Seeds of Dissent

Is the debate over genetically modified crops being nipped in the bud at the state capitol?

Both Ness and Biers say the question of whether Kelliher's and Kahn's bills will be heard has more to do with procedure than partisanship. Because 2000 is a "short session" focusing on state bonding, they argue, there's no time for such a complex debate. "This is too big an issue to make a rash decision," Biers says.

According to Biers, if the proposed measures do not come up for a committee hearing by the end of this week, they will be dead until next session. At that point, he suggests, advocates on both sides may want to turn their attention to Washington, D.C., where mandatory-labeling bills are pending in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. "Minnesota should not create an island unto itself," he maintains. "This is something that should be dealt with by Congress and the president. We just think that the state Legislature is not the appropriate platform for this."

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