California Apiary Commission Would Help Protect Honey Bees
Legislature Sends Governor Bill to Protect Honey Bees
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The State Legislature approved a bill authored by Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) establishing the California Apiary Research Commission (Commission) tasked with protecting the health of honey bees, which have been dying in alarming numbers in recent years.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1912 passed the Assembly today (August 16) with a 57-15 concurrence vote on amendments taken in the Senate, following a 26-8 Senate vote last Wednesday. It now awaits the governor’s signature or veto.
“California agriculture needs honey bees to prosper,” said Evans. “Many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown by our farmers come from insect-pollinated plants. We need to protect honey bees in order to preserve the production of healthy and nutritious food in our state.”
Sponsored by the California Beekeepers Association, AB 1912 establishes the Commission to identify and educate beekeepers on integrated pest management practices to reduce honey bee disease, and to improve bee colony management. The seven-member commission is funded through fees assessed on bee colonies, not to exceed $1, which must be validated by a referendum among the beekeepers equal to either 65% of the bee colonies kept in California or 65% of California beekeepers. Referendum turnout must be at or above 30%.
Colony Collapse Disorder has reduced the nation’s bee population by 25-30% in the past three years. This massive decline in healthy honey bees has created pressures on farmers who rely on honey bees as pollinators.
Honey bees are a critical component of California agriculture, pollinating over 37% of production. California beekeepers rank among the top four states producing honey. The California beekeeping industry provides half of the queen bees, bulk bees, and starter colonies to beekeepers throughout the United States and Canada.
There are 20 agricultural commissions sanctioned by state law in California, which provide a structure for solving problems and collect funds from agribusinesses to support their activities. They engage in production and marketing activities, including commodity promotion, research, and maintenance of quality standards.
Further information about AB 1912 is available at here.
August 17 is the 48th day of the new fiscal year for which no budget has been enacted. The Legislature is required by the constitution to send the governor a spending plan by June 15, two weeks before the start of the fiscal year.
Filed under: Legislature/Legislation
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