Outman legislation increases transparency regarding emergency insect management

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Tuesday introduced legislation that would create a notification system making residents aware when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development conducts emergency pesticide applications due to a public health emergency.

Senate Bill 136 would create a registry and notify people via a method of their choice when MDARD plans to conduct an emergency pesticide application — for example, when the department sprays for mosquitos to limit the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis.

The legislation is based on the language from the MDARD registry of people who need to be alerted about pesticide applications because of medical conditions.

“The concern was brought to me by beekeepers in my district who were unhappy with the current notification system,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “Previously, they had relied on announcements in the newspaper or on the news that didn’t always give them an adequate time frame to set up measures to protect their hives.”

Outman’s bill would allow people to sign up annually to be alerted in the manner of their choosing, such as email or text message, 48 hours before the emergency application occurs. It would alert people whose property or neighbor’s property would be subject to this application.

“The idea is to get folks an official alert that tells them if they are in an area that will be treated and roughly when the application will occur,” Outman said.

SB 136 was referred to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality for further consideration.

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