and federal laws including, but not limited to the following:

         The Declaration of Independence of the United States of   America, which declares that governments are instituted to secure peoples’ rights, and that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

         Article I, § 2 of the Maine Constitution, which declares: “all power is inherent in the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their benefit, [and that] they have therefore an unalienable and indefeasible right to institute government and to alter, reform, or totally change the same when their safety and happiness require it.”

         §3001 of Title 30-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, which grants municipalities all powers necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Town of Freedom.

         §1-A of Title 7 of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “The survival of the family farm is of special concern to the people of the State, and the ability of the family farm to prosper, while producing an abundance of high quality food and fiber, deserves a place of high priority in the determination of public policy.”

         §1-B of Title 7 of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “...The preservation of rural life and values in the State [is] the joint responsibility of all public agencies, local, state and federal, whose policies and programs substantially impact the economy and general welfare of people who reside in rural Maine, such as the development and implementation of programs that assist in the maintenance of family farms... and improve health and nutrition. The state agencies in addition to the department include, but are not limited to, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

         §201-A of Title 7-A of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “It is the policy of the State to encourage food self-sufficiency for its citizens. The department (Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry) shall support policies that:
1. Local Control. Through local control preserve the abilities of communities to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume locally produced foods....
3. Improved Health and Well-Being. Improve the health and well-being of citizens of this State by reducing hunger and increasing food security through improved access to wholesome, nutritious foods by supporting family farms and encouraging sustainable farming and fishing;
4. Self-reliance and personal responsibility. Promote self-reliance and personal responsibility by ensuring the ability of individuals, families and other entities to prepare, process, advertise and sell foods directly to customers intended solely for consumption by the customers or their families...

Section 5. Statements of Law.

                  Section 5.1. Licensure/Inspection Exemption.

         Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Freedom are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption. This includes any producer or processor who sells his or her products at farmers’ markets or roadside stands; sells his or her products through farm-based sales directly to a patron; or delivers his or her products directly to patrons.

                  Section 5.1.a. Licensure/Inspection Exemption.

         Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Freedom are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that their products are prepared for, consumed, or sold at a community social event.

                  Section 5.2.  Right to Access and Produce Food.

         Freedom citizens possess the right to save and exchange seed; produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.

                  Section 5.3. Right to Self-Governance.

         All citizens of Freedom possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent.

                  Section 5.4. Right to Enforce.

         Freedom citizens possess the right to adopt measures which prevent the violation of the rights enumerated in this Ordinance.

Section 6. Statement of Law.  Implementation. 

         The following restrictions and provisions serve to implement the preceding statements of law.

                  Section 6.1. State and Federal Law.

         It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance. It shall be unlawful for any corporation to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance. The term “corporation” shall mean any business entity organized under the laws of any state or country.

                  Section 6.2. Patron Liability Protection.

         Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.

Section 7. Civil Enforcement.

The Town of Freedom may enforce the provisions of this Ordinance through seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction. Any individual citizen of the Town of Freedom shall have standing to vindicate any rights secured by this ordinance which have been violated or which are threatened with violation, and may seek relief both in the form of injunctive and compensatory relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.

Section 8. Town Action against Pre-emption.

The foundation for making and adoption of this law is the peoples’ fundamental and inalienable right to govern themselves, and thereby secure their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Any attempt to use other units and levels of government to preempt, amend, alter or overturn this Ordinance or parts of this Ordinance shall require the Town to hold public meetings that explore the adoption of other measures that expand local control and the ability of citizens to protect their fundamental and inalienable right to self-government.

Section 9. Effect
This Ordinance shall be effective immediately upon its enactment.

Section 10.  Severability Clause.

To the extent any provision of this Ordinance is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such provision will be removed from the Ordinance, and the balance of the Ordinance shall remain valid.

Section 11. Repealer.

All inconsistent provisions of prior Ordinances adopted by the Town of Freedom are hereby repealed, but only to the extent necessary to remedy the inconsistency.

Section 12. Human Rights and Constitutionality.

Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed as authorizing any activities or actions that violate human rights protected by the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Maine.