Arsenic ban bill squeaks out of Senate panel

March 29, 2012|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported the vote as 6-5.

The bill that would ban the use of products containing arsenic from chicken feed barely made it out of a Senate committee today after the panel adopted amendments strengthening a House version that proponents considered far too weak to matter.

The legislation emerged from the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on  a 7-4 vote. However, while committee chairwoman, Sen. Joan Carter Conway, was recorded as a yes vote, she spoke in committee against the bill. Only after it was clear the bill would prevail did she join the majority.

Conway, a Baltimore Democrat, argued that since the product the legislation would ban has already been withdrawn from the market, it was pointless to pass a bill. Proponents want to ensure that the main product in question, called roxarsone, doesn't return to the market.

Sen. Paul Pinsky, the bill's leading proponent in the Senate, said he hoped the House would accept the Senate amendments. 

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