GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at helping monarch butterflies by protecting milkweed — the host plant the species needs to survive.

House Bill 4896 would prohibit milkweed from being classified as a noxious or exotic weed by local governments.

State Rep. Rachel Hood of Grand Rapid is sponsoring the bill.

“That would take milkweed off the list of noxious weeds and hopefully encourage more people to keep milkweed available for pollinators like monarchs,” Hood said.

Another piece of legislation introduced also looks to protect monarch butterflies by cutting back on the use of neonicotinoids, an insecticide that can be harmful to butterflies and other pollinators.

House Bill 4895 would to ban neonicotinoid pesticides on public land.

“These are bipartisan bills, they are a threat to no one,” Hood said. “They’re only a good effort to make sure our ecosystems are healthy and strong.”

Milkweed plants outside homes in Grand Rapids. (June 22, 2021)

While milkweed can often be found on roadsides or in fields. Some people have begun planting milkweed patches in their garden to support pollinators like the monarch butterfly.

Grand Rapids resident Scott Weiler has rows of milkweed growing in his home garden.

“This is the kind of thing that anybody can do,” Weiler said. “Anybody can support milkweed and support the butterflies either by supporting legislation or by planting milkweed or allowing it to grow when it comes up.”