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Alaska Senate Passes Pesticide Right-to-Know Bill
(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2005)
The Alaskan House Bill 19, a public notice bill requiring warning signs when pesticides are sprayed in outdoor and indoor public places statewide passed in the state Senate earlier this month. The bill, which was introduced by Kevin Meyer (R - Anchorage) last February, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop regulations and guidelines for proper notification to be placed 48 hours in advance of application in public parks, sports fields, plazas, government facilities and apartment dwellings. HB 19 passed the House in March (see Daily News) and the Senate on May 3. Both legislative bodies showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill. HB 19 will now move to the Governor for his signature, and is expected to go into effect January 2006.

In addition to requiring pesticide notification, the bill will also allow the DEC to charge pesticide manufacturers a fee to register their products and to require chargeable licensing for pesticide applicators that work in public places. Alaska is currently the only state that does not charge companies to register their chemicals.

"Protecting the public health of Alaskans costs money. Asking the chemical companies that profit from the sale of their product to pay for the cost the state incurs is reasonable," Representative Meyer said in a statement on his website. "In addition, Alaskans have a right to know if they are exposing themselves, their children, or their pets to a chemical that could spawn an asthma attack or allergic reaction."

Supporters of the bill, such as the Alaska Conservation Voters, view it as "a breath of fresh air for those of us who try to limit our exposure to toxins in places we live, work and play."

TAKE ACTION: If you are an Alaskan resident, find out how your representatives voted, and call them up to thank them if they voted in favor of HB 19. If you are not a resident, find out what your state is doing to protect public health by visiting our State pages, and then encourage your state or local legislators to act to protect your community from the harmful effects of pesticides. Use Beyond Pesticides' tools for activists to help plan your campaign.