By Mason Daugherty – 12th Grade – McKinney YMCA
Calm Before the Storm
Eli Scott, 12th Grade, McKinney YMCA delivers his opening statements in the Senate Chamber on the conferences first bill, FS055, entitled, “An act providing tax incentives to producers of genetically modified produce and declaring an emergency.”
Lining the chamber walls, Emma LeBlanc, 12th Grade, McKinney YMCA sits alongside other lobbyists as they each take stances either in favor or opposition of the bill. She mentions that “…there was a much larger [Governor’s] Cabinet presence than usual, which led us to believe she [Governor Tadiwa Mujokoto] wanted it dead.”
Waking the Beast
During the question and answer period, numerous delegates inquired about ecological implications the bill has. Sidarth Joshi says that “…the increased use of genetically modified seeds will inevitably lead to a decrease in biodiversity. How does this bill intend to safeguard nature for future generations?” For which Scott had no answer prepared.
Senate member Daniel Bain, Fort Bend Houston YMCA strongly supports the bill, saying “…the crop yield of organic food is way lower than GMO-derived foods, and additionally, studies conducted by the NOAA have concluded that organic foods have a larger carbon footprint… ”
Hallway Fact Checks
Nestled in a corner outside the Senate chamber, Governor’s Cabinet member Nathaniel Lambert, 12th Grade, McKinney YMCA works diligently to build arguments for and against bills which support governor Tadiwa Mujokoto’s agenda.
Daniel Bain, Fort Bend Houston YMCA lobbies neighboring delegates to support the bill, responding to concerns brought up by opponent speakers over inconclusive studies. Bain tells me “taking environmental science courses at my school made this bill a match in heaven for me.”
In response to an amendment proposed to decrease the bills penalties, Heath Johnston from Dallas YMCA asks about the proper way to handle infractions and how the proposed legislation will deal with existing agricultural boards throughout the State of Texas.
Opposite Sides Clash
Each with Senate members, Armaan Sood, 12th Grade, McKinney YMCA and a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and Lobbyist Alex Gonzalez, 12th Grade, McKinney YMCA fight in a match of political “tug-of-war,” with Sood arguing against the bill because of unproven science and Gonzalez lashing back with positive implications the bill’s provisions could have on food insecurity in the State of Texas.
Lobbyist Ben Liang, Vic Coppinger YMCA attempts to sway a senate member in opposition of the bill, responds to their concerns over the detriment the bill could have on small businesses by exacerbating monopolization.
Oluwaseun Kuti exchanges an upbeat glance with her partner. FS055 ultimately passed in both the Senate and House, and now awaits review from governor Mujokoto.