On Thursday's "Your Legislators," a question Bluestem's editor sent in to Pioneer Public Television led off the live roundtable show.
Guest lawmakers included Rick Hansen (DFL, South St. Paul) and Jeff Howe (R, Rockville) from the House and Carla Nelson (R, Rochester) and Sandy Pappas (DFL, St. Paul). Since Hansen has established himself as one of the pollinator advocates at the legislature, host Barry Anderson turned the question over to the Dakota County Democrat.
Hansen reviews the laws passed last year, and efforts to roll them back this year, noting that researchers at the U have determined that not it's not just one factor that's putting pollinators in peril:
They'll say that it's parasites, poor nutrition, poor habitat and pesticides. Not just one. . . but they impact each other. So the pesticides could impact or weaken the bees so they may not find the food, plus you've got to have the habitat. Or they might become more susceptible to mites that come into the hives.
So we've helped with trying to help with the public dollar on habitat, but what happened today [Thursday in the Senate]--this is what happens here. An omnibus bill--a lot of good stuff in it, some bad stuff in it--the choice is in front of all of us. I voted against the omnibus bill, others don't, but it's on its way to the governor, it's pretty popular bill, in the Senate it passed unanimously, but this was in it.
It's unfortunate, and I hope that Minnesotans, if things like this happen at the capitol, there's still a way that they can go to their nurseries and greenhouses and say, "Why is this happening? I want to have something that's not going to kill pollinators."
And ask those greenhouses and nurseries, why are you lobbying for this at the capitol? We want truth in advertising. . . .Minnesotans want--I get emails from around the state, I get emails: we want to help out pollinators. People get the connection with their food supply, they know that bees are critical, . . .we have to try to do this, so if they can't influence us, I encourage them to influence with their dollar at the nurseries and greenhouses and ask for pollinator-friendly plants.
Not long after, Rochester Republican Nelson concurs:
. . .I will say, pollinators are very important and I think the public does realize that. We're going to have to monitor the situation, and laws can change--and they do change. And I also like what you said about having people vote with their pocketbooks.
. . .I think there's even more power in the consumer, so I think that's a good avenue as well. . . .
Minnesota Public Radio's Dan Gunderson reported last spring in As pesticide worries grow, 'bee safe' plants generate a buzz that some greenhouses and nurseries were responding to consumer concerns by providing bee-friendly plants that are actually bee-safe.
Saturday, Howe voted for the Schultz amendment to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources funding bill. Sadly, we've heard this evening that despite yesterday's board bipartisan vote by House members from Preston to Moorhead, the conference committee has refused to include the new language in the current version of the LCCMR funding bill.
Here's the segment, taped before the House vote yesterday 9but on the day on which the MN Senate rolled back pollinator protections, while making bee losses to neonicitinoids a punchline,
Photo: Bees on a corn tassel.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.