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May Advocacy Update

NOFA Advocacy Update

Neonicotinoid Bill Makes It Through Appropriations to the Floor of the State Senate

From Dr. Kimberly Stoner, CT NOFA Director of Advocacy

At one of the public hearings in the Environment Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly, Sen. Rick Lopes, co-chair of the committee, said, “People think that the General Assembly passes bills. Mostly what we do is kill bills. Thousands of bills are proposed in the long session, but we pass only a few, and we kill all the rest.”

Victor Demasi, dressed as a dying bee to get the attention of legislators outside the Appropriations Committee

Even when a bill makes it through the Environment Committee, it can still be killed before making it to the floor of the House or Senate if it doesn’t make it through the Appropriations Committee. That’s why I went with our allies in the Coalition for Pesticide Reform in late April to stand outside the House chamber where the Appropriations Committee was meeting so that we could ask that they pass SB 963, a bill to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in most outdoor non-agricultural uses (like lawns and golf courses).

Neonicotinoid insecticides are very highly toxic to insects, persistent in soil (lasting over a year in some circumstances), able to travel in plants up into nectar and pollen, and soluble in water, so they can leach into groundwater, pools, and streams. In short, they end up in lots of places where we don’t want them, where they kill beneficial insects and, according to recent research, harm other wildlife, too.

SB 963 is not a bill that costs a lot of money. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) took the opportunity to ask for a new person for the Pesticide Management Division at a cost of less than $100,000 per year (salary, fringe benefits, etc.). But if a bill costs any money, the Appropriations Committee has to vote for it — and it did!

Now the action moves to the floor of the State Senate, where there are currently negotiations happening that are intended to weaken this bill. Now is the time to take action to keep this bill as it was written when it passed the Appropriations Committee.

Action Item #1

Contact Senator Rick Lopes, the Senate co-chair of the Environment Committee to ask him to keep the bill as it was passed by the Environment and Appropriations Committees. Call the number for the Senate Democrats (800-842-1420) and ask for him or his aide.

Action Item #2

Ask your state senator to pass SB 963, An Act Concerning Neonicotinoids for Non-Agricultural Use. Need to find your state legislators? Find them here: https://cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

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