SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The pest control industry scored a victory in California on Thursday with news that AB 1788, which would have banned second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), was pulled from the Senate Appropriations Committee. This action effectively killed the bill for this year; it has been placed into the suspense file to be taken up in 2020.
As reported in August PCT, AB 1788 (the California Ecosystems Protection Act), had advanced through committee and only needed to be passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the full Senate and the Assembly before Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law.
AB 1788 had a lot of momentum due to concerns about the poisoning of non-target wildlife. AB 1788 states that despite a consumer sales and use ban of SGARs in 2014 by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), studies have found that the number of non-target wildlife with detectable levels of SGARs in their systems has not declined.
As such, the bill proposed to ban any pesticide containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum or difethialone. In addition, it proposed to ban the use of first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides containing chlorophacinone, diphacinone and warfarin on state-owned property in California.
The pest control industry has been steadfast in its opposition to AB 1788, arguing that SGARs are critical to the management of rodent populations and the protection of public health in California because of diseases that rodents can carry.
Led by members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) – the pest control industry has been working diligently to preserve this important rodent management tool. As NPMA reported in its “Policy Week in Review” e-blast, California pest management professionals sent 7,285 grassroots messages to California lawmakers and 2,001 grassroots messages to Newsom in opposition to the bill.
The association wrote, “NPMA SPARs (State Policy Affairs Representatives) Jim Steed, Darren Van Steenwyck, and Mike Bullert, PCOC Executive Director Chris Reardon, and countless other members that never took their foot off the gas. Members of our industry walked many miles in the halls of Sacramento, attended hundreds if not thousands of meetings, and brought their A-game to every single committee hearing. By preventing this bill from becoming law in 2019, we better protected the health of nearly 40 million Californians and our country’s food supply.”
NPMA added that “after meeting with CAL EPA and DPR, and seeing he had no path forward, AB 1788’s author Rep. Bloom (D) decided to place the bill in the suspense file.”
NPMA cautioned that the pest control industry will need to remain vigilant in its fight to protect SGARs in California and elsewhere, as activist groups are angry at this decision and will “put up another fight” in 2020.