Leising: Bill to address pesticide violations passes House committee

–A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) that would address the enforcement of pesticide violations passed the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development unanimously this week.

Under current law, the state chemist may impose a civil penalty on individuals who misuse pesticides based off a schedule of civil penalties that the Indiana Pesticide Review Board created.

Senate Bill 227 would replace the schedule of civil penalties with a comprehensive list of violations for which the state chemist may impose a civil penalty of $250, $500 or $1,000, depending on severity of the violation. SB 227 would also grant the state chemist the ability to adjust a civil penalty by 20% for certain violations if the person responsible for the violation takes mitigating action. Low-level violations could only incur a fee if a warning has been issued to the violator within five years of the latest incident.

“The misuse of pesticides interferes with the work of Indiana farmers, who contribute billions of dollars to our state economy every year,” Leising said. “Farmers’ land needs protection from problems that could arise from pesticide misuse, and SB 227 would grant the state chemist the authority necessary to maintain fair regulatory measures.”

SB 227 will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

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