Tag Archives: Department of Health

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.” Continue reading

Honeyford-sponsored public health, land and water bills pass Senate

Senate Floor DebateOver the past several days in the Washington State Senate, Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, saw three of his bills approved and sent to the House of Representatives.

The first to pass on Friday was Senate Bill 5324, which would encourage municipalities to use state Department of Ecology design guidelines when constructing stormwater retention ponds in an effort to reduce the mosquito population. In addition, DOE would need 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 would be the responsibility of the area’s mosquito-control district. Continue reading

An ‘attack on Washington agriculture’

The Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee held a hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 6397, a measure that would harm Washington’s agricultural community by restricting the use of pesticides. I am opposed to the legislation since our district has large agricultural regions.

I am greatly concerned about what this bill will do to Washington citizens and their businesses, from the rural farmer to homeowners taking care of their yards. Washington already has rules and agencies to regulate pesticides and to protect our workers. This legislation is an attack on Washington agriculture at a time farmers are asking for help.

The bill would:

  • Prohibit applying pesticide that may drift within a half a mile of a child care facility, residence school or “any person outdoors or within the distance necessary to avoid pesticide drift, given the conditions;”
  • Require written notice to individuals and employers within the buffer zone that the applicator, “can reasonably determine will likely be outdoors within the buffer zone at any time during the application of the pesticide.”
  • If notice is given to employers, this bill requires them to provide copies to each employee in the appropriate language. Employers must also make sure employees remain outside the buffer zone or work in fully enclosed indoor work spaces while the pesticide is applied.

Department of Labor and Industries and the Department of Health would be given authority to investigate and enforce alleged violations and assess penalties of $10,000 for each violation.

This measure would place arbitrary and onerous burdens on industry and non-industry employers and individuals with no history of non-compliance. It would also cost taxpayers millions. Some of my colleagues have even questioned whether the sponsors of this legislation know what it takes to spray pesticides and the effect this bill will have on the farming community and exports in the state.