A bill that’s passed the Iowa Senate would block lawsuits against farm chemical companies based on how the products are labeled. It means the companies couldn’t be sued for failing to warn of potential health risks if product labels meet federal guidelines.

“Iowa feeds the world and we need partners in that who aren’t constantly under threat of lawsuit for following the very laws governing the ways they do business,” Senate President Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, said.

In February a federal appeals court refused to dismiss a lawsuit claiming Roundup causes cancer and the CEO of Bayer, the company that produces Roundup, recently told investors lawsuits are a huge burden for the company. Senator Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center, said the costs of Bayer’s legal predicament are passed along to farmers.

“We’re dealing with billions of dollars of lawsuits,” Edler said. “…The price of Roundup has gone up exponentially because of these lawsuits.”

Thirty Republican Senators voted for the bill. Four other Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate in voting against it. Senator Molly Donahue, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said the legislature should be looking out for farmers.

“The people of Iowa should matter more than the corporations and whatever funding they’re pouring into the state to get this bill passed,” Donahue said.

Senator Janice Weiner, a Democrat from Iowa City, said the legislature should be focused on responding to the fact Iowa has the fastest rising cancer rate in the country.

“What we should not be doing is taking away options from Iowans who fall ill,” Weiner said.

A key lawmaker in the HOUSE says the bill could soon come up for a vote in a House committee. Similar legislation has been introduced in Missouri and Idaho, but Idaho’s Senate rejected the bill in February.

Radio Iowa