ST. PAUL, Minn. – Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) endorsed a resolution today in support of the Duluth Public Seed Lending Library soon to be considered by the Duluth City Council.
Sen. Reinert has been a strong supporter of the Seed Library, and first became aware of the Seed Library’s perceived violation of state law roughly one month ago. He has been actively engaged in both administrative and potential legislative solutions since then.
“My office has had several fruitful conversations with the Department of Agriculture and the Duluth Public Library to see how we can work together and bring the seed library into compliance with current Minnesota Seed Law. The Department has praised the library’s setup and we are all working toward a shared goal of keeping the library and its mission of sustainability going,” said Sen. Reinert.
Ahead of the Council’s meeting on Monday, Dec. 15, Reinert says he appreciates Councilor’s efforts to support the library and potential legislative changes, and encourages the Council to approve the resolution. In discussions with the Duluth Public Library’s manager Carla Powers, Reinert said it’s clear many Duluthians stand firmly in support of the seed library. Having that support expressed via the City Council will make it easier to pass a legislative remedy should one be needed.
“I am a strong supporter of the seed library in both concept and function. As I understand it, there are several areas the library can easily fix to come into compliance with the law, and most of those areas deal with properly labeling the seed packets for distribution. The one sticking point we still need to figure out is the required germination testing issue. Considering the small sample size in the seed library, and the nature of the lending concept, I’m not convinced this is a necessary element of the law in the Duluth Seed Library’s situation,” said Reinert.
Sen. Reinert said that often passing laws is an “option of last resort.” “It’s just plain difficult in a body of 201 individuals,” he said. “No matter how easy or simple you think the bill is, it can get sidetracked or off-tracked in hundreds of ways. Generally, the best place to start is with the Administration. It’s often far easier to achieve an administrative solution than a legislative one. And in this case, interpretation of the law is clearly part of the issue.”
However, if legislation ends up being required to fix the problem, Reinert says he is prepared to submit and support a bill in the Senate. Reinert has already spoken with the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and has been told that if a “fix-it” bill is necessary, it will be heard. He adds that support from the community and the City Council has been helpful, knowing we all want a fully-functioning seed library that is compliant with the law.