State government abuzz after Honeyford mosquito bills become law

MosquitoThe governor has signed two bills sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, dealing with mosquito-population control. Senate Bill 5002 will update state law to allow local mosquito districts more flexibility in their operations, while Senate Bill 5324 will encourage municipalities to use state Department of Ecology design guidelines when constructing stormwater-retention ponds in an effort to reduce the mosquito population.

“West Nile virus is – and will continue to be – a serious public health risk,” Honeyford added. “In the past ten years, the number of reported cases of West Nile virus has increased steadily, so I’m thankful the Legislature and the governor saw fit to support these bills; hopefully they’ll go a long way toward keeping the public safe.”

SB 5002 will allow mosquito-control districts to enter adjacent lands in order to conduct inspections and abate breeding places. It would also authorize districts to cut or remove shrubbery or undergrowth as necessary to carry out abatement operations, subject to consultation with the landowner.

SB 5324 will also require DOE to consult with the state Department of Health about strategies to prevent West Nile virus, and any retention pond found to contain West Nile virus will be the responsibility of the area’s mosquito-control district.

Both of Honeyford’s measures will take effect July 27.