April 17, 2014
Genetically modified organisms are a hot topic. The mere mention of “GMOs” can get people riled up on topics of health, agriculture, and more. On that note, when one state lawmaker in Connecticut proposed a bill to ban genetically modified grass seeds, some of his colleagues said it was too early, and the bill was easily defeated.
According to the Hartford Courant, the bill proposed by Connecticut state Senator and Democratic leader Donald E. Williams Jr easily passed the Senate by a vote of 25-11, but didn’t have the same measure of luck in the state House of Representatives.
Despite Democratic support in the Senate, the bill only had 37 votes of support and 103 votes against in the House—with House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) and 50 other Democrats among those dissenting.
The vote was particularly interesting because when a bill that originates with Democratic backing in the Senate doesn’t have Democratic support in the House, it often isn’t even brought up for a vote by the Democratic House Speaker. This time, it was, and Speaker Sharkey said it’s the first time he’s ever called a bill, voted against it, and watched it fail.
“I’ve never, ever been consulted about this bill by anyone in the Senate,” Sharkey told reporters after the vote, saying Williams never called him or spoke with him about it. “The advocates wanted a vote on the bill, so I felt it was most important to have the vote and avoid the distraction that was going to inevitably occur if we kept it on our calendar for days or weeks.”
The main reason the GMO grass seed ban didn’t get support is because the GMO grass seeds have not even been fully developed.
“We’re banning something that doesn’t exist,” said Rep. Dan Carter (R-Bethel). “It wasn’t vetted in the light of day.”
Despite not existing, yet, GMO grass seed is coming soon. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is developing the seed that will be resistant to Monsanto’s RoundUp, and will allow lawn-owners to spray their lawns with pesticides without worrying about killing their grass.
In the U.S., many people spend hours each week investing effort into the “perfect” lawn — which has come to mean a soft, perfectly-cut, weed-free, grassy surface. In other words, a complete waste of space. These lawn-worshippers will no doubt find a GMO grass seed as worthy of their investments when it becomes available. One can only hope that by then there will be an equally profound interest in growing something other than grass in yards across the country.
This post originally appeared at Natural Society.
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