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Hawai'i CFS

Senator Leno is the Bee's Knees!

By: Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director, Center for Food Safety

September 09, 2016
Center for Food Safety

Californians are grateful for a representative who fights for what’s right.

These days it seems more often than not we are frustrated by the lack of attention our elected officials pay to what the public truly wants and needs. Our representatives in Congress and in our state legislatures are supposed to be just that – representatives who champion the rights and fight for the wellbeing of the citizens in their respective districts. Fortunately for Californians, Senator Mark Leno (D-District 11) has continuously gone to bat on behalf of his constituents and has driven real change on issues that matter.

Over the past year alone, Senator Leno has fought for California’s people and their health, small-scale farmers, and the wildlife and natural resources that make the state such a beautiful, unique place to live. Senator Leno co-authored a bill known as the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282) that would help protect bees from the toxic pesticides (neonicotinoids) that are a major culprit in their dramatic decline. Though SB 1282 was blocked by Big Ag interests, Senator Leno moved the dial in a major way for pollinators and beekeepers. Among other things, as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee he pushed for funding for a groundbreaking study on backyard use of neonic pesticides, expedited California’s review of and action on bee-killing neonic pesticides, and provided on-the-ground support for beekeepers threatened by nearby pesticide use.

And while Senator Leno is clearly the “bee’s knees” when it comes to protecting pollinators and taking a stand against toxic pesticide use, he also stood up for the health of people and animals raised for food, and for the sustainability of food sovereignty. Senator Leno championed the reversal of an undemocratic law that would limit local control of GMO seeds and crops – putting the growing power back in the hands of local and small-scale producers and residents.

The senator took action to crack down on the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production, a growing public health concern. In addition to promoting unethical and unsanitary conditions for raising food animals, international health agencies agree that the over-use of antibiotics in agriculture has major implications for the spread of antibiotic-resistant diseases and “super bugs” that pose risks to human health. Senator Leno ensured California allocated more than $1.3 million to implement first-in-the-nation restrictions to curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production.

While we regret that his time in the legislature is drawing to a close, since Senator Leno is term-limited, we are so grateful to have had him on our side. 

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