Proposed NYS bills serve to protect honey bees, other pollinators


Last year, I met with State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi to discuss her bill S 407, which relates to the preservation of honey bee colonies. I also made a YouTube video on her bill. Recently, I checked to see if the legislation made any progress and found it continues to remain in the agricultural committee. I was curious to see that there are several proposed bills for the purpose of protecting all kinds of pollinators. Some of the bills focus on neonicotinoids—a group of insecticides similar to nicotine that are toxic to bees. These bills propose neonicotinoids be classified as pesticides and give the reason for the classification as the protection of bees.

I believe many people are interested in learning more about these proposed laws. They are summarized below. I also report ways you can help protect pollinators in the future. Each bill in the state senate has an equivalent in the assembly. For example, state senate bill S 407 is referenced in the assembly as A 6622.

Biaggi’s bill would require any person, including certified and licensed pesticide applicators and commercial pesticide applicators and operators working in the state, to contact the division of plant industry of the department of agriculture and markets by phone at least 24 hours in advance of extermination of honey bees to obtain assistance in trying to relocate nuisance honey bee colonies or hanging swarms of honey bees, in lieu of destroying such bees.

Here are three other bills:

  • S 699: Sponsored by State Sen. Steve Englebright, it would create the Birds and Bees Protection Act, prohibit the sale of certain pesticides or use of seeds coated with such pesticides and require the department of environmental conservation review the latest scientific information concerning certain pesticides’ active ingredients. This bill has passed in the state senate but will need to be passed in the assembly (A 7429).
  • S 372: Sponsored by State Sen. Brad Hoylman, the bill would expand the definition of “pesticide” to include seeds that have been coated or treated with an insecticide.
  • S 4088: Sponsored State Sen. Michelle Hinchey. The bill would establish the utilization of pollinator friendly road maintenance techniques, including planting and seeding native, locally appropriate low-mow or no-mow grasses and wildflowers, implementing mowing strategies that limit disturbances, minimizing the use of pesticides and implementing the application of integrated vegetation management.

In order to help these bills become laws, you can express your opinion on a proposed bill and send it directly to the committee chairman or your local state senator and member of the assembly for relay to committee members. Anyone can contact their representative, including kids. If our leaders hear from us, they will know that we want to move these bills out of committee and onto the governor’s desk. You can read more about each of the legislative proposals and monitor their progress here.