2015 CT Legislative Summary


Prepared by Michael Dugan- Capitol Consulting LLC.

2015 Legislative Summary 

 

The General Assembly adjourned the 2015 legislative session on June 3rd at midnight. With the conclusion of Veto Session last week the 2015 session has been brought to a close. The legislature dealt with thousands of bills and amendments during the 5-month session and as a result legislators were unable to conclude their business by the Constitutional deadline. The General Assembly called a Special Session, which was held on June 29th. In Special Session the General Assembly enacted legislation that implements the state budget, bonding projects, conveyance of state lands, school building projects, the Governor’s second chances legislation and a proposal dealing with excessive use of force by law enforcement. In all the General Assembly considered and approved nearly a 1,000 pages of legislation in the one day session.

 

The 2015 session was once again an active session on lawn care pesticide legislation, with 10 bills introduced during the regular session. Since 2009 CTEC and our coalition partners have been successful in defeating legislation that sought to expand the lawn care pesticide ban beyond the current kindergarten to eighth grade ban on public and private school grounds. As you will note below there were numerous proposals that sought to expand the current ban to public and private high schools, municipal parks and athletic fields and state properties. During the regular session CTEC and our coalition partners were successful in defeating all of these proposals as we have done in the previous six legislative sessions.

 

However, in the June 29th Special Session our legislative opponents inserted language from one of the bills we killed during the regular session in the nearly 700-page budget implementation proposal. Knowing that this was a possibility we worked with our legislative allies to mitigate and narrow this language. As approved this legislation expand the lawn care pesticide ban to only municipal playgrounds. For a complete summary of the proposal refer to the SB 1502 below.

 

During the 2015 regular and special session Capitol Consulting tracked 56 bills for the Connecticut Environmental Council (CTEC). Find below a summary of the major bills of interest.


 

Pesticide Legislation

 

SB 1502 An Act Implementing Provisions of the State  Budget  for  the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, Concerning General Government, Education, Health and Human Services and Bonds of the State

This is the 700-page budget implementation bill that was considered and approved during a June 29th Special Session following the adjournment of the regular session on June 3rd. This bill includes language from SB 366 (see below) from the regular session. Despite our effort to kill SB 366 during the regular session legislative proponents were able to add the language to SB 1502. SB 1502 changes the notice requirement when pesticides are used on school grounds, exempts some products from the pesticide ban on school grounds Kto8, restricts the use of pesticide on municipal playgrounds and requires the adoption of regulation governing the use of lawn care pesticides by state agencies and other state departments.

 

·         Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds

Under current law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information of pesticide applications directly to the parents and guardians who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.

 

For schools without IPM plans, the bill requires this notice to be sent electronically, rather than by regular mail as current law requires. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires schools with IPM plans to send the information by any means practicable.

 

The bill also adds the target pest to the information schools with IPM plans must provide when notifying parents about pesticide applications, making it consistent with the information schools without IPM plans must provide. The law already requires both school types to provide the pesticide's active ingredient, date and location of application, and person who may be contacted for more information.

 

The bill requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications.

 

This bill requires the use of internet and social media, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24-hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the direct notice describe above on or through the:

  1. homepage of the website of the school where the application will occur or, if there is no website, the homepage of the board's website, and
    1. school’s or board's primary social media account.
      1. horticultural soaps or oils registered with EPA and without any synthetic pesticide or synergist (enhancer of pesticide properties); and
        1. the executive head of the municipal department responsible for the playground's maintenance or their designee finds the application is necessary,

For schools without IPM plans, the online and social media notice requirements must be made at the same time as the electronic notification to registered parents and guardians when there are emergency applications to address human health threats.

 

This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.

 

·         School Ground Lawn Care Pesticide Application

Current law prohibits the use of “lawn care pesticide” on the grounds of preschools and schools with students in grade eight or lower, absent a human health emergency. Under this law a “lawn care pesticide” is a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled according to federal law for use in lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites or areas.

 

The bill exempts the following products from this definition, thus allowing their application on the grounds of these schools:

1.  EPA-registered microbial or biochemical pesticides;

3.  certain pesticides classified by EPA as exempt material, such aspheromones, biological specimen preservatives, and minimum-risk pesticides.

The bill defines a “microbial pesticide” as a pesticide that has a microorganism as the active ingredient, and a “biochemical pesticide” is a naturally occurring substance that controls pests by nontoxic means.

 

This section of the bill is effective upon passage.

 

·         Pesticide Use at Municipal Playgrounds

The bill restricts pesticide and lawn care pesticide use on municipal playgrounds. The restrictions apply to outdoor areas designated, dedicated, and customarily used for playing by children. This includes areas with a swing set, slide, climbing structure, play set, or device or object that children play on. The bill specifies that it does not cover fields or open space used primarily for sporting activities and playgrounds on school premises.

 

Under the bill, only a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)- certified pesticide applicators may apply pesticide on municipal playgrounds, except in an emergency. Anyone may apply pesticide in an emergency to eliminate an immediate human health threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects, if:

2.  they decides it is impractical to obtain a certified applicator, and

3.  the application does not involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.


For purposes of applying pesticide on municipal playgrounds, a “pesticide” is a fungicide used on plants, an insecticide, an herbicide, or a rodenticide, but not a sanitizer, disinfectant, antimicrobial agent, or pesticide bait.

 

The bill bans applying lawn care pesticide on municipal playgrounds, absent a human health emergency. For an emergency lawn care pesticide application to occur under the bill, there must be an immediate threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects. The municipal authority must determine the application is necessary, and the application cannot involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.

 

The bill applies the same definition of “lawn care pesticide,” and the same exceptions provided above, as for applications on school grounds Kto8.

 

The bill requires public notice of pesticide or lawn care pesticide applications on municipal playgrounds. For a pesticide application, advance public notice must be given, if the situation allows, at least 24-hours before the application. But if the municipal authority determines an emergency application of pesticide or lawn care pesticide is needed, notice must be given as soon as practicable.

 

The bill requires the notice to be made by the municipal authority within existing budgetary resources. The notice must be posted on the municipality's website and include the pesticide's active ingredient, target pest, and date or proposed date and location of the application.

 

Under the bill, the municipal authority must keep a copy of each notice for five years from the pesticide application date. All copies must be available to the public.

 

This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.

 

·         Regulations on Pesticide Application Records

Under current law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. In addition, current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under the bill, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans.

 

The bill also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the reason for pesticide use, location of pesticide application, application frequency at each location, EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and application cost.

 

This section of the bill is effective upon passage.

 

Public Act: 15-5


Effective Date: Various

Signed by Governor:  June 30, 2015

 

SB 366           An  Act  Concerning  Notice  of  Pesticides  Applications  at   Public Schools and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials

As original introduced by the Environment Committee co-chairs, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), this legislation sought to ban the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private schools Kto12 as well as other state and municipal properties. During the regular session Capitol Consulting, CTEC and our coalition partners worked to defeat SB 366.

 

At a March 11th public hearing before the Environment Committee CTEC president, Mike Wallace, testified against this legislation as well as SB 1063 stating, “this legislation does not allow for the control of pests by the professional application of prescriptive, least toxic and most effective EPA registered pest controls. This legislation has the potential to extend the damage to even more municipal spaces, further letting our playing fields to deteriorate.”

 

Late in the legislative session HB 6035 and SB 1063 were merged into this proposal. In anticipation of Sen. Kennedy gaining enough support to pass this legislation Capitol Consulting worked closely with our legislative allies to narrow the scope of this legislation before the Senate acted on this proposal. In order to gain bipartisan support for the legislation Sen. Kennedy agreed to narrow the legislation to only apply the pesticide ban to municipal playgrounds. We were able to ensure in the legislation that municipal playgrounds would not encompass athletic fields or playgrounds on school property. Also, we inserted language to ensure that certified pesticide applicator was the only person able to apply lawn care pesticides on municipal playgrounds. However, any person may apply pesticide if the municipal determines there is need for an emergency application to control pest population.

 

Even though we were able to mitigate and significantly narrow the scope of this legislation CTEC and our coalition maintained our opposition to this legislation. Sen. Kennedy was able to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and in the closing days of the session the Senate on 34 to 2 vote approved the bill. However, working with our legislative allies in the House we were able to kill this bill in the House by having our allies file numerous amendments on this proposal. Without enough time to debate this bill in the House before the June 3rd adjournment this bill failed to be acted upon by the House.

 

Despite our successful strategy to kill this bill during the regular session, the Senate Democrat leaders on behalf of Sen. Kennedy were able to have the language in this bill merged into one of the budget implementation bill in the June 29th Special Session. See SB 1502 for a complete summary of the pesticide legislation.

 

HB 6035        An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Facilities and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials


This bill was introduced as a committee bill in the Environment Committee. The bill sought to impose certain restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to state agency property, but not the University of Connecticut Research Farm. The bill sought to establish electronic public notice requirements for these applications. Existing law requires state departments, agencies, or institutions to use IPM at their facilities if the DEEP has a model pest control management plan in place for them.

 

In addition, the bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.

 

This bill was merged into SB 366 during the regular session and was later merged into SB 1502 during the June 29th Special Session.  See these bills for more details.

 

HB 5288        An Act Extending the Pesticide Ban to High School Athletic  Fields and Public Parks

Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation, which sought to expand the current Kto8 ban on lawn care pesticides to all public and private high schools.  This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.

 

HB 5728        An  Act  Concerning  Pesticides  on  Municipal  State  and    Private Fields

Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) introduced this legislation which sought to expand the ban on the use of lawn care pesticides on all school grounds including all municipal, state and private fields used by students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade.  This bill failed in the Environment Committee.

 

HB 6897        An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Operated Parks, Athletic Fields and Playgrounds

This bill seeks to ban the nonemergency application of certain pesticides in state- operated parks, athletic fields and playgrounds. For a limited time, it allows certified pesticide applicators to apply lawn care pesticide at the athletic fields to transition to nontoxic care, as long as they follow an IPM plan. The bill also requires the controlling authority responsible for maintaining the park, field or playground to provide notice, within existing budgetary resources, at least 24-hours before any pesticide or lawn- care pesticide application. The bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any public or private preschool or school with students in grade eight or lower.

 

This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed when the House failed to take action on this proposal before adjournment.


SB 1063         An  Act  Concerning  the  Application  of  Pesticides  on   Municipal Playgrounds and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials

As originally introduced by the Environment Committee this bill sought to impose restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal athletic fields, greens, parks, and playgrounds, but not playgrounds on school premises. The bill would have established electronic public notice requirements for these applications.

 

In addition, the bill would have exempted certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. SB 1063 also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, and pesticide baits must be in tamper- resistant containers. Lastly, the bill makes a technical change, removing a reference to the day care center statutes.

 

This bill sought to establish restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal playgrounds. It generally requires certified pesticide applicators to apply pesticide and bans lawn care pesticide applications. But it allows emergency applications to eliminate immediate threats to human health. The bill also creates electronic public notice requirements for these applications.

 

Additionally, the bill exempts certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.

 

This bill was introduced and approved by the Environment Committee and was referred to the Planning & Development Committee. Capitol Consulting and our coalition partners worked to defeat this bill in the Planning & Development Committee. Because of efforts to defeat this bill, the Planning & Development Committee voted to narrow the scope of the legislation to only ban the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.

 

This bill was later merged into SB 366 and SB 1502. See those bills for a complete summary on pesticide legislation.

 

HB 5290        An Act Prohibiting the Use of Glyphosates in Watershed Areas Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation to ban the use of glyphosates near watershed areas. This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.

 

HB 5024         An Act Reestablishing the Pesticide Advisory Council


Our legislative allies, Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam) and Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-Hebron), introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This bill sought to re-establish a Pesticide Advisory Council that would evaluate pesticides and make recommendation for use by schools, municipalities and state agencies. The Environment Committee did not act on this legislation.

 

HB 5025        An Act Authorizing the Emergency Application of Pesticides on Certain School Grounds for Purpose of Controlling Grubs

Rep. Ziobron and Rep. Mulligan introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to authorize the emergency application of pesticides on athletic fields located at schools that house kindergarten through eighth grade in order to provide for grub control. The Environment Committee did not act upon this legislation.

 

Legislation of Interest that Passed

 

SB 158           An Act Concerning Landscape Architect Licenses

This act prohibits individuals without a degree from a college or school of landscape architecture from taking the examination required for licensure as a landscape architect in Connecticut and reduces, for certain applicants, the amount of practical experience needed to qualify to take the examination.

 

Under current law, there are two ways that a person may become eligible to sit for the examination. The individual must either graduates from an accredited college or school of landscape architecture or have at least two years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect. Current law also allows individuals to sit for the examination if they have eight years' practical experience in landscape architectural work of a grade and character satisfactory to the State Board of Landscape Architects. This new law eliminates this option. Instead, it requires candidates without a degree from an accredited institution to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related discipline or in landscape architecture from a non- accredited college with a curriculum consistent with an accredited program, as determined by the board with the consumer protection commissioner's consent and four years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect.

 

Public Act: 15-104

Effective Date: Upon Passage Signed by Governor:  June 23, 2015

 

SB 867           An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Firewood Transport

This bill reduces the penalty, from a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 to a warning or

$85 or $200 fine, depending on the circumstances, for transporting firewood in violation of a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) quarantine or regulation.


The fine for violating a CAES quarantine or regulation under current law is at least

$500 but capped at $2,500. The bill reduces to $200 the fine for improperly transporting firewood for sale. If the firewood is for personal use, a first-time violator who discloses its point of origin receives a warning and subsequent offenses are subject to an $85 fine. Violators who fail to disclose the origin information are subject to an $85 fine regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The bill allows violators to pay fines without having to appear in court, using the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.

 

Public Act: 15-92

Effective Date: Upon Passage Signed by Governor:  June 23, 2015

 

 

Legislation of Interest that Failed

 

  • Tree Legislation

 

HB 5207        An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the   Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb

Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) introduced this legislation in the Judiciary Committee. This legislation sought to impose liability on an owner of private real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb from a tree located on such property that falls on adjoining private real property. This legislation died but was merged into HB 5602.

 

HB 5602        An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the   Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb

This bill was raised by the Judiciary Committee and is similar to legislation that Governor Malloy vetoed during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed the legislation because nonprofit land trusts would have been adversely affected by the proposal.  This legislation exempts nonprofits from this proposal.

 

In addition, this legislation sought to establish conditions in which a private landowner is liable to pay for removal of a tree or tree limb that falls from his or her property onto an adjoining private owner's land. It also specifically excludes political subdivisions of the state.

 

This bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee but failed when the House and Senate failed to act before adjournment.

 

SB 515           An  Act  Requiring  Notice  to  the  Property  Owner  Before        the Department of Transportation Cuts Trees

Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) introduced this bill in the Transportation Committee. This  sought  to  require  notice  to  property  owners  before  the  Department  of


Transportation (DOT) cuts trees. This bill received a public hearing but failed to be acted upon by the Transportation Committee.

 

SB 833           An Act Concerning Notice to Allow for Public Comment Prior to Tree Cutting by the Department of Transportation

This legislation was also introduced by Sen. Linares and sought to require DOT to give notice to a town before cutting of trees. In addition, the legislation would have given the town an opportunity to hold public hearings. Following a public hearing before the Transportation Committee the bill died with no action taken.

 

HB 5365        An  Act  Concerning  the  Construction  of  Spite  Fences  and      the Planting of Spite Hedges and Trees

Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) introduced this bill in the Judiciary Committee. This bill sought to ensure that a municipality is vested with the authority to prohibit the construction of spite fences and the planting of spite hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor’s water view. This bill died when the Judiciary Committee failed to schedule it for a public hearing.

 

HB 7012        An  Act  Concerning  a  Municipality’s  Authority  to  Regulate    the Construction of Fences and the Planting of Trees and Shrubs

Similar to HB 5365 the Judiciary Committee raised this legislation, which sought to ensure that a municipality has the authority to prohibit the construction of fences or the planting of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that would interfere with a property owner’s ability to enjoy their own property.  This bill died after a public hearing.

 

·         Running Bamboo Legislation

 

HB 5287         An Act Concerning Running Bamboo

Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to grandfather running bamboo that was planted prior to 2012 from the statutory planting restrictions approved during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. In addition, this legislation would have enabled municipalities to have authority to enforce these restrictions. This legislation failed to receive a public hearing in the Environment Committee and died with no action taken.

 

HB6032         An Act Clarifying  Provisions of the General Statutes     Concerning the Use of Barrier Systems for Certain Plantings

HB 6032 was raised by the Environment Committee and sought to make changes to running bamboo law, which was approved during the 2014 session. This bill would have prohibited people from planting or letting anyone plant running bamboo on their property within 40-feet of abutting property or a public right-of-way and eliminates the option of containing running bamboo by a barrier system or aboveground planter.


The Environment Committee approved this bill but the House did not act on this proposal before the June 3rd adjournment.

 

HB 6043 An Act Clarifying  the  Running  Bamboo  Law  and  Providing  for Local Enforcement of Such Law and the Award of Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs for Civil Suits Brought to Enforce Such Planting Restrictions

Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed this legislation. HB 6043 sought to clarify the forty-foot setback provision concerning the planting of running bamboo, provide for the exclusive enforcement of the restrictions by municipal zoning enforcement officers and tree wardens, authorize municipalities to retain all fines associated with the enforcement of such restrictions and authorize the award of attorney's fees, court costs and remediation expenses in any civil suit brought to enforce such restrictions.

 

This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.

 

SB 144           An Act Clarifying  Provisions of the General Statutes    Concerning Running Bamboo

Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to clarify that running bamboo may not be planted within forty feet of a neighboring property regardless of whether it is contained by a properly installed barrier system.

 

This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.

 

SB 145           An  Act  Concerning  Civil  Actions  Brought  to  Enforce  the      Law Concerning Running Bamboo

Sen. Boucher introduced this proposal in the Environment Committee to specifically authorize individuals to bring civil actions to the Superior Court for the enforcement of restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo.

 

The Environment Committee failed to act on this proposal.

 

SB 147           An Act Requiring  Local Zoning Enforcement Officers to     Enforce Restrictions Concerning the Planting of Running Bamboo

This bill was introduced by Sen. Boucher to require local zoning enforcement officers to enforce restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo. Any monies from such fines would be paid to the applicable municipality.

 

This bill died in the Environment Committee with no action was taken.

 

 

·         Tick & Bed Bug Legislation

 

HB5445          An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Tick Borne Illnesses


This bill sought to establish a task force to reduce the number of ticks that cause illness and provide awareness and education to the public concerning tick-borne illnesses that will lead to prevention and better treatment. Reps. Brandon McGee (D- Hartford), David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Peggy Sayers (D-Windsor Locks) introduced this legislation.

 

The Environment Committee did not take action on this proposal.

 

HB 5629         An Act Designating May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month

This bill introduced by the Government Administration & Election (GAE) Committee would have required the governor to proclaim the month of May of each year as Lyme Disease Awareness Month to heighten awareness about symptoms and available treatments.

 

Though approved by the GAE Committee without opposition the legislation failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.

 

SB 207           An Act Concerning Funding for a Lyme Disease Prevention and Education Program

This bill was introduced by the Committee on Children and called for $450,000 to be appropriated to DPH, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, for the purpose of a grant in the amount of $170,00 to enable the department to develop and execute a social marketing campaign to educate entities in the state regarding Lyme disease prevention and a grant in the amount of $280,000 to the Ridgefield Health Department to develop and implement a regional community prevention program for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses utilizing the BLAST Lyme disease prevention program model.

 

This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed in the Appropriations Committee because of the negative fiscal impact to the General Fund.

 

HB 6759        An Act Concerning  the Rights and Responsibilities of    Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bed Bugs Infestations

This bill sought to establish a framework for identifying and treating bed bug infestations in residential rental properties, including public housing. It sets separate duties and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, including notice, inspection, and treatment requirements. Of interest to CTEC this legislation sought to require landlords to hire and pay a pest control agent to treat bed bug infestations if they are unable to successfully treat the infestation on their own.

 

This bill was introduced and approved by the Housing Committee. In addition, the Public Health Committee approved the legislation but it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.


·         Water Legislation

 

HB 6993         An Act Concerning Water Systems

This legislation sought to require by July 1, 2016 the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study regarding water systems and report their findings to the General Assembly’s Energy Committee.

 

This bill was approved by the Energy Committee but was not considered by the House before adjournment.

 

SB 363           An Act Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental SB 363 required DEEP to conduct a study of private property owners' water rights in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of a private property owner's rights to the groundwater located on such property and the superiority of any such right, if any, to the right of any other person, authority, corporation, municipality or state to utilize such groundwater.

 

The Environment Committee raised this bill where it received a public hearing. Following the hearing the committee failed to act on the proposal and the bill died.

 

 

·         Consumer Protection Legislation

 

SB 387           An Act Requiring Landscapers to Register with the Department of Consumer Protection

Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) introduced this bill, which would have required landscaper to register with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). This bill failed to be acted upon by the General Law Committee.

 

HB6808         An   Act   Concerning   the   Enforcement   of   Certain Occupational Licensing Statutes

This bill was introduced by the General Law Committee and sought to makes several changes to DCP occupational licensing enforcement laws. We monitored this bill closely for CTEC and CICA members. First, the bill makes it a crime to negligently engage in certain work without the required license or employ unlicensed people and imposes civil penalties for negligently employing them. It also makes the violations unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

 

The bill requires the DCP commissioner or appropriate examining board to issue cease work orders for certain unlicensed work. It also requires, rather than allows, the commissioner to bring certain complaints before DCP's occupational boards or commissions for formal hearings and the bill requires the commissioner to consult with the boards and commissions before adopting procedural rules and regulations affecting them.


Finally, the bill adds penalties for certain licensing violations related to electrical work; plumbing and piping work; solar work; heating, piping, cooling, and sheet metal work; fire protection sprinkler systems work; elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; irrigation work; automotive glass or flat glass work; or swimming pool construction or maintenance and repair work.

 

The General Law Committee approved this bill, however it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment. This bill will likely be reintroduced during the 2016 session.

 

 

·         Other Legislation of Interest

 

HB 5653         An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern for Children

By January 1, 2016 this bill would have required the DPH commissioner to consultant with the commissioners DEEP and DCP to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” of high concern for children. In doing so, the commissioner must consider the potential exposure of children and developing fetuses to each chemical. The commissioners must review and update the list at least every two years. This bill is introduced annually at the General Assembly; Capitol Consulting monitors this proposal for potential impact on products used in the green industry.

 

This bill was introduced and approved by the Committee on Children but was held by the Public Health Committee.

 

 

HB 5706        An Act  Establishing a  Municipal  Grant  Program for Maintaining Natural Grass Playing Fields

This bill was introduced at the request of two legislators that support an expansion on the ban of pesticide use on school grounds. Reps. Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford) and Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) sought this proposal to provide $800,000 for the purpose of establishing a municipal grant program that will provide grants to towns in order to assist in the costs associated with maintaining natural grass playing fields.

 

This legislation acknowledges that maintaining fields under the pesticide ban is costly to municipalities. This bill was referred to the Environment Committee. The committee failed to raise the bill for a hearing and it died with no action taken.

 

HB 6041        An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds HB 6052    An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds

Both of these bills sought to limit the sale and distribution of genetically modified grass seeds. Similar legislation was overwhelming rejected in the House during the 2014 session. Neither of these bills were raised by the Environment Committee and they died.


SB 984           An  Act  Concerning  the  Unionization  of  Agricultural    Workers, Nonpartisan Legislative Management Employees and State Education Resource Center Employees

As originally introduced by the Labor Committee this bill sought to permit the unionization of agricultural workers. Under the definition of “agricultural worker” in the legislation it could have been interrupted to include landscape workers. CTEC worked closely with the CT Farm Bureau as well as Phil Grande submitting testimony in opposition to this legislation. As a result of their testimony and lobbying of the committee the leadership of the Labor Committee agreed to removal agricultural workers from the legislation.

 

Even with this change the bill failed to be acted upon by the Senate before adjournment.



Connecticut Environmental Council, Inc.
2015 Legislative Summary
Prepared by
Michael Dugan
Capitol Consulting LLC
July 30, 2015
The General Assembly adjourned the 2015 legislative session on June 3rd at midnight. With the conclusion of Veto Session last week the 2015 session has been brought to a close. The legislature dealt with thousands of bills and amendments during the 5-month session and as a result legislators were unable to conclude their business by the Constitutional deadline. The General Assembly called a Special Session, which was held on June 29th. In Special Session the General Assembly enacted legislation that implements the state budget, bonding projects, conveyance of state lands, school building projects, the Governor’s second chances legislation and a proposal dealing with excessive use of force by law enforcement. In all the General Assembly considered and approved nearly a 1,000 pages of legislation in the one day session.
The 2015 session was once again an active session on lawn care pesticide legislation, with 10 bills introduced during the regular session. Since 2009 CTEC and our coalition partners have been successful in defeating legislation that sought to expand the lawn care pesticide ban beyond the current kindergarten to eighth grade ban on public and private school grounds. As you will note below there were numerous proposals that sought to expand the current ban to public and private high schools, municipal parks and athletic fields and state properties. During the regular session CTEC and our coalition partners were successful in defeating all of these proposals as we have done in the previous six legislative sessions.
However, in the June 29th Special Session our legislative opponents inserted language from one of the bills we killed during the regular session in the nearly 700-page budget implementation proposal. Knowing that this was a possibility we worked with our legislative allies to mitigate and narrow this language. As approved this legislation expand the lawn care pesticide ban to only municipal playgrounds. For a complete summary of the proposal refer to the SB 1502 below.
During the 2015 regular and special session Capitol Consulting tracked 56 bills for the Connecticut Environmental Council (CTEC). Find below a summary of the major bills of interest.
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Pesticide Legislation
SB 1502 An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, Concerning General Government, Education, Health and Human Services and Bonds of the State
This is the 700-page budget implementation bill that was considered and approved during a June 29th Special Session following the adjournment of the regular session on June 3rd. This bill includes language from SB 366 (see below) from the regular session. Despite our effort to kill SB 366 during the regular session legislative proponents were able to add the language to SB 1502. SB 1502 changes the notice requirement when pesticides are used on school grounds, exempts some products from the pesticide ban on school grounds Kto8, restricts the use of pesticide on municipal playgrounds and requires the adoption of regulation governing the use of lawn care pesticides by state agencies and other state departments.
• Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds
Under current law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information of pesticide applications directly to the parents and guardians who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
For schools without IPM plans, the bill requires this notice to be sent electronically, rather than by regular mail as current law requires. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires schools with IPM plans to send the information by any means practicable.
The bill also adds the target pest to the information schools with IPM plans must provide when notifying parents about pesticide applications, making it consistent with the information schools without IPM plans must provide. The law already requires both school types to provide the pesticide's active ingredient, date and location of application, and person who may be contacted for more information.
The bill requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications.
This bill requires the use of internet and social media, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24-hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the direct notice describe above on or through the:
1. homepage of the website of the school where the application will occur or, if there is no website, the homepage of the board's website, and
2. school’s or board's primary social media account.
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For schools without IPM plans, the online and social media notice requirements must be made at the same time as the electronic notification to registered parents and guardians when there are emergency applications to address human health threats.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• School Ground Lawn Care Pesticide Application
Current law prohibits the use of “lawn care pesticide” on the grounds of preschools and schools with students in grade eight or lower, absent a human health emergency. Under this law a “lawn care pesticide” is a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled according to federal law for use in lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites or areas.
The bill exempts the following products from this definition, thus allowing their application on the grounds of these schools:
1. EPA-registered microbial or biochemical pesticides;
2. horticultural soaps or oils registered with EPA and without any synthetic pesticide or synergist (enhancer of pesticide properties); and
3. certain pesticides classified by EPA as exempt material, such aspheromones, biological specimen preservatives, and minimum-risk pesticides.
The bill defines a “microbial pesticide” as a pesticide that has a microorganism as the active ingredient, and a “biochemical pesticide” is a naturally occurring substance that controls pests by nontoxic means.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
• Pesticide Use at Municipal Playgrounds
The bill restricts pesticide and lawn care pesticide use on municipal playgrounds. The restrictions apply to outdoor areas designated, dedicated, and customarily used for playing by children. This includes areas with a swing set, slide, climbing structure, play set, or device or object that children play on. The bill specifies that it does not cover fields or open space used primarily for sporting activities and playgrounds on school premises.
Under the bill, only a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-certified pesticide applicators may apply pesticide on municipal playgrounds, except in an emergency. Anyone may apply pesticide in an emergency to eliminate an immediate human health threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects, if:
1. the executive head of the municipal department responsible for the playground's maintenance or their designee finds the application is necessary,
2. they decides it is impractical to obtain a certified applicator, and
3. the application does not involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
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For purposes of applying pesticide on municipal playgrounds, a “pesticide” is a fungicide used on plants, an insecticide, an herbicide, or a rodenticide, but not a sanitizer, disinfectant, antimicrobial agent, or pesticide bait.
The bill bans applying lawn care pesticide on municipal playgrounds, absent a human health emergency. For an emergency lawn care pesticide application to occur under the bill, there must be an immediate threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects. The municipal authority must determine the application is necessary, and the application cannot involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
The bill applies the same definition of “lawn care pesticide,” and the same exceptions provided above, as for applications on school grounds Kto8.
The bill requires public notice of pesticide or lawn care pesticide applications on municipal playgrounds. For a pesticide application, advance public notice must be given, if the situation allows, at least 24-hours before the application. But if the municipal authority determines an emergency application of pesticide or lawn care pesticide is needed, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
The bill requires the notice to be made by the municipal authority within existing budgetary resources. The notice must be posted on the municipality's website and include the pesticide's active ingredient, target pest, and date or proposed date and location of the application.
Under the bill, the municipal authority must keep a copy of each notice for five years from the pesticide application date. All copies must be available to the public.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• Regulations on Pesticide Application Records
Under current law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. In addition, current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under the bill, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans.
The bill also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the reason for pesticide use, location of pesticide application, application frequency at each location, EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and application cost.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
Public Act: 15-5
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Effective Date: Various
Signed by Governor: June 30, 2015
SB 366 An Act Concerning Notice of Pesticides Applications at Public Schools and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As original introduced by the Environment Committee co-chairs, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), this legislation sought to ban the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private schools Kto12 as well as other state and municipal properties. During the regular session Capitol Consulting, CTEC and our coalition partners worked to defeat SB 366.
At a March 11th public hearing before the Environment Committee CTEC president, Mike Wallace, testified against this legislation as well as SB 1063 stating, “this legislation does not allow for the control of pests by the professional application of prescriptive, least toxic and most effective EPA registered pest controls. This legislation has the potential to extend the damage to even more municipal spaces, further letting our playing fields to deteriorate.”
Late in the legislative session HB 6035 and SB 1063 were merged into this proposal. In anticipation of Sen. Kennedy gaining enough support to pass this legislation Capitol Consulting worked closely with our legislative allies to narrow the scope of this legislation before the Senate acted on this proposal. In order to gain bipartisan support for the legislation Sen. Kennedy agreed to narrow the legislation to only apply the pesticide ban to municipal playgrounds. We were able to ensure in the legislation that municipal playgrounds would not encompass athletic fields or playgrounds on school property. Also, we inserted language to ensure that certified pesticide applicator was the only person able to apply lawn care pesticides on municipal playgrounds. However, any person may apply pesticide if the municipal determines there is need for an emergency application to control pest population.
Even though we were able to mitigate and significantly narrow the scope of this legislation CTEC and our coalition maintained our opposition to this legislation. Sen. Kennedy was able to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and in the closing days of the session the Senate on 34 to 2 vote approved the bill. However, working with our legislative allies in the House we were able to kill this bill in the House by having our allies file numerous amendments on this proposal. Without enough time to debate this bill in the House before the June 3rd adjournment this bill failed to be acted upon by the House.
Despite our successful strategy to kill this bill during the regular session, the Senate Democrat leaders on behalf of Sen. Kennedy were able to have the language in this bill merged into one of the budget implementation bill in the June 29th Special Session. See SB 1502 for a complete summary of the pesticide legislation.
HB 6035 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Facilities and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
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This bill was introduced as a committee bill in the Environment Committee. The bill sought to impose certain restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to state agency property, but not the University of Connecticut Research Farm. The bill sought to establish electronic public notice requirements for these applications. Existing law requires state departments, agencies, or institutions to use IPM at their facilities if the DEEP has a model pest control management plan in place for them.
In addition, the bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was merged into SB 366 during the regular session and was later merged into SB 1502 during the June 29th Special Session. See these bills for more details.
HB 5288 An Act Extending the Pesticide Ban to High School Athletic Fields and Public Parks
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation, which sought to expand the current Kto8 ban on lawn care pesticides to all public and private high schools. This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5728 An Act Concerning Pesticides on Municipal State and Private Fields
Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) introduced this legislation which sought to expand the ban on the use of lawn care pesticides on all school grounds including all municipal, state and private fields used by students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. This bill failed in the Environment Committee.
HB 6897 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Operated Parks, Athletic Fields and Playgrounds
This bill seeks to ban the nonemergency application of certain pesticides in state-operated parks, athletic fields and playgrounds. For a limited time, it allows certified pesticide applicators to apply lawn care pesticide at the athletic fields to transition to nontoxic care, as long as they follow an IPM plan. The bill also requires the controlling authority responsible for maintaining the park, field or playground to provide notice, within existing budgetary resources, at least 24-hours before any pesticide or lawn-care pesticide application. The bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any public or private preschool or school with students in grade eight or lower.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed when the House failed to take action on this proposal before adjournment.
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SB 1063 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides on Municipal Playgrounds and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As originally introduced by the Environment Committee this bill sought to impose restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal athletic fields, greens, parks, and playgrounds, but not playgrounds on school premises. The bill would have established electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
In addition, the bill would have exempted certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. SB 1063 also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers. Lastly, the bill makes a technical change, removing a reference to the day care center statutes.
This bill sought to establish restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal playgrounds. It generally requires certified pesticide applicators to apply pesticide and bans lawn care pesticide applications. But it allows emergency applications to eliminate immediate threats to human health. The bill also creates electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
Additionally, the bill exempts certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Environment Committee and was referred to the Planning & Development Committee. Capitol Consulting and our coalition partners worked to defeat this bill in the Planning & Development Committee. Because of efforts to defeat this bill, the Planning & Development Committee voted to narrow the scope of the legislation to only ban the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.
This bill was later merged into SB 366 and SB 1502. See those bills for a complete summary on pesticide legislation.
HB 5290 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Glyphosates in Watershed Areas
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation to ban the use of glyphosates near watershed areas. This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5024 An Act Reestablishing the Pesticide Advisory Council
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Our legislative allies, Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam) and Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-Hebron), introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This bill sought to re-establish a Pesticide Advisory Council that would evaluate pesticides and make recommendation for use by schools, municipalities and state agencies. The Environment Committee did not act on this legislation.
HB 5025 An Act Authorizing the Emergency Application of Pesticides on Certain School Grounds for Purpose of Controlling Grubs
Rep. Ziobron and Rep. Mulligan introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to authorize the emergency application of pesticides on athletic fields located at schools that house kindergarten through eighth grade in order to provide for grub control. The Environment Committee did not act upon this legislation.
Legislation of Interest that Passed
SB 158 An Act Concerning Landscape Architect Licenses
This act prohibits individuals without a degree from a college or school of landscape architecture from taking the examination required for licensure as a landscape architect in Connecticut and reduces, for certain applicants, the amount of practical experience needed to qualify to take the examination.
Under current law, there are two ways that a person may become eligible to sit for the examination. The individual must either graduates from an accredited college or school of landscape architecture or have at least two years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect. Current law also allows individuals to sit for the examination if they have eight years' practical experience in landscape architectural work of a grade and character satisfactory to the State Board of Landscape Architects. This new law eliminates this option. Instead, it requires candidates without a degree from an accredited institution to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related discipline or in landscape architecture from a non-accredited college with a curriculum consistent with an accredited program, as determined by the board with the consumer protection commissioner's consent and four years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect.
Public Act: 15-104
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
SB 867 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Firewood Transport
This bill reduces the penalty, from a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 to a warning or $85 or $200 fine, depending on the circumstances, for transporting firewood in violation of a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) quarantine or regulation.
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The fine for violating a CAES quarantine or regulation under current law is at least $500 but capped at $2,500. The bill reduces to $200 the fine for improperly transporting firewood for sale. If the firewood is for personal use, a first-time violator who discloses its point of origin receives a warning and subsequent offenses are subject to an $85 fine. Violators who fail to disclose the origin information are subject to an $85 fine regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The bill allows violators to pay fines without having to appear in court, using the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.
Public Act: 15-92
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
Legislation of Interest that Failed
• Tree Legislation
HB 5207 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) introduced this legislation in the Judiciary Committee. This legislation sought to impose liability on an owner of private real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb from a tree located on such property that falls on adjoining private real property. This legislation died but was merged into HB 5602.
HB 5602 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
This bill was raised by the Judiciary Committee and is similar to legislation that Governor Malloy vetoed during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed the legislation because nonprofit land trusts would have been adversely affected by the proposal. This legislation exempts nonprofits from this proposal.
In addition, this legislation sought to establish conditions in which a private landowner is liable to pay for removal of a tree or tree limb that falls from his or her property onto an adjoining private owner's land. It also specifically excludes political subdivisions of the state.
This bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee but failed when the House and Senate failed to act before adjournment.
SB 515 An Act Requiring Notice to the Property Owner Before the Department of Transportation Cuts Trees
Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) introduced this bill in the Transportation Committee. This sought to require notice to property owners before the Department of
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Transportation (DOT) cuts trees. This bill received a public hearing but failed to be acted upon by the Transportation Committee.
SB 833 An Act Concerning Notice to Allow for Public Comment Prior to Tree Cutting by the Department of Transportation
This legislation was also introduced by Sen. Linares and sought to require DOT to give notice to a town before cutting of trees. In addition, the legislation would have given the town an opportunity to hold public hearings. Following a public hearing before the Transportation Committee the bill died with no action taken.
HB 5365 An Act Concerning the Construction of Spite Fences and the Planting of Spite Hedges and Trees
Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) introduced this bill in the Judiciary Committee. This bill sought to ensure that a municipality is vested with the authority to prohibit the construction of spite fences and the planting of spite hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor’s water view. This bill died when the Judiciary Committee failed to schedule it for a public hearing.
HB 7012 An Act Concerning a Municipality’s Authority to Regulate the Construction of Fences and the Planting of Trees and Shrubs
Similar to HB 5365 the Judiciary Committee raised this legislation, which sought to ensure that a municipality has the authority to prohibit the construction of fences or the planting of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that would interfere with a property owner’s ability to enjoy their own property. This bill died after a public hearing.
• Running Bamboo Legislation
HB 5287 An Act Concerning Running Bamboo
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to grandfather running bamboo that was planted prior to 2012 from the statutory planting restrictions approved during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. In addition, this legislation would have enabled municipalities to have authority to enforce these restrictions. This legislation failed to receive a public hearing in the Environment Committee and died with no action taken.
HB6032 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning the Use of Barrier Systems for Certain Plantings
HB 6032 was raised by the Environment Committee and sought to make changes to running bamboo law, which was approved during the 2014 session. This bill would have prohibited people from planting or letting anyone plant running bamboo on their property within 40-feet of abutting property or a public right-of-way and eliminates the option of containing running bamboo by a barrier system or aboveground planter.
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The Environment Committee approved this bill but the House did not act on this proposal before the June 3rd adjournment.
HB 6043 An Act Clarifying the Running Bamboo Law and Providing for Local Enforcement of Such Law and the Award of Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs for Civil Suits Brought to Enforce Such Planting Restrictions
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed this legislation. HB 6043 sought to clarify the forty-foot setback provision concerning the planting of running bamboo, provide for the exclusive enforcement of the restrictions by municipal zoning enforcement officers and tree wardens, authorize municipalities to retain all fines associated with the enforcement of such restrictions and authorize the award of attorney's fees, court costs and remediation expenses in any civil suit brought to enforce such restrictions.
This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 144 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to clarify that running bamboo may not be planted within forty feet of a neighboring property regardless of whether it is contained by a properly installed barrier system.
This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 145 An Act Concerning Civil Actions Brought to Enforce the Law Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Boucher introduced this proposal in the Environment Committee to specifically authorize individuals to bring civil actions to the Superior Court for the enforcement of restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo.
The Environment Committee failed to act on this proposal.
SB 147 An Act Requiring Local Zoning Enforcement Officers to Enforce Restrictions Concerning the Planting of Running Bamboo
This bill was introduced by Sen. Boucher to require local zoning enforcement officers to enforce restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo. Any monies from such fines would be paid to the applicable municipality.
This bill died in the Environment Committee with no action was taken.
• Tick & Bed Bug Legislation
HB5445 An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Tick Borne Illnesses
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This bill sought to establish a task force to reduce the number of ticks that cause illness and provide awareness and education to the public concerning tick-borne illnesses that will lead to prevention and better treatment. Reps. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford), David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Peggy Sayers (D-Windsor Locks) introduced this legislation.
The Environment Committee did not take action on this proposal.
HB 5629 An Act Designating May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month
This bill introduced by the Government Administration & Election (GAE) Committee would have required the governor to proclaim the month of May of each year as Lyme Disease Awareness Month to heighten awareness about symptoms and available treatments.
Though approved by the GAE Committee without opposition the legislation failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
SB 207 An Act Concerning Funding for a Lyme Disease Prevention and Education Program
This bill was introduced by the Committee on Children and called for $450,000 to be appropriated to DPH, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, for the purpose of a grant in the amount of $170,00 to enable the department to develop and execute a social marketing campaign to educate entities in the state regarding Lyme disease prevention and a grant in the amount of $280,000 to the Ridgefield Health Department to develop and implement a regional community prevention program for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses utilizing the BLAST Lyme disease prevention program model.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed in the Appropriations Committee because of the negative fiscal impact to the General Fund.
HB 6759 An Act Concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bed Bugs Infestations
This bill sought to establish a framework for identifying and treating bed bug infestations in residential rental properties, including public housing. It sets separate duties and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, including notice, inspection, and treatment requirements. Of interest to CTEC this legislation sought to require landlords to hire and pay a pest control agent to treat bed bug infestations if they are unable to successfully treat the infestation on their own.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Housing Committee. In addition, the Public Health Committee approved the legislation but it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
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• Water Legislation
HB 6993 An Act Concerning Water Systems
This legislation sought to require by July 1, 2016 the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study regarding water systems and report their findings to the General Assembly’s Energy Committee.
This bill was approved by the Energy Committee but was not considered by the House before adjournment.
SB 363 An Act Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental
SB 363 required DEEP to conduct a study of private property owners' water rights in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of a private property owner's rights to the groundwater located on such property and the superiority of any such right, if any, to the right of any other person, authority, corporation, municipality or state to utilize such groundwater.
The Environment Committee raised this bill where it received a public hearing. Following the hearing the committee failed to act on the proposal and the bill died.
• Consumer Protection Legislation
SB 387 An Act Requiring Landscapers to Register with the Department of Consumer Protection
Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) introduced this bill, which would have required landscaper to register with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). This bill failed to be acted upon by the General Law Committee.
HB6808 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Certain Occupational Licensing Statutes
This bill was introduced by the General Law Committee and sought to makes several changes to DCP occupational licensing enforcement laws. We monitored this bill closely for CTEC and CICA members. First, the bill makes it a crime to negligently engage in certain work without the required license or employ unlicensed people and imposes civil penalties for negligently employing them. It also makes the violations unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The bill requires the DCP commissioner or appropriate examining board to issue cease work orders for certain unlicensed work. It also requires, rather than allows, the commissioner to bring certain complaints before DCP's occupational boards or commissions for formal hearings and the bill requires the commissioner to consult with the boards and commissions before adopting procedural rules and regulations affecting them.
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Finally, the bill adds penalties for certain licensing violations related to electrical work; plumbing and piping work; solar work; heating, piping, cooling, and sheet metal work; fire protection sprinkler systems work; elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; irrigation work; automotive glass or flat glass work; or swimming pool construction or maintenance and repair work.
The General Law Committee approved this bill, however it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment. This bill will likely be reintroduced during the 2016 session.
• Other Legislation of Interest
HB 5653 An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern for Children
By January 1, 2016 this bill would have required the DPH commissioner to consultant with the commissioners DEEP and DCP to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” of high concern for children. In doing so, the commissioner must consider the potential exposure of children and developing fetuses to each chemical. The commissioners must review and update the list at least every two years. This bill is introduced annually at the General Assembly; Capitol Consulting monitors this proposal for potential impact on products used in the green industry.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Committee on Children but was held by the Public Health Committee.
HB 5706 An Act Establishing a Municipal Grant Program for Maintaining Natural Grass Playing Fields
This bill was introduced at the request of two legislators that support an expansion on the ban of pesticide use on school grounds. Reps. Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford) and Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) sought this proposal to provide $800,000 for the purpose of establishing a municipal grant program that will provide grants to towns in order to assist in the costs associated with maintaining natural grass playing fields.
This legislation acknowledges that maintaining fields under the pesticide ban is costly to municipalities. This bill was referred to the Environment Committee. The committee failed to raise the bill for a hearing and it died with no action taken.
HB 6041 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
HB 6052 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
Both of these bills sought to limit the sale and distribution of genetically modified grass seeds. Similar legislation was overwhelming rejected in the House during the 2014 session. Neither of these bills were raised by the Environment Committee and they died.
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SB 984 An Act Concerning the Unionization of Agricultural Workers, Nonpartisan Legislative Management Employees and State Education Resource Center Employees
As originally introduced by the Labor Committee this bill sought to permit the unionization of agricultural workers. Under the definition of “agricultural worker” in the legislation it could have been interrupted to include landscape workers. CTEC worked closely with the CT Farm Bureau as well as Phil Grande submitting testimony in opposition to this legislation. As a result of their testimony and lobbying of the committee the leadership of the Labor Committee agreed to removal agricultural workers from the legislation.
Even with this change the bill failed to be acted upon by the Senate before adjournment.
Connecticut Environmental Council, Inc.
2015 Legislative Summary
Prepared by
Michael Dugan
Capitol Consulting LLC
July 30, 2015
The General Assembly adjourned the 2015 legislative session on June 3rd at midnight. With the conclusion of Veto Session last week the 2015 session has been brought to a close. The legislature dealt with thousands of bills and amendments during the 5-month session and as a result legislators were unable to conclude their business by the Constitutional deadline. The General Assembly called a Special Session, which was held on June 29th. In Special Session the General Assembly enacted legislation that implements the state budget, bonding projects, conveyance of state lands, school building projects, the Governor’s second chances legislation and a proposal dealing with excessive use of force by law enforcement. In all the General Assembly considered and approved nearly a 1,000 pages of legislation in the one day session.
The 2015 session was once again an active session on lawn care pesticide legislation, with 10 bills introduced during the regular session. Since 2009 CTEC and our coalition partners have been successful in defeating legislation that sought to expand the lawn care pesticide ban beyond the current kindergarten to eighth grade ban on public and private school grounds. As you will note below there were numerous proposals that sought to expand the current ban to public and private high schools, municipal parks and athletic fields and state properties. During the regular session CTEC and our coalition partners were successful in defeating all of these proposals as we have done in the previous six legislative sessions.
However, in the June 29th Special Session our legislative opponents inserted language from one of the bills we killed during the regular session in the nearly 700-page budget implementation proposal. Knowing that this was a possibility we worked with our legislative allies to mitigate and narrow this language. As approved this legislation expand the lawn care pesticide ban to only municipal playgrounds. For a complete summary of the proposal refer to the SB 1502 below.
During the 2015 regular and special session Capitol Consulting tracked 56 bills for the Connecticut Environmental Council (CTEC). Find below a summary of the major bills of interest.
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Pesticide Legislation
SB 1502 An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, Concerning General Government, Education, Health and Human Services and Bonds of the State
This is the 700-page budget implementation bill that was considered and approved during a June 29th Special Session following the adjournment of the regular session on June 3rd. This bill includes language from SB 366 (see below) from the regular session. Despite our effort to kill SB 366 during the regular session legislative proponents were able to add the language to SB 1502. SB 1502 changes the notice requirement when pesticides are used on school grounds, exempts some products from the pesticide ban on school grounds Kto8, restricts the use of pesticide on municipal playgrounds and requires the adoption of regulation governing the use of lawn care pesticides by state agencies and other state departments.
• Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds
Under current law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information of pesticide applications directly to the parents and guardians who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
For schools without IPM plans, the bill requires this notice to be sent electronically, rather than by regular mail as current law requires. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires schools with IPM plans to send the information by any means practicable.
The bill also adds the target pest to the information schools with IPM plans must provide when notifying parents about pesticide applications, making it consistent with the information schools without IPM plans must provide. The law already requires both school types to provide the pesticide's active ingredient, date and location of application, and person who may be contacted for more information.
The bill requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications.
This bill requires the use of internet and social media, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24-hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the direct notice describe above on or through the:
1. homepage of the website of the school where the application will occur or, if there is no website, the homepage of the board's website, and
2. school’s or board's primary social media account.
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For schools without IPM plans, the online and social media notice requirements must be made at the same time as the electronic notification to registered parents and guardians when there are emergency applications to address human health threats.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• School Ground Lawn Care Pesticide Application
Current law prohibits the use of “lawn care pesticide” on the grounds of preschools and schools with students in grade eight or lower, absent a human health emergency. Under this law a “lawn care pesticide” is a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled according to federal law for use in lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites or areas.
The bill exempts the following products from this definition, thus allowing their application on the grounds of these schools:
1. EPA-registered microbial or biochemical pesticides;
2. horticultural soaps or oils registered with EPA and without any synthetic pesticide or synergist (enhancer of pesticide properties); and
3. certain pesticides classified by EPA as exempt material, such aspheromones, biological specimen preservatives, and minimum-risk pesticides.
The bill defines a “microbial pesticide” as a pesticide that has a microorganism as the active ingredient, and a “biochemical pesticide” is a naturally occurring substance that controls pests by nontoxic means.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
• Pesticide Use at Municipal Playgrounds
The bill restricts pesticide and lawn care pesticide use on municipal playgrounds. The restrictions apply to outdoor areas designated, dedicated, and customarily used for playing by children. This includes areas with a swing set, slide, climbing structure, play set, or device or object that children play on. The bill specifies that it does not cover fields or open space used primarily for sporting activities and playgrounds on school premises.
Under the bill, only a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-certified pesticide applicators may apply pesticide on municipal playgrounds, except in an emergency. Anyone may apply pesticide in an emergency to eliminate an immediate human health threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects, if:
1. the executive head of the municipal department responsible for the playground's maintenance or their designee finds the application is necessary,
2. they decides it is impractical to obtain a certified applicator, and
3. the application does not involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
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For purposes of applying pesticide on municipal playgrounds, a “pesticide” is a fungicide used on plants, an insecticide, an herbicide, or a rodenticide, but not a sanitizer, disinfectant, antimicrobial agent, or pesticide bait.
The bill bans applying lawn care pesticide on municipal playgrounds, absent a human health emergency. For an emergency lawn care pesticide application to occur under the bill, there must be an immediate threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects. The municipal authority must determine the application is necessary, and the application cannot involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
The bill applies the same definition of “lawn care pesticide,” and the same exceptions provided above, as for applications on school grounds Kto8.
The bill requires public notice of pesticide or lawn care pesticide applications on municipal playgrounds. For a pesticide application, advance public notice must be given, if the situation allows, at least 24-hours before the application. But if the municipal authority determines an emergency application of pesticide or lawn care pesticide is needed, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
The bill requires the notice to be made by the municipal authority within existing budgetary resources. The notice must be posted on the municipality's website and include the pesticide's active ingredient, target pest, and date or proposed date and location of the application.
Under the bill, the municipal authority must keep a copy of each notice for five years from the pesticide application date. All copies must be available to the public.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• Regulations on Pesticide Application Records
Under current law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. In addition, current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under the bill, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans.
The bill also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the reason for pesticide use, location of pesticide application, application frequency at each location, EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and application cost.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
Public Act: 15-5
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Effective Date: Various
Signed by Governor: June 30, 2015
SB 366 An Act Concerning Notice of Pesticides Applications at Public Schools and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As original introduced by the Environment Committee co-chairs, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), this legislation sought to ban the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private schools Kto12 as well as other state and municipal properties. During the regular session Capitol Consulting, CTEC and our coalition partners worked to defeat SB 366.
At a March 11th public hearing before the Environment Committee CTEC president, Mike Wallace, testified against this legislation as well as SB 1063 stating, “this legislation does not allow for the control of pests by the professional application of prescriptive, least toxic and most effective EPA registered pest controls. This legislation has the potential to extend the damage to even more municipal spaces, further letting our playing fields to deteriorate.”
Late in the legislative session HB 6035 and SB 1063 were merged into this proposal. In anticipation of Sen. Kennedy gaining enough support to pass this legislation Capitol Consulting worked closely with our legislative allies to narrow the scope of this legislation before the Senate acted on this proposal. In order to gain bipartisan support for the legislation Sen. Kennedy agreed to narrow the legislation to only apply the pesticide ban to municipal playgrounds. We were able to ensure in the legislation that municipal playgrounds would not encompass athletic fields or playgrounds on school property. Also, we inserted language to ensure that certified pesticide applicator was the only person able to apply lawn care pesticides on municipal playgrounds. However, any person may apply pesticide if the municipal determines there is need for an emergency application to control pest population.
Even though we were able to mitigate and significantly narrow the scope of this legislation CTEC and our coalition maintained our opposition to this legislation. Sen. Kennedy was able to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and in the closing days of the session the Senate on 34 to 2 vote approved the bill. However, working with our legislative allies in the House we were able to kill this bill in the House by having our allies file numerous amendments on this proposal. Without enough time to debate this bill in the House before the June 3rd adjournment this bill failed to be acted upon by the House.
Despite our successful strategy to kill this bill during the regular session, the Senate Democrat leaders on behalf of Sen. Kennedy were able to have the language in this bill merged into one of the budget implementation bill in the June 29th Special Session. See SB 1502 for a complete summary of the pesticide legislation.
HB 6035 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Facilities and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
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This bill was introduced as a committee bill in the Environment Committee. The bill sought to impose certain restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to state agency property, but not the University of Connecticut Research Farm. The bill sought to establish electronic public notice requirements for these applications. Existing law requires state departments, agencies, or institutions to use IPM at their facilities if the DEEP has a model pest control management plan in place for them.
In addition, the bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was merged into SB 366 during the regular session and was later merged into SB 1502 during the June 29th Special Session. See these bills for more details.
HB 5288 An Act Extending the Pesticide Ban to High School Athletic Fields and Public Parks
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation, which sought to expand the current Kto8 ban on lawn care pesticides to all public and private high schools. This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5728 An Act Concerning Pesticides on Municipal State and Private Fields
Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) introduced this legislation which sought to expand the ban on the use of lawn care pesticides on all school grounds including all municipal, state and private fields used by students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. This bill failed in the Environment Committee.
HB 6897 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Operated Parks, Athletic Fields and Playgrounds
This bill seeks to ban the nonemergency application of certain pesticides in state-operated parks, athletic fields and playgrounds. For a limited time, it allows certified pesticide applicators to apply lawn care pesticide at the athletic fields to transition to nontoxic care, as long as they follow an IPM plan. The bill also requires the controlling authority responsible for maintaining the park, field or playground to provide notice, within existing budgetary resources, at least 24-hours before any pesticide or lawn-care pesticide application. The bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any public or private preschool or school with students in grade eight or lower.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed when the House failed to take action on this proposal before adjournment.
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SB 1063 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides on Municipal Playgrounds and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As originally introduced by the Environment Committee this bill sought to impose restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal athletic fields, greens, parks, and playgrounds, but not playgrounds on school premises. The bill would have established electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
In addition, the bill would have exempted certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. SB 1063 also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers. Lastly, the bill makes a technical change, removing a reference to the day care center statutes.
This bill sought to establish restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal playgrounds. It generally requires certified pesticide applicators to apply pesticide and bans lawn care pesticide applications. But it allows emergency applications to eliminate immediate threats to human health. The bill also creates electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
Additionally, the bill exempts certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Environment Committee and was referred to the Planning & Development Committee. Capitol Consulting and our coalition partners worked to defeat this bill in the Planning & Development Committee. Because of efforts to defeat this bill, the Planning & Development Committee voted to narrow the scope of the legislation to only ban the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.
This bill was later merged into SB 366 and SB 1502. See those bills for a complete summary on pesticide legislation.
HB 5290 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Glyphosates in Watershed Areas
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation to ban the use of glyphosates near watershed areas. This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5024 An Act Reestablishing the Pesticide Advisory Council
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Our legislative allies, Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam) and Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-Hebron), introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This bill sought to re-establish a Pesticide Advisory Council that would evaluate pesticides and make recommendation for use by schools, municipalities and state agencies. The Environment Committee did not act on this legislation.
HB 5025 An Act Authorizing the Emergency Application of Pesticides on Certain School Grounds for Purpose of Controlling Grubs
Rep. Ziobron and Rep. Mulligan introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to authorize the emergency application of pesticides on athletic fields located at schools that house kindergarten through eighth grade in order to provide for grub control. The Environment Committee did not act upon this legislation.
Legislation of Interest that Passed
SB 158 An Act Concerning Landscape Architect Licenses
This act prohibits individuals without a degree from a college or school of landscape architecture from taking the examination required for licensure as a landscape architect in Connecticut and reduces, for certain applicants, the amount of practical experience needed to qualify to take the examination.
Under current law, there are two ways that a person may become eligible to sit for the examination. The individual must either graduates from an accredited college or school of landscape architecture or have at least two years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect. Current law also allows individuals to sit for the examination if they have eight years' practical experience in landscape architectural work of a grade and character satisfactory to the State Board of Landscape Architects. This new law eliminates this option. Instead, it requires candidates without a degree from an accredited institution to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related discipline or in landscape architecture from a non-accredited college with a curriculum consistent with an accredited program, as determined by the board with the consumer protection commissioner's consent and four years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect.
Public Act: 15-104
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
SB 867 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Firewood Transport
This bill reduces the penalty, from a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 to a warning or $85 or $200 fine, depending on the circumstances, for transporting firewood in violation of a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) quarantine or regulation.
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The fine for violating a CAES quarantine or regulation under current law is at least $500 but capped at $2,500. The bill reduces to $200 the fine for improperly transporting firewood for sale. If the firewood is for personal use, a first-time violator who discloses its point of origin receives a warning and subsequent offenses are subject to an $85 fine. Violators who fail to disclose the origin information are subject to an $85 fine regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The bill allows violators to pay fines without having to appear in court, using the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.
Public Act: 15-92
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
Legislation of Interest that Failed
• Tree Legislation
HB 5207 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) introduced this legislation in the Judiciary Committee. This legislation sought to impose liability on an owner of private real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb from a tree located on such property that falls on adjoining private real property. This legislation died but was merged into HB 5602.
HB 5602 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
This bill was raised by the Judiciary Committee and is similar to legislation that Governor Malloy vetoed during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed the legislation because nonprofit land trusts would have been adversely affected by the proposal. This legislation exempts nonprofits from this proposal.
In addition, this legislation sought to establish conditions in which a private landowner is liable to pay for removal of a tree or tree limb that falls from his or her property onto an adjoining private owner's land. It also specifically excludes political subdivisions of the state.
This bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee but failed when the House and Senate failed to act before adjournment.
SB 515 An Act Requiring Notice to the Property Owner Before the Department of Transportation Cuts Trees
Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) introduced this bill in the Transportation Committee. This sought to require notice to property owners before the Department of
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Transportation (DOT) cuts trees. This bill received a public hearing but failed to be acted upon by the Transportation Committee.
SB 833 An Act Concerning Notice to Allow for Public Comment Prior to Tree Cutting by the Department of Transportation
This legislation was also introduced by Sen. Linares and sought to require DOT to give notice to a town before cutting of trees. In addition, the legislation would have given the town an opportunity to hold public hearings. Following a public hearing before the Transportation Committee the bill died with no action taken.
HB 5365 An Act Concerning the Construction of Spite Fences and the Planting of Spite Hedges and Trees
Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) introduced this bill in the Judiciary Committee. This bill sought to ensure that a municipality is vested with the authority to prohibit the construction of spite fences and the planting of spite hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor’s water view. This bill died when the Judiciary Committee failed to schedule it for a public hearing.
HB 7012 An Act Concerning a Municipality’s Authority to Regulate the Construction of Fences and the Planting of Trees and Shrubs
Similar to HB 5365 the Judiciary Committee raised this legislation, which sought to ensure that a municipality has the authority to prohibit the construction of fences or the planting of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that would interfere with a property owner’s ability to enjoy their own property. This bill died after a public hearing.
• Running Bamboo Legislation
HB 5287 An Act Concerning Running Bamboo
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to grandfather running bamboo that was planted prior to 2012 from the statutory planting restrictions approved during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. In addition, this legislation would have enabled municipalities to have authority to enforce these restrictions. This legislation failed to receive a public hearing in the Environment Committee and died with no action taken.
HB6032 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning the Use of Barrier Systems for Certain Plantings
HB 6032 was raised by the Environment Committee and sought to make changes to running bamboo law, which was approved during the 2014 session. This bill would have prohibited people from planting or letting anyone plant running bamboo on their property within 40-feet of abutting property or a public right-of-way and eliminates the option of containing running bamboo by a barrier system or aboveground planter.
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The Environment Committee approved this bill but the House did not act on this proposal before the June 3rd adjournment.
HB 6043 An Act Clarifying the Running Bamboo Law and Providing for Local Enforcement of Such Law and the Award of Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs for Civil Suits Brought to Enforce Such Planting Restrictions
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed this legislation. HB 6043 sought to clarify the forty-foot setback provision concerning the planting of running bamboo, provide for the exclusive enforcement of the restrictions by municipal zoning enforcement officers and tree wardens, authorize municipalities to retain all fines associated with the enforcement of such restrictions and authorize the award of attorney's fees, court costs and remediation expenses in any civil suit brought to enforce such restrictions.
This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 144 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to clarify that running bamboo may not be planted within forty feet of a neighboring property regardless of whether it is contained by a properly installed barrier system.
This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 145 An Act Concerning Civil Actions Brought to Enforce the Law Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Boucher introduced this proposal in the Environment Committee to specifically authorize individuals to bring civil actions to the Superior Court for the enforcement of restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo.
The Environment Committee failed to act on this proposal.
SB 147 An Act Requiring Local Zoning Enforcement Officers to Enforce Restrictions Concerning the Planting of Running Bamboo
This bill was introduced by Sen. Boucher to require local zoning enforcement officers to enforce restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo. Any monies from such fines would be paid to the applicable municipality.
This bill died in the Environment Committee with no action was taken.
• Tick & Bed Bug Legislation
HB5445 An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Tick Borne Illnesses
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This bill sought to establish a task force to reduce the number of ticks that cause illness and provide awareness and education to the public concerning tick-borne illnesses that will lead to prevention and better treatment. Reps. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford), David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Peggy Sayers (D-Windsor Locks) introduced this legislation.
The Environment Committee did not take action on this proposal.
HB 5629 An Act Designating May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month
This bill introduced by the Government Administration & Election (GAE) Committee would have required the governor to proclaim the month of May of each year as Lyme Disease Awareness Month to heighten awareness about symptoms and available treatments.
Though approved by the GAE Committee without opposition the legislation failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
SB 207 An Act Concerning Funding for a Lyme Disease Prevention and Education Program
This bill was introduced by the Committee on Children and called for $450,000 to be appropriated to DPH, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, for the purpose of a grant in the amount of $170,00 to enable the department to develop and execute a social marketing campaign to educate entities in the state regarding Lyme disease prevention and a grant in the amount of $280,000 to the Ridgefield Health Department to develop and implement a regional community prevention program for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses utilizing the BLAST Lyme disease prevention program model.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed in the Appropriations Committee because of the negative fiscal impact to the General Fund.
HB 6759 An Act Concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bed Bugs Infestations
This bill sought to establish a framework for identifying and treating bed bug infestations in residential rental properties, including public housing. It sets separate duties and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, including notice, inspection, and treatment requirements. Of interest to CTEC this legislation sought to require landlords to hire and pay a pest control agent to treat bed bug infestations if they are unable to successfully treat the infestation on their own.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Housing Committee. In addition, the Public Health Committee approved the legislation but it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
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• Water Legislation
HB 6993 An Act Concerning Water Systems
This legislation sought to require by July 1, 2016 the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study regarding water systems and report their findings to the General Assembly’s Energy Committee.
This bill was approved by the Energy Committee but was not considered by the House before adjournment.
SB 363 An Act Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental
SB 363 required DEEP to conduct a study of private property owners' water rights in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of a private property owner's rights to the groundwater located on such property and the superiority of any such right, if any, to the right of any other person, authority, corporation, municipality or state to utilize such groundwater.
The Environment Committee raised this bill where it received a public hearing. Following the hearing the committee failed to act on the proposal and the bill died.
• Consumer Protection Legislation
SB 387 An Act Requiring Landscapers to Register with the Department of Consumer Protection
Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) introduced this bill, which would have required landscaper to register with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). This bill failed to be acted upon by the General Law Committee.
HB6808 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Certain Occupational Licensing Statutes
This bill was introduced by the General Law Committee and sought to makes several changes to DCP occupational licensing enforcement laws. We monitored this bill closely for CTEC and CICA members. First, the bill makes it a crime to negligently engage in certain work without the required license or employ unlicensed people and imposes civil penalties for negligently employing them. It also makes the violations unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The bill requires the DCP commissioner or appropriate examining board to issue cease work orders for certain unlicensed work. It also requires, rather than allows, the commissioner to bring certain complaints before DCP's occupational boards or commissions for formal hearings and the bill requires the commissioner to consult with the boards and commissions before adopting procedural rules and regulations affecting them.
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Finally, the bill adds penalties for certain licensing violations related to electrical work; plumbing and piping work; solar work; heating, piping, cooling, and sheet metal work; fire protection sprinkler systems work; elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; irrigation work; automotive glass or flat glass work; or swimming pool construction or maintenance and repair work.
The General Law Committee approved this bill, however it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment. This bill will likely be reintroduced during the 2016 session.
• Other Legislation of Interest
HB 5653 An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern for Children
By January 1, 2016 this bill would have required the DPH commissioner to consultant with the commissioners DEEP and DCP to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” of high concern for children. In doing so, the commissioner must consider the potential exposure of children and developing fetuses to each chemical. The commissioners must review and update the list at least every two years. This bill is introduced annually at the General Assembly; Capitol Consulting monitors this proposal for potential impact on products used in the green industry.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Committee on Children but was held by the Public Health Committee.
HB 5706 An Act Establishing a Municipal Grant Program for Maintaining Natural Grass Playing Fields
This bill was introduced at the request of two legislators that support an expansion on the ban of pesticide use on school grounds. Reps. Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford) and Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) sought this proposal to provide $800,000 for the purpose of establishing a municipal grant program that will provide grants to towns in order to assist in the costs associated with maintaining natural grass playing fields.
This legislation acknowledges that maintaining fields under the pesticide ban is costly to municipalities. This bill was referred to the Environment Committee. The committee failed to raise the bill for a hearing and it died with no action taken.
HB 6041 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
HB 6052 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
Both of these bills sought to limit the sale and distribution of genetically modified grass seeds. Similar legislation was overwhelming rejected in the House during the 2014 session. Neither of these bills were raised by the Environment Committee and they died.
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SB 984 An Act Concerning the Unionization of Agricultural Workers, Nonpartisan Legislative Management Employees and State Education Resource Center Employees
As originally introduced by the Labor Committee this bill sought to permit the unionization of agricultural workers. Under the definition of “agricultural worker” in the legislation it could have been interrupted to include landscape workers. CTEC worked closely with the CT Farm Bureau as well as Phil Grande submitting testimony in opposition to this legislation. As a result of their testimony and lobbying of the committee the leadership of the Labor Committee agreed to removal agricultural workers from the legislation.
Even with this change the bill failed to be acted upon by the Senate before adjournment.


Connecticut Environmental Council, Inc.
2015 Legislative Summary
Prepared by
Michael Dugan
Capitol Consulting LLC
July 30, 2015
The General Assembly adjourned the 2015 legislative session on June 3rd at midnight. With the conclusion of Veto Session last week the 2015 session has been brought to a close. The legislature dealt with thousands of bills and amendments during the 5-month session and as a result legislators were unable to conclude their business by the Constitutional deadline. The General Assembly called a Special Session, which was held on June 29th. In Special Session the General Assembly enacted legislation that implements the state budget, bonding projects, conveyance of state lands, school building projects, the Governor’s second chances legislation and a proposal dealing with excessive use of force by law enforcement. In all the General Assembly considered and approved nearly a 1,000 pages of legislation in the one day session.
The 2015 session was once again an active session on lawn care pesticide legislation, with 10 bills introduced during the regular session. Since 2009 CTEC and our coalition partners have been successful in defeating legislation that sought to expand the lawn care pesticide ban beyond the current kindergarten to eighth grade ban on public and private school grounds. As you will note below there were numerous proposals that sought to expand the current ban to public and private high schools, municipal parks and athletic fields and state properties. During the regular session CTEC and our coalition partners were successful in defeating all of these proposals as we have done in the previous six legislative sessions.
However, in the June 29th Special Session our legislative opponents inserted language from one of the bills we killed during the regular session in the nearly 700-page budget implementation proposal. Knowing that this was a possibility we worked with our legislative allies to mitigate and narrow this language. As approved this legislation expand the lawn care pesticide ban to only municipal playgrounds. For a complete summary of the proposal refer to the SB 1502 below.
During the 2015 regular and special session Capitol Consulting tracked 56 bills for the Connecticut Environmental Council (CTEC). Find below a summary of the major bills of interest.
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Pesticide Legislation
SB 1502 An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, Concerning General Government, Education, Health and Human Services and Bonds of the State
This is the 700-page budget implementation bill that was considered and approved during a June 29th Special Session following the adjournment of the regular session on June 3rd. This bill includes language from SB 366 (see below) from the regular session. Despite our effort to kill SB 366 during the regular session legislative proponents were able to add the language to SB 1502. SB 1502 changes the notice requirement when pesticides are used on school grounds, exempts some products from the pesticide ban on school grounds Kto8, restricts the use of pesticide on municipal playgrounds and requires the adoption of regulation governing the use of lawn care pesticides by state agencies and other state departments.
• Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds
Under current law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information of pesticide applications directly to the parents and guardians who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
For schools without IPM plans, the bill requires this notice to be sent electronically, rather than by regular mail as current law requires. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires schools with IPM plans to send the information by any means practicable.
The bill also adds the target pest to the information schools with IPM plans must provide when notifying parents about pesticide applications, making it consistent with the information schools without IPM plans must provide. The law already requires both school types to provide the pesticide's active ingredient, date and location of application, and person who may be contacted for more information.
The bill requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications.
This bill requires the use of internet and social media, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24-hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the direct notice describe above on or through the:
1. homepage of the website of the school where the application will occur or, if there is no website, the homepage of the board's website, and
2. school’s or board's primary social media account.
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For schools without IPM plans, the online and social media notice requirements must be made at the same time as the electronic notification to registered parents and guardians when there are emergency applications to address human health threats.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• School Ground Lawn Care Pesticide Application
Current law prohibits the use of “lawn care pesticide” on the grounds of preschools and schools with students in grade eight or lower, absent a human health emergency. Under this law a “lawn care pesticide” is a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled according to federal law for use in lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites or areas.
The bill exempts the following products from this definition, thus allowing their application on the grounds of these schools:
1. EPA-registered microbial or biochemical pesticides;
2. horticultural soaps or oils registered with EPA and without any synthetic pesticide or synergist (enhancer of pesticide properties); and
3. certain pesticides classified by EPA as exempt material, such aspheromones, biological specimen preservatives, and minimum-risk pesticides.
The bill defines a “microbial pesticide” as a pesticide that has a microorganism as the active ingredient, and a “biochemical pesticide” is a naturally occurring substance that controls pests by nontoxic means.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
• Pesticide Use at Municipal Playgrounds
The bill restricts pesticide and lawn care pesticide use on municipal playgrounds. The restrictions apply to outdoor areas designated, dedicated, and customarily used for playing by children. This includes areas with a swing set, slide, climbing structure, play set, or device or object that children play on. The bill specifies that it does not cover fields or open space used primarily for sporting activities and playgrounds on school premises.
Under the bill, only a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-certified pesticide applicators may apply pesticide on municipal playgrounds, except in an emergency. Anyone may apply pesticide in an emergency to eliminate an immediate human health threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects, if:
1. the executive head of the municipal department responsible for the playground's maintenance or their designee finds the application is necessary,
2. they decides it is impractical to obtain a certified applicator, and
3. the application does not involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
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For purposes of applying pesticide on municipal playgrounds, a “pesticide” is a fungicide used on plants, an insecticide, an herbicide, or a rodenticide, but not a sanitizer, disinfectant, antimicrobial agent, or pesticide bait.
The bill bans applying lawn care pesticide on municipal playgrounds, absent a human health emergency. For an emergency lawn care pesticide application to occur under the bill, there must be an immediate threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects. The municipal authority must determine the application is necessary, and the application cannot involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
The bill applies the same definition of “lawn care pesticide,” and the same exceptions provided above, as for applications on school grounds Kto8.
The bill requires public notice of pesticide or lawn care pesticide applications on municipal playgrounds. For a pesticide application, advance public notice must be given, if the situation allows, at least 24-hours before the application. But if the municipal authority determines an emergency application of pesticide or lawn care pesticide is needed, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
The bill requires the notice to be made by the municipal authority within existing budgetary resources. The notice must be posted on the municipality's website and include the pesticide's active ingredient, target pest, and date or proposed date and location of the application.
Under the bill, the municipal authority must keep a copy of each notice for five years from the pesticide application date. All copies must be available to the public.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• Regulations on Pesticide Application Records
Under current law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. In addition, current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under the bill, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans.
The bill also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the reason for pesticide use, location of pesticide application, application frequency at each location, EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and application cost.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
Public Act: 15-5
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Effective Date: Various
Signed by Governor: June 30, 2015
SB 366 An Act Concerning Notice of Pesticides Applications at Public Schools and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As original introduced by the Environment Committee co-chairs, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), this legislation sought to ban the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private schools Kto12 as well as other state and municipal properties. During the regular session Capitol Consulting, CTEC and our coalition partners worked to defeat SB 366.
At a March 11th public hearing before the Environment Committee CTEC president, Mike Wallace, testified against this legislation as well as SB 1063 stating, “this legislation does not allow for the control of pests by the professional application of prescriptive, least toxic and most effective EPA registered pest controls. This legislation has the potential to extend the damage to even more municipal spaces, further letting our playing fields to deteriorate.”
Late in the legislative session HB 6035 and SB 1063 were merged into this proposal. In anticipation of Sen. Kennedy gaining enough support to pass this legislation Capitol Consulting worked closely with our legislative allies to narrow the scope of this legislation before the Senate acted on this proposal. In order to gain bipartisan support for the legislation Sen. Kennedy agreed to narrow the legislation to only apply the pesticide ban to municipal playgrounds. We were able to ensure in the legislation that municipal playgrounds would not encompass athletic fields or playgrounds on school property. Also, we inserted language to ensure that certified pesticide applicator was the only person able to apply lawn care pesticides on municipal playgrounds. However, any person may apply pesticide if the municipal determines there is need for an emergency application to control pest population.
Even though we were able to mitigate and significantly narrow the scope of this legislation CTEC and our coalition maintained our opposition to this legislation. Sen. Kennedy was able to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and in the closing days of the session the Senate on 34 to 2 vote approved the bill. However, working with our legislative allies in the House we were able to kill this bill in the House by having our allies file numerous amendments on this proposal. Without enough time to debate this bill in the House before the June 3rd adjournment this bill failed to be acted upon by the House.
Despite our successful strategy to kill this bill during the regular session, the Senate Democrat leaders on behalf of Sen. Kennedy were able to have the language in this bill merged into one of the budget implementation bill in the June 29th Special Session. See SB 1502 for a complete summary of the pesticide legislation.
HB 6035 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Facilities and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
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This bill was introduced as a committee bill in the Environment Committee. The bill sought to impose certain restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to state agency property, but not the University of Connecticut Research Farm. The bill sought to establish electronic public notice requirements for these applications. Existing law requires state departments, agencies, or institutions to use IPM at their facilities if the DEEP has a model pest control management plan in place for them.
In addition, the bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was merged into SB 366 during the regular session and was later merged into SB 1502 during the June 29th Special Session. See these bills for more details.
HB 5288 An Act Extending the Pesticide Ban to High School Athletic Fields and Public Parks
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation, which sought to expand the current Kto8 ban on lawn care pesticides to all public and private high schools. This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5728 An Act Concerning Pesticides on Municipal State and Private Fields
Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) introduced this legislation which sought to expand the ban on the use of lawn care pesticides on all school grounds including all municipal, state and private fields used by students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. This bill failed in the Environment Committee.
HB 6897 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Operated Parks, Athletic Fields and Playgrounds
This bill seeks to ban the nonemergency application of certain pesticides in state-operated parks, athletic fields and playgrounds. For a limited time, it allows certified pesticide applicators to apply lawn care pesticide at the athletic fields to transition to nontoxic care, as long as they follow an IPM plan. The bill also requires the controlling authority responsible for maintaining the park, field or playground to provide notice, within existing budgetary resources, at least 24-hours before any pesticide or lawn-care pesticide application. The bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any public or private preschool or school with students in grade eight or lower.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed when the House failed to take action on this proposal before adjournment.
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SB 1063 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides on Municipal Playgrounds and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As originally introduced by the Environment Committee this bill sought to impose restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal athletic fields, greens, parks, and playgrounds, but not playgrounds on school premises. The bill would have established electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
In addition, the bill would have exempted certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. SB 1063 also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers. Lastly, the bill makes a technical change, removing a reference to the day care center statutes.
This bill sought to establish restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal playgrounds. It generally requires certified pesticide applicators to apply pesticide and bans lawn care pesticide applications. But it allows emergency applications to eliminate immediate threats to human health. The bill also creates electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
Additionally, the bill exempts certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Environment Committee and was referred to the Planning & Development Committee. Capitol Consulting and our coalition partners worked to defeat this bill in the Planning & Development Committee. Because of efforts to defeat this bill, the Planning & Development Committee voted to narrow the scope of the legislation to only ban the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.
This bill was later merged into SB 366 and SB 1502. See those bills for a complete summary on pesticide legislation.
HB 5290 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Glyphosates in Watershed Areas
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation to ban the use of glyphosates near watershed areas. This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5024 An Act Reestablishing the Pesticide Advisory Council
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Our legislative allies, Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam) and Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-Hebron), introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This bill sought to re-establish a Pesticide Advisory Council that would evaluate pesticides and make recommendation for use by schools, municipalities and state agencies. The Environment Committee did not act on this legislation.
HB 5025 An Act Authorizing the Emergency Application of Pesticides on Certain School Grounds for Purpose of Controlling Grubs
Rep. Ziobron and Rep. Mulligan introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to authorize the emergency application of pesticides on athletic fields located at schools that house kindergarten through eighth grade in order to provide for grub control. The Environment Committee did not act upon this legislation.
Legislation of Interest that Passed
SB 158 An Act Concerning Landscape Architect Licenses
This act prohibits individuals without a degree from a college or school of landscape architecture from taking the examination required for licensure as a landscape architect in Connecticut and reduces, for certain applicants, the amount of practical experience needed to qualify to take the examination.
Under current law, there are two ways that a person may become eligible to sit for the examination. The individual must either graduates from an accredited college or school of landscape architecture or have at least two years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect. Current law also allows individuals to sit for the examination if they have eight years' practical experience in landscape architectural work of a grade and character satisfactory to the State Board of Landscape Architects. This new law eliminates this option. Instead, it requires candidates without a degree from an accredited institution to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related discipline or in landscape architecture from a non-accredited college with a curriculum consistent with an accredited program, as determined by the board with the consumer protection commissioner's consent and four years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect.
Public Act: 15-104
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
SB 867 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Firewood Transport
This bill reduces the penalty, from a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 to a warning or $85 or $200 fine, depending on the circumstances, for transporting firewood in violation of a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) quarantine or regulation.
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The fine for violating a CAES quarantine or regulation under current law is at least $500 but capped at $2,500. The bill reduces to $200 the fine for improperly transporting firewood for sale. If the firewood is for personal use, a first-time violator who discloses its point of origin receives a warning and subsequent offenses are subject to an $85 fine. Violators who fail to disclose the origin information are subject to an $85 fine regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The bill allows violators to pay fines without having to appear in court, using the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.
Public Act: 15-92
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
Legislation of Interest that Failed
• Tree Legislation
HB 5207 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) introduced this legislation in the Judiciary Committee. This legislation sought to impose liability on an owner of private real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb from a tree located on such property that falls on adjoining private real property. This legislation died but was merged into HB 5602.
HB 5602 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
This bill was raised by the Judiciary Committee and is similar to legislation that Governor Malloy vetoed during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed the legislation because nonprofit land trusts would have been adversely affected by the proposal. This legislation exempts nonprofits from this proposal.
In addition, this legislation sought to establish conditions in which a private landowner is liable to pay for removal of a tree or tree limb that falls from his or her property onto an adjoining private owner's land. It also specifically excludes political subdivisions of the state.
This bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee but failed when the House and Senate failed to act before adjournment.
SB 515 An Act Requiring Notice to the Property Owner Before the Department of Transportation Cuts Trees
Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) introduced this bill in the Transportation Committee. This sought to require notice to property owners before the Department of
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Transportation (DOT) cuts trees. This bill received a public hearing but failed to be acted upon by the Transportation Committee.
SB 833 An Act Concerning Notice to Allow for Public Comment Prior to Tree Cutting by the Department of Transportation
This legislation was also introduced by Sen. Linares and sought to require DOT to give notice to a town before cutting of trees. In addition, the legislation would have given the town an opportunity to hold public hearings. Following a public hearing before the Transportation Committee the bill died with no action taken.
HB 5365 An Act Concerning the Construction of Spite Fences and the Planting of Spite Hedges and Trees
Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) introduced this bill in the Judiciary Committee. This bill sought to ensure that a municipality is vested with the authority to prohibit the construction of spite fences and the planting of spite hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor’s water view. This bill died when the Judiciary Committee failed to schedule it for a public hearing.
HB 7012 An Act Concerning a Municipality’s Authority to Regulate the Construction of Fences and the Planting of Trees and Shrubs
Similar to HB 5365 the Judiciary Committee raised this legislation, which sought to ensure that a municipality has the authority to prohibit the construction of fences or the planting of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that would interfere with a property owner’s ability to enjoy their own property. This bill died after a public hearing.
• Running Bamboo Legislation
HB 5287 An Act Concerning Running Bamboo
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to grandfather running bamboo that was planted prior to 2012 from the statutory planting restrictions approved during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. In addition, this legislation would have enabled municipalities to have authority to enforce these restrictions. This legislation failed to receive a public hearing in the Environment Committee and died with no action taken.
HB6032 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning the Use of Barrier Systems for Certain Plantings
HB 6032 was raised by the Environment Committee and sought to make changes to running bamboo law, which was approved during the 2014 session. This bill would have prohibited people from planting or letting anyone plant running bamboo on their property within 40-feet of abutting property or a public right-of-way and eliminates the option of containing running bamboo by a barrier system or aboveground planter.
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The Environment Committee approved this bill but the House did not act on this proposal before the June 3rd adjournment.
HB 6043 An Act Clarifying the Running Bamboo Law and Providing for Local Enforcement of Such Law and the Award of Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs for Civil Suits Brought to Enforce Such Planting Restrictions
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed this legislation. HB 6043 sought to clarify the forty-foot setback provision concerning the planting of running bamboo, provide for the exclusive enforcement of the restrictions by municipal zoning enforcement officers and tree wardens, authorize municipalities to retain all fines associated with the enforcement of such restrictions and authorize the award of attorney's fees, court costs and remediation expenses in any civil suit brought to enforce such restrictions.
This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 144 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to clarify that running bamboo may not be planted within forty feet of a neighboring property regardless of whether it is contained by a properly installed barrier system.
This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 145 An Act Concerning Civil Actions Brought to Enforce the Law Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Boucher introduced this proposal in the Environment Committee to specifically authorize individuals to bring civil actions to the Superior Court for the enforcement of restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo.
The Environment Committee failed to act on this proposal.
SB 147 An Act Requiring Local Zoning Enforcement Officers to Enforce Restrictions Concerning the Planting of Running Bamboo
This bill was introduced by Sen. Boucher to require local zoning enforcement officers to enforce restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo. Any monies from such fines would be paid to the applicable municipality.
This bill died in the Environment Committee with no action was taken.
• Tick & Bed Bug Legislation
HB5445 An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Tick Borne Illnesses
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This bill sought to establish a task force to reduce the number of ticks that cause illness and provide awareness and education to the public concerning tick-borne illnesses that will lead to prevention and better treatment. Reps. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford), David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Peggy Sayers (D-Windsor Locks) introduced this legislation.
The Environment Committee did not take action on this proposal.
HB 5629 An Act Designating May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month
This bill introduced by the Government Administration & Election (GAE) Committee would have required the governor to proclaim the month of May of each year as Lyme Disease Awareness Month to heighten awareness about symptoms and available treatments.
Though approved by the GAE Committee without opposition the legislation failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
SB 207 An Act Concerning Funding for a Lyme Disease Prevention and Education Program
This bill was introduced by the Committee on Children and called for $450,000 to be appropriated to DPH, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, for the purpose of a grant in the amount of $170,00 to enable the department to develop and execute a social marketing campaign to educate entities in the state regarding Lyme disease prevention and a grant in the amount of $280,000 to the Ridgefield Health Department to develop and implement a regional community prevention program for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses utilizing the BLAST Lyme disease prevention program model.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed in the Appropriations Committee because of the negative fiscal impact to the General Fund.
HB 6759 An Act Concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bed Bugs Infestations
This bill sought to establish a framework for identifying and treating bed bug infestations in residential rental properties, including public housing. It sets separate duties and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, including notice, inspection, and treatment requirements. Of interest to CTEC this legislation sought to require landlords to hire and pay a pest control agent to treat bed bug infestations if they are unable to successfully treat the infestation on their own.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Housing Committee. In addition, the Public Health Committee approved the legislation but it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
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• Water Legislation
HB 6993 An Act Concerning Water Systems
This legislation sought to require by July 1, 2016 the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study regarding water systems and report their findings to the General Assembly’s Energy Committee.
This bill was approved by the Energy Committee but was not considered by the House before adjournment.
SB 363 An Act Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental
SB 363 required DEEP to conduct a study of private property owners' water rights in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of a private property owner's rights to the groundwater located on such property and the superiority of any such right, if any, to the right of any other person, authority, corporation, municipality or state to utilize such groundwater.
The Environment Committee raised this bill where it received a public hearing. Following the hearing the committee failed to act on the proposal and the bill died.
• Consumer Protection Legislation
SB 387 An Act Requiring Landscapers to Register with the Department of Consumer Protection
Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) introduced this bill, which would have required landscaper to register with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). This bill failed to be acted upon by the General Law Committee.
HB6808 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Certain Occupational Licensing Statutes
This bill was introduced by the General Law Committee and sought to makes several changes to DCP occupational licensing enforcement laws. We monitored this bill closely for CTEC and CICA members. First, the bill makes it a crime to negligently engage in certain work without the required license or employ unlicensed people and imposes civil penalties for negligently employing them. It also makes the violations unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The bill requires the DCP commissioner or appropriate examining board to issue cease work orders for certain unlicensed work. It also requires, rather than allows, the commissioner to bring certain complaints before DCP's occupational boards or commissions for formal hearings and the bill requires the commissioner to consult with the boards and commissions before adopting procedural rules and regulations affecting them.
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Finally, the bill adds penalties for certain licensing violations related to electrical work; plumbing and piping work; solar work; heating, piping, cooling, and sheet metal work; fire protection sprinkler systems work; elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; irrigation work; automotive glass or flat glass work; or swimming pool construction or maintenance and repair work.
The General Law Committee approved this bill, however it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment. This bill will likely be reintroduced during the 2016 session.
• Other Legislation of Interest
HB 5653 An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern for Children
By January 1, 2016 this bill would have required the DPH commissioner to consultant with the commissioners DEEP and DCP to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” of high concern for children. In doing so, the commissioner must consider the potential exposure of children and developing fetuses to each chemical. The commissioners must review and update the list at least every two years. This bill is introduced annually at the General Assembly; Capitol Consulting monitors this proposal for potential impact on products used in the green industry.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Committee on Children but was held by the Public Health Committee.
HB 5706 An Act Establishing a Municipal Grant Program for Maintaining Natural Grass Playing Fields
This bill was introduced at the request of two legislators that support an expansion on the ban of pesticide use on school grounds. Reps. Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford) and Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) sought this proposal to provide $800,000 for the purpose of establishing a municipal grant program that will provide grants to towns in order to assist in the costs associated with maintaining natural grass playing fields.
This legislation acknowledges that maintaining fields under the pesticide ban is costly to municipalities. This bill was referred to the Environment Committee. The committee failed to raise the bill for a hearing and it died with no action taken.
HB 6041 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
HB 6052 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
Both of these bills sought to limit the sale and distribution of genetically modified grass seeds. Similar legislation was overwhelming rejected in the House during the 2014 session. Neither of these bills were raised by the Environment Committee and they died.
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SB 984 An Act Concerning the Unionization of Agricultural Workers, Nonpartisan Legislative Management Employees and State Education Resource Center Employees
As originally introduced by the Labor Committee this bill sought to permit the unionization of agricultural workers. Under the definition of “agricultural worker” in the legislation it could have been interrupted to include landscape workers. CTEC worked closely with the CT Farm Bureau as well as Phil Grande submitting testimony in opposition to this legislation. As a result of their testimony and lobbying of the committee the leadership of the Labor Committee agreed to removal agricultural workers from the legislation.
Even with this change the bill failed to be acted upon by the Senate before adjournment.
Connecticut Environmental Council, Inc.
2015 Legislative Summary
Prepared by
Michael Dugan
Capitol Consulting LLC
July 30, 2015
The General Assembly adjourned the 2015 legislative session on June 3rd at midnight. With the conclusion of Veto Session last week the 2015 session has been brought to a close. The legislature dealt with thousands of bills and amendments during the 5-month session and as a result legislators were unable to conclude their business by the Constitutional deadline. The General Assembly called a Special Session, which was held on June 29th. In Special Session the General Assembly enacted legislation that implements the state budget, bonding projects, conveyance of state lands, school building projects, the Governor’s second chances legislation and a proposal dealing with excessive use of force by law enforcement. In all the General Assembly considered and approved nearly a 1,000 pages of legislation in the one day session.
The 2015 session was once again an active session on lawn care pesticide legislation, with 10 bills introduced during the regular session. Since 2009 CTEC and our coalition partners have been successful in defeating legislation that sought to expand the lawn care pesticide ban beyond the current kindergarten to eighth grade ban on public and private school grounds. As you will note below there were numerous proposals that sought to expand the current ban to public and private high schools, municipal parks and athletic fields and state properties. During the regular session CTEC and our coalition partners were successful in defeating all of these proposals as we have done in the previous six legislative sessions.
However, in the June 29th Special Session our legislative opponents inserted language from one of the bills we killed during the regular session in the nearly 700-page budget implementation proposal. Knowing that this was a possibility we worked with our legislative allies to mitigate and narrow this language. As approved this legislation expand the lawn care pesticide ban to only municipal playgrounds. For a complete summary of the proposal refer to the SB 1502 below.
During the 2015 regular and special session Capitol Consulting tracked 56 bills for the Connecticut Environmental Council (CTEC). Find below a summary of the major bills of interest.
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Pesticide Legislation
SB 1502 An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, Concerning General Government, Education, Health and Human Services and Bonds of the State
This is the 700-page budget implementation bill that was considered and approved during a June 29th Special Session following the adjournment of the regular session on June 3rd. This bill includes language from SB 366 (see below) from the regular session. Despite our effort to kill SB 366 during the regular session legislative proponents were able to add the language to SB 1502. SB 1502 changes the notice requirement when pesticides are used on school grounds, exempts some products from the pesticide ban on school grounds Kto8, restricts the use of pesticide on municipal playgrounds and requires the adoption of regulation governing the use of lawn care pesticides by state agencies and other state departments.
• Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds
Under current law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information of pesticide applications directly to the parents and guardians who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
For schools without IPM plans, the bill requires this notice to be sent electronically, rather than by regular mail as current law requires. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires schools with IPM plans to send the information by any means practicable.
The bill also adds the target pest to the information schools with IPM plans must provide when notifying parents about pesticide applications, making it consistent with the information schools without IPM plans must provide. The law already requires both school types to provide the pesticide's active ingredient, date and location of application, and person who may be contacted for more information.
The bill requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications.
This bill requires the use of internet and social media, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24-hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the direct notice describe above on or through the:
1. homepage of the website of the school where the application will occur or, if there is no website, the homepage of the board's website, and
2. school’s or board's primary social media account.
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For schools without IPM plans, the online and social media notice requirements must be made at the same time as the electronic notification to registered parents and guardians when there are emergency applications to address human health threats.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• School Ground Lawn Care Pesticide Application
Current law prohibits the use of “lawn care pesticide” on the grounds of preschools and schools with students in grade eight or lower, absent a human health emergency. Under this law a “lawn care pesticide” is a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled according to federal law for use in lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites or areas.
The bill exempts the following products from this definition, thus allowing their application on the grounds of these schools:
1. EPA-registered microbial or biochemical pesticides;
2. horticultural soaps or oils registered with EPA and without any synthetic pesticide or synergist (enhancer of pesticide properties); and
3. certain pesticides classified by EPA as exempt material, such aspheromones, biological specimen preservatives, and minimum-risk pesticides.
The bill defines a “microbial pesticide” as a pesticide that has a microorganism as the active ingredient, and a “biochemical pesticide” is a naturally occurring substance that controls pests by nontoxic means.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
• Pesticide Use at Municipal Playgrounds
The bill restricts pesticide and lawn care pesticide use on municipal playgrounds. The restrictions apply to outdoor areas designated, dedicated, and customarily used for playing by children. This includes areas with a swing set, slide, climbing structure, play set, or device or object that children play on. The bill specifies that it does not cover fields or open space used primarily for sporting activities and playgrounds on school premises.
Under the bill, only a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-certified pesticide applicators may apply pesticide on municipal playgrounds, except in an emergency. Anyone may apply pesticide in an emergency to eliminate an immediate human health threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects, if:
1. the executive head of the municipal department responsible for the playground's maintenance or their designee finds the application is necessary,
2. they decides it is impractical to obtain a certified applicator, and
3. the application does not involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
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For purposes of applying pesticide on municipal playgrounds, a “pesticide” is a fungicide used on plants, an insecticide, an herbicide, or a rodenticide, but not a sanitizer, disinfectant, antimicrobial agent, or pesticide bait.
The bill bans applying lawn care pesticide on municipal playgrounds, absent a human health emergency. For an emergency lawn care pesticide application to occur under the bill, there must be an immediate threat, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or stinging insects. The municipal authority must determine the application is necessary, and the application cannot involve an EPA- or DEEP-restricted use pesticide.
The bill applies the same definition of “lawn care pesticide,” and the same exceptions provided above, as for applications on school grounds Kto8.
The bill requires public notice of pesticide or lawn care pesticide applications on municipal playgrounds. For a pesticide application, advance public notice must be given, if the situation allows, at least 24-hours before the application. But if the municipal authority determines an emergency application of pesticide or lawn care pesticide is needed, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
The bill requires the notice to be made by the municipal authority within existing budgetary resources. The notice must be posted on the municipality's website and include the pesticide's active ingredient, target pest, and date or proposed date and location of the application.
Under the bill, the municipal authority must keep a copy of each notice for five years from the pesticide application date. All copies must be available to the public.
This section of the bill is effective on October 1, 2015.
• Regulations on Pesticide Application Records
Under current law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. In addition, current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under the bill, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans.
The bill also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the reason for pesticide use, location of pesticide application, application frequency at each location, EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and application cost.
This section of the bill is effective upon passage.
Public Act: 15-5
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Effective Date: Various
Signed by Governor: June 30, 2015
SB 366 An Act Concerning Notice of Pesticides Applications at Public Schools and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As original introduced by the Environment Committee co-chairs, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven), this legislation sought to ban the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private schools Kto12 as well as other state and municipal properties. During the regular session Capitol Consulting, CTEC and our coalition partners worked to defeat SB 366.
At a March 11th public hearing before the Environment Committee CTEC president, Mike Wallace, testified against this legislation as well as SB 1063 stating, “this legislation does not allow for the control of pests by the professional application of prescriptive, least toxic and most effective EPA registered pest controls. This legislation has the potential to extend the damage to even more municipal spaces, further letting our playing fields to deteriorate.”
Late in the legislative session HB 6035 and SB 1063 were merged into this proposal. In anticipation of Sen. Kennedy gaining enough support to pass this legislation Capitol Consulting worked closely with our legislative allies to narrow the scope of this legislation before the Senate acted on this proposal. In order to gain bipartisan support for the legislation Sen. Kennedy agreed to narrow the legislation to only apply the pesticide ban to municipal playgrounds. We were able to ensure in the legislation that municipal playgrounds would not encompass athletic fields or playgrounds on school property. Also, we inserted language to ensure that certified pesticide applicator was the only person able to apply lawn care pesticides on municipal playgrounds. However, any person may apply pesticide if the municipal determines there is need for an emergency application to control pest population.
Even though we were able to mitigate and significantly narrow the scope of this legislation CTEC and our coalition maintained our opposition to this legislation. Sen. Kennedy was able to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and in the closing days of the session the Senate on 34 to 2 vote approved the bill. However, working with our legislative allies in the House we were able to kill this bill in the House by having our allies file numerous amendments on this proposal. Without enough time to debate this bill in the House before the June 3rd adjournment this bill failed to be acted upon by the House.
Despite our successful strategy to kill this bill during the regular session, the Senate Democrat leaders on behalf of Sen. Kennedy were able to have the language in this bill merged into one of the budget implementation bill in the June 29th Special Session. See SB 1502 for a complete summary of the pesticide legislation.
HB 6035 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Facilities and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
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This bill was introduced as a committee bill in the Environment Committee. The bill sought to impose certain restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to state agency property, but not the University of Connecticut Research Farm. The bill sought to establish electronic public notice requirements for these applications. Existing law requires state departments, agencies, or institutions to use IPM at their facilities if the DEEP has a model pest control management plan in place for them.
In addition, the bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was merged into SB 366 during the regular session and was later merged into SB 1502 during the June 29th Special Session. See these bills for more details.
HB 5288 An Act Extending the Pesticide Ban to High School Athletic Fields and Public Parks
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation, which sought to expand the current Kto8 ban on lawn care pesticides to all public and private high schools. This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5728 An Act Concerning Pesticides on Municipal State and Private Fields
Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) introduced this legislation which sought to expand the ban on the use of lawn care pesticides on all school grounds including all municipal, state and private fields used by students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. This bill failed in the Environment Committee.
HB 6897 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at State Operated Parks, Athletic Fields and Playgrounds
This bill seeks to ban the nonemergency application of certain pesticides in state-operated parks, athletic fields and playgrounds. For a limited time, it allows certified pesticide applicators to apply lawn care pesticide at the athletic fields to transition to nontoxic care, as long as they follow an IPM plan. The bill also requires the controlling authority responsible for maintaining the park, field or playground to provide notice, within existing budgetary resources, at least 24-hours before any pesticide or lawn-care pesticide application. The bill exempts certain products from the ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any public or private preschool or school with students in grade eight or lower.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed when the House failed to take action on this proposal before adjournment.
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SB 1063 An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides on Municipal Playgrounds and Authorizing the Use of Certain Microbials
As originally introduced by the Environment Committee this bill sought to impose restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal athletic fields, greens, parks, and playgrounds, but not playgrounds on school premises. The bill would have established electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
In addition, the bill would have exempted certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. SB 1063 also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers. Lastly, the bill makes a technical change, removing a reference to the day care center statutes.
This bill sought to establish restrictions on applying pesticide, including lawn care pesticide, to municipal playgrounds. It generally requires certified pesticide applicators to apply pesticide and bans lawn care pesticide applications. But it allows emergency applications to eliminate immediate threats to human health. The bill also creates electronic public notice requirements for these applications.
Additionally, the bill exempts certain products from the existing ban on nonemergency application of lawn care pesticide on the grounds of public or private preschools or schools with students in grade eight or lower. It also specifies that to be exempt from the law's pesticide application requirements for schools, sanitizers, disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and pesticide baits must be in tamper-resistant containers.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Environment Committee and was referred to the Planning & Development Committee. Capitol Consulting and our coalition partners worked to defeat this bill in the Planning & Development Committee. Because of efforts to defeat this bill, the Planning & Development Committee voted to narrow the scope of the legislation to only ban the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.
This bill was later merged into SB 366 and SB 1502. See those bills for a complete summary on pesticide legislation.
HB 5290 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Glyphosates in Watershed Areas
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation to ban the use of glyphosates near watershed areas. This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
HB 5024 An Act Reestablishing the Pesticide Advisory Council
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Our legislative allies, Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam) and Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-Hebron), introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This bill sought to re-establish a Pesticide Advisory Council that would evaluate pesticides and make recommendation for use by schools, municipalities and state agencies. The Environment Committee did not act on this legislation.
HB 5025 An Act Authorizing the Emergency Application of Pesticides on Certain School Grounds for Purpose of Controlling Grubs
Rep. Ziobron and Rep. Mulligan introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to authorize the emergency application of pesticides on athletic fields located at schools that house kindergarten through eighth grade in order to provide for grub control. The Environment Committee did not act upon this legislation.
Legislation of Interest that Passed
SB 158 An Act Concerning Landscape Architect Licenses
This act prohibits individuals without a degree from a college or school of landscape architecture from taking the examination required for licensure as a landscape architect in Connecticut and reduces, for certain applicants, the amount of practical experience needed to qualify to take the examination.
Under current law, there are two ways that a person may become eligible to sit for the examination. The individual must either graduates from an accredited college or school of landscape architecture or have at least two years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect. Current law also allows individuals to sit for the examination if they have eight years' practical experience in landscape architectural work of a grade and character satisfactory to the State Board of Landscape Architects. This new law eliminates this option. Instead, it requires candidates without a degree from an accredited institution to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related discipline or in landscape architecture from a non-accredited college with a curriculum consistent with an accredited program, as determined by the board with the consumer protection commissioner's consent and four years' practical experience directly supervised by a licensed landscape architect.
Public Act: 15-104
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
SB 867 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Firewood Transport
This bill reduces the penalty, from a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 to a warning or $85 or $200 fine, depending on the circumstances, for transporting firewood in violation of a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) quarantine or regulation.
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The fine for violating a CAES quarantine or regulation under current law is at least $500 but capped at $2,500. The bill reduces to $200 the fine for improperly transporting firewood for sale. If the firewood is for personal use, a first-time violator who discloses its point of origin receives a warning and subsequent offenses are subject to an $85 fine. Violators who fail to disclose the origin information are subject to an $85 fine regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The bill allows violators to pay fines without having to appear in court, using the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.
Public Act: 15-92
Effective Date: Upon Passage
Signed by Governor: June 23, 2015
Legislation of Interest that Failed
• Tree Legislation
HB 5207 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) introduced this legislation in the Judiciary Committee. This legislation sought to impose liability on an owner of private real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb from a tree located on such property that falls on adjoining private real property. This legislation died but was merged into HB 5602.
HB 5602 An Act Concerning a Property Owner’s Liability for the Expenses of Removing a Fallen Tree or Limb
This bill was raised by the Judiciary Committee and is similar to legislation that Governor Malloy vetoed during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed the legislation because nonprofit land trusts would have been adversely affected by the proposal. This legislation exempts nonprofits from this proposal.
In addition, this legislation sought to establish conditions in which a private landowner is liable to pay for removal of a tree or tree limb that falls from his or her property onto an adjoining private owner's land. It also specifically excludes political subdivisions of the state.
This bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee but failed when the House and Senate failed to act before adjournment.
SB 515 An Act Requiring Notice to the Property Owner Before the Department of Transportation Cuts Trees
Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) introduced this bill in the Transportation Committee. This sought to require notice to property owners before the Department of
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Transportation (DOT) cuts trees. This bill received a public hearing but failed to be acted upon by the Transportation Committee.
SB 833 An Act Concerning Notice to Allow for Public Comment Prior to Tree Cutting by the Department of Transportation
This legislation was also introduced by Sen. Linares and sought to require DOT to give notice to a town before cutting of trees. In addition, the legislation would have given the town an opportunity to hold public hearings. Following a public hearing before the Transportation Committee the bill died with no action taken.
HB 5365 An Act Concerning the Construction of Spite Fences and the Planting of Spite Hedges and Trees
Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) introduced this bill in the Judiciary Committee. This bill sought to ensure that a municipality is vested with the authority to prohibit the construction of spite fences and the planting of spite hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor’s water view. This bill died when the Judiciary Committee failed to schedule it for a public hearing.
HB 7012 An Act Concerning a Municipality’s Authority to Regulate the Construction of Fences and the Planting of Trees and Shrubs
Similar to HB 5365 the Judiciary Committee raised this legislation, which sought to ensure that a municipality has the authority to prohibit the construction of fences or the planting of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that would interfere with a property owner’s ability to enjoy their own property. This bill died after a public hearing.
• Running Bamboo Legislation
HB 5287 An Act Concerning Running Bamboo
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to grandfather running bamboo that was planted prior to 2012 from the statutory planting restrictions approved during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. In addition, this legislation would have enabled municipalities to have authority to enforce these restrictions. This legislation failed to receive a public hearing in the Environment Committee and died with no action taken.
HB6032 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning the Use of Barrier Systems for Certain Plantings
HB 6032 was raised by the Environment Committee and sought to make changes to running bamboo law, which was approved during the 2014 session. This bill would have prohibited people from planting or letting anyone plant running bamboo on their property within 40-feet of abutting property or a public right-of-way and eliminates the option of containing running bamboo by a barrier system or aboveground planter.
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The Environment Committee approved this bill but the House did not act on this proposal before the June 3rd adjournment.
HB 6043 An Act Clarifying the Running Bamboo Law and Providing for Local Enforcement of Such Law and the Award of Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs for Civil Suits Brought to Enforce Such Planting Restrictions
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed this legislation. HB 6043 sought to clarify the forty-foot setback provision concerning the planting of running bamboo, provide for the exclusive enforcement of the restrictions by municipal zoning enforcement officers and tree wardens, authorize municipalities to retain all fines associated with the enforcement of such restrictions and authorize the award of attorney's fees, court costs and remediation expenses in any civil suit brought to enforce such restrictions.
This legislation failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 144 An Act Clarifying Provisions of the General Statutes Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) introduced this legislation in the Environment Committee. This legislation sought to clarify that running bamboo may not be planted within forty feet of a neighboring property regardless of whether it is contained by a properly installed barrier system.
This bill failed to be acted upon by the Environment Committee.
SB 145 An Act Concerning Civil Actions Brought to Enforce the Law Concerning Running Bamboo
Sen. Boucher introduced this proposal in the Environment Committee to specifically authorize individuals to bring civil actions to the Superior Court for the enforcement of restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo.
The Environment Committee failed to act on this proposal.
SB 147 An Act Requiring Local Zoning Enforcement Officers to Enforce Restrictions Concerning the Planting of Running Bamboo
This bill was introduced by Sen. Boucher to require local zoning enforcement officers to enforce restrictions concerning the planting of running bamboo. Any monies from such fines would be paid to the applicable municipality.
This bill died in the Environment Committee with no action was taken.
• Tick & Bed Bug Legislation
HB5445 An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study Tick Borne Illnesses
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This bill sought to establish a task force to reduce the number of ticks that cause illness and provide awareness and education to the public concerning tick-borne illnesses that will lead to prevention and better treatment. Reps. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford), David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Peggy Sayers (D-Windsor Locks) introduced this legislation.
The Environment Committee did not take action on this proposal.
HB 5629 An Act Designating May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month
This bill introduced by the Government Administration & Election (GAE) Committee would have required the governor to proclaim the month of May of each year as Lyme Disease Awareness Month to heighten awareness about symptoms and available treatments.
Though approved by the GAE Committee without opposition the legislation failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
SB 207 An Act Concerning Funding for a Lyme Disease Prevention and Education Program
This bill was introduced by the Committee on Children and called for $450,000 to be appropriated to DPH, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, for the purpose of a grant in the amount of $170,00 to enable the department to develop and execute a social marketing campaign to educate entities in the state regarding Lyme disease prevention and a grant in the amount of $280,000 to the Ridgefield Health Department to develop and implement a regional community prevention program for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses utilizing the BLAST Lyme disease prevention program model.
This bill was approved by the Committee on Children and the Public Health Committee but failed in the Appropriations Committee because of the negative fiscal impact to the General Fund.
HB 6759 An Act Concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bed Bugs Infestations
This bill sought to establish a framework for identifying and treating bed bug infestations in residential rental properties, including public housing. It sets separate duties and responsibilities for landlords and tenants, including notice, inspection, and treatment requirements. Of interest to CTEC this legislation sought to require landlords to hire and pay a pest control agent to treat bed bug infestations if they are unable to successfully treat the infestation on their own.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Housing Committee. In addition, the Public Health Committee approved the legislation but it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment.
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• Water Legislation
HB 6993 An Act Concerning Water Systems
This legislation sought to require by July 1, 2016 the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study regarding water systems and report their findings to the General Assembly’s Energy Committee.
This bill was approved by the Energy Committee but was not considered by the House before adjournment.
SB 363 An Act Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental
SB 363 required DEEP to conduct a study of private property owners' water rights in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of a private property owner's rights to the groundwater located on such property and the superiority of any such right, if any, to the right of any other person, authority, corporation, municipality or state to utilize such groundwater.
The Environment Committee raised this bill where it received a public hearing. Following the hearing the committee failed to act on the proposal and the bill died.
• Consumer Protection Legislation
SB 387 An Act Requiring Landscapers to Register with the Department of Consumer Protection
Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) introduced this bill, which would have required landscaper to register with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). This bill failed to be acted upon by the General Law Committee.
HB6808 An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Certain Occupational Licensing Statutes
This bill was introduced by the General Law Committee and sought to makes several changes to DCP occupational licensing enforcement laws. We monitored this bill closely for CTEC and CICA members. First, the bill makes it a crime to negligently engage in certain work without the required license or employ unlicensed people and imposes civil penalties for negligently employing them. It also makes the violations unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The bill requires the DCP commissioner or appropriate examining board to issue cease work orders for certain unlicensed work. It also requires, rather than allows, the commissioner to bring certain complaints before DCP's occupational boards or commissions for formal hearings and the bill requires the commissioner to consult with the boards and commissions before adopting procedural rules and regulations affecting them.
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Finally, the bill adds penalties for certain licensing violations related to electrical work; plumbing and piping work; solar work; heating, piping, cooling, and sheet metal work; fire protection sprinkler systems work; elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; irrigation work; automotive glass or flat glass work; or swimming pool construction or maintenance and repair work.
The General Law Committee approved this bill, however it failed to be acted upon by the House before adjournment. This bill will likely be reintroduced during the 2016 session.
• Other Legislation of Interest
HB 5653 An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern for Children
By January 1, 2016 this bill would have required the DPH commissioner to consultant with the commissioners DEEP and DCP to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” of high concern for children. In doing so, the commissioner must consider the potential exposure of children and developing fetuses to each chemical. The commissioners must review and update the list at least every two years. This bill is introduced annually at the General Assembly; Capitol Consulting monitors this proposal for potential impact on products used in the green industry.
This bill was introduced and approved by the Committee on Children but was held by the Public Health Committee.
HB 5706 An Act Establishing a Municipal Grant Program for Maintaining Natural Grass Playing Fields
This bill was introduced at the request of two legislators that support an expansion on the ban of pesticide use on school grounds. Reps. Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford) and Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) sought this proposal to provide $800,000 for the purpose of establishing a municipal grant program that will provide grants to towns in order to assist in the costs associated with maintaining natural grass playing fields.
This legislation acknowledges that maintaining fields under the pesticide ban is costly to municipalities. This bill was referred to the Environment Committee. The committee failed to raise the bill for a hearing and it died with no action taken.
HB 6041 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
HB 6052 An Act Concerning Genetically Modified Grass Seeds
Both of these bills sought to limit the sale and distribution of genetically modified grass seeds. Similar legislation was overwhelming rejected in the House during the 2014 session. Neither of these bills were raised by the Environment Committee and they died.
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SB 984 An Act Concerning the Unionization of Agricultural Workers, Nonpartisan Legislative Management Employees and State Education Resource Center Employees
As originally introduced by the Labor Committee this bill sought to permit the unionization of agricultural workers. Under the definition of “agricultural worker” in the legislation it could have been interrupted to include landscape workers. CTEC worked closely with the CT Farm Bureau as well as Phil Grande submitting testimony in opposition to this legislation. As a result of their testimony and lobbying of the committee the leadership of the Labor Committee agreed to removal agricultural workers from the legislation.
Even with this change the bill failed to be acted upon by the Senate before adjournment.