During last night's debate over the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Finance bill, Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth) rose to amend the bill to prohibit the use of state funds by Soil and Water Conservation Districts to purchase of plants and seed treated with neonic insecticides:
Members, I've noticed that many of you like to eat and to continue enjoying you fruits and vegetables, your apples and your strawberries, I urge you to vote yes on this amendment to the amendment to save and protect our food supply and our bees and other pollinators. This amendment prohibits the use of state funds, specifically grants to the soil and water conservation districts, to plant or purchase a product that contains a pollinator-lethal insecticide.
What this is an insecticide that's absorbed by a plant, that makes the plant lethal to pollinators. This includes neonicotinoids and other classes of insecticides which affects the central nervous system of pollinators and could cause paralysis or death, and bees are very susceptible to this class of insecticide and may even cause the colony collapse disorders that we're seeing across the country.
Bees in particular are very valuable to our food supply. They are very important in the $15 billion of crop production annually and pollinators support 35 percent of crops globally and 85 percent of our flowering plants.
I urge you to vote green for the bees. . . .
Here's the speech:
Environment committee chair Denny McNamara supported the amendment to the amendment, and the measure passed by a 116-13 margin (Journal of the House, page 3269).
Here are the members who voted against bees, whom we might call Daudt and the New Neonicotinoid Twelve:
Speaker Kurt Daudt
Unfortunately, the underlying amendment was defeated.
The vote echoes a May 2014 vote, in which Daudt and Mark Anderson Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Tom Hackbarth, Jerry Hertaus, Brian Johnson, Jim Newberger, Joyce Peppin and Peggy Scott.
Daudt, Drazkowski, Hertaus and Peppin are consistent votes against bees; one has to wonder what prompted Dean, Fabian, Garofalo, Kiel, Quam and Zerwas turn their backs on pollinators. Hancock wasn't around for the 2013-2014 session, while Lucero and Miller are serving their first terms.
To contact Speaker Daudt and the Neonicotinoid 12 to ask them why they took this vote, locate their contact information here. Let Bluestem know if you get an answer.
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