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Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Rare Move, House Kills Proposed GMO Grass Seed Ban

By Arielle Levin Becker and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

In an unusual move that could have ripple effects for the rest of the legislative session, the state House today killed a proposal favored by the Senate’s top lawmaker.

The bill would ban genetically engineered grass seed designed to resist pesticides and herbicides, a product that isn’t yet on the market but is believed to be in development. Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams, Jr., D-Brooklyn, pushed for the ban in his chamber, which passed it Wednesday night.

But House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, a fellow Democrat, was skeptical about the concept. And House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, blasted both the substance of the proposal and its origins. The proposed ban never went through a public hearing because Williams added it as an amendment to another bill.

Typically, bills don’t come up for debate on the House or Senate floor unless their passage is assured. The grass seed bill came up under different circumstances this afternoon: Its defeat was essentially certain.

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