OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5155

AN ACT MODIFYING THE BAN ON PESTICIDE APPLICATIONS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS.

SUMMARY:

Current law bans the application of lawn care pesticides on any private or public preschool or school grounds with students in eighth grade or lower, except in an emergency. This bill, under certain conditions, authorizes the application of lawn care pesticides in accordance with an integrated pest management (IPM) plan, irrespective of school grade level. An IPM plan is a systematic method to control pests using non-chemical pest management methods and the judicious use of pesticides when pest populations exceed acceptable levels (CGS 10-231a).

The bill maintains the (1) prohibition on pesticide applications not applied according to an IPM plan and (2) exception in the case of emergency applications due to a threat to human health.

The bill authorizes the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to adopt regulations and establishes a fine of between $ 500 and $ 2,000 for each violation of any of the law's provisions or regulations for pesticide application at a school, including supervisory certification, oversight requirements, and the ban on restricted use pesticides. Under existing law, it is a criminal penalty to knowingly violate these provisions and violators are subject to a fine, prison time, or both. Otherwise, violators are subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 2,500.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

PESTICIDE ON SCHOOL GROUNDS ACCORDING TO AN IPM PLAN

Current law bars anyone from applying a lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public and private preschools and schools through eighth grade. But between January 1, 2006 and through July 1, 2010, the law allowed pesticides to be applied on school playing fields and playgrounds if it was done according to an IPM plan. The bill restores the IPM exception without a sunset date.

The bill allows pesticide applications done according to an IPM plan on playing fields and grounds of schools, regardless of school grade level, when the plan is developed by a local or regional school board for public schools it controls and consistent with DEEP's model pest control management plan.

Despite the pesticide use ban, existing law allows emergency applications of lawn care pesticides on public and private school grounds to eliminate a threat to human health, as determined by the local health director, public health or environmental protection commissioner, or, in the case of a public school, a school superintendent.

NEW PENALTIES AND THOSE UNDER EXISTING LAW

The bill authorizes a fine of $ 500 to $ 2,000 for each violation of regulations the commissioner adopts regarding pesticide applications at schools. It also authorizes this fine for violations of the statutes on pesticide applications at schools. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, imposes criminal penalties for knowing violations of these statutes as follows:

1. any registrant; commercial applicator; uncertified person who performs, advertises, or solicits to perform commercial application; wholesaler; dealer; retailer; or other distributor who knowingly violates the law may be fined up to $ 5,000, imprisoned up to one year, or both;

2. a private applicator or other person, not included in the above categories, who knowingly violates the law, may be fined up to $ 1,000, imprisoned up to 30 days, or both.

Existing law also, authorizes a civil penalty of up to $ 2,500 per day on anyone who violates the law (CGS 22a-63). It is unclear if the new penalties conflict with existing penalties.

Under the Pesticide Control Act, which covers pesticide applications, the action, omission, or failure to act of any officer, agent, or other person acting or working for any person is deemed to be the action, omission, or failure of the employer as well as the employee.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

12

Nay

3

(02/24/2012)