Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5310

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S SEED LAW.

Vote Date:

3/7/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Change of Reference to Judiciary

PH Date:

2/28/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Department of Agriculture

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill updates a 50-year-old law governing seeds. The changes would allow the Department of Agriculture (DoAG) to better administer the law due to changes in “terminology, technology and science” (ex., seeds used to be sold by weight, now technology allows them to be sold by specific seed count). Language is based on the Recommended Uniform State Seed Law (RUSSL) model language, which was last updated by the Association of American Seed Control Officials in 2011.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

The state Department of Agriculture strongly supports this legislation. The bill also makes numerous technical changes.

● The law would now include flowers, allowing DoAg to address consumer complaints.

● DoAg would be able to use scientifically proven techniques in germination testing.

● It would eliminate net weight requirements, giving consumers more accurate seed count information.

● It could help to increase native restoration efforts. Current germination testing shows low germination rates for native grasses, when often they simply take longer to take hold. DoAg feels this discourages sales.

● Consumers would benefit from tree and tree-seed labels that include species-specific information such as elevation and best soil type.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

The Farm Bureau supports this bill as it would update Connecticut statutes to conform with the Uniform Seed law, making Connecticut consistent with other states and current industry “needs and practices.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Roberta Silbert, MPH

Roberta Silbert said this bill does not address genetically modified seeds, which she feels should be banned for sale in the state. She also questioned whether DoAg should have oversight, and has adequate information about the health and environmental effects of seeds that encourage the spraying of products such as Roundup.

Reported by: John Fitts

Date: 03/13/2014