The purpose of her visit to Lansing was to encourage members of the MI House Committee on Agriculture to send HB 4758, which seeks to "prohibit the classification of Milkweed as a noxious or exotic weed by local governments."
State Representative Samantha Steckloff (District 19), one of the Bill's legislative sponsors, began the testimonies before the Committee. She formally introduced the Bill, offered background and recommended HB 4758 be approved by the House Committee on Agriculture for a vote on the House floor. She emphasized that this Bill is a "crucial step toward protecting our fragile ecosystem. Milkweeds, which have been long classified as a noxious weed in various regions, are a vital component of our natural environment."
Marilyn Trent offered her testimony next, and made a strong case for the ecological importance and necessity of native plants for ecological restoration. She shared solid facts about why milkweed, in particular, is essential for the survival of the threatened Monarch butterfly, reminding those present:
". . . the adult butterfly can feed on the nectar of many plants . . . but their offspring, the Monarch caterpillar, cannot eat every plant. They can only eat the leaves of pesticide-free milkweed plants to live."
She asserted, "In the work that I've done with hundreds of homeowners, I've found they are excited that they can contribute to biodiversity. Still, when milkweed is listed as a 'noxious weed' they run afoul of local weed ordinances. House Bill 4857 will be a positive step toward remedying and supporting our homeowners in making a difference."
Nichole Bieber, a Citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa and Representative of the Anishnaabek Caucus, addressed the Committee, offering an Indigenous cultural perspective and inviting us to consider the importance of allowing native milkweeds to grow as a needed shift in vision as we participate in "a story of increase and resurgence rather than the loss of biodiversity of species . . . Here is our chance to begin turning a necessary corner."
We are very happy to report that after these three testimonies were heard, HB 4758 was unanimously approved by the Committee, and has been sent to the MI House of Representatives to be voted on soon. It will likely come to the floor in the MI House some time in the next couple of weeks, perhaps by the end of October.
Please consider calling your State Representative to encourage them to vote for this Bill. If you live in the Greater Rochester Area, your Representative is:
Mark Tisdel, District 55
(link will take you to his Contact page)
If you would like to view the video of these testimonies, click the link below:
Testimonies in Favor of HB 4758, 10/4/23
Marilyn can be seen from time 16:28 to 27:11
Together, we can help to
Save the Pollinators
One Native Plant at a Time!
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