Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Texas school IPM's fate still up in the air

I reported almost two months ago about a bill in the Texas Senate that would repeal our state's school IPM law and associated regulations. Since that time my colleague Janet Hurley and I have talked with many of you about the possible impacts of the repeal.  We also had the chance to travel to Austin and share information about school IPM with the Senate Finance committee.

There have been several legislative developments in the past few weeks.  First, the original Senate bill, SB 12 (changed from the original SB 468, then SB 3) has eliminated any reference to school IPM repeal. Concerns shared with the committee by a citizen and several environmental groups apparently persuaded the bill's sponsor to remove the school IPM repeal from the larger bill, which was written to reduce regulatory burdens on school districts.

Meanwhile, SB 1252 was introduced by Senator Tommy Williams (R-Woodlands).  This bill also called for repeal of school IPM (Texas Occupations Code Section 1951.212).  About the same time, an identical sister bill (HB 3684) was introduced into the Texas House by Representative Bill Callegari (R- Houston).  Both House and Senate Bills were identical in language and called for repeal of Texas's school IPM law.

The Texas Pest Management Association and several environmental organizations (and a number of school IPM coordinators) have contacted the bill's authors to request removal of the school IPM repeal (allowing school IPM regulations to remain as they are now).  They report that both Senator Williams and Representative Callegari have said that they intend to remove school IPM from their bills in response to public input.  However, school IPM language has not disappeared from the online copies of either SB 1252 or HB 3684.  According to David Oefinger, Executive Director of the Texas Pest Management Association, he believes that the repeal of school IPM in both bills will be dealt with as the bills' authors have promised.  However, he notes that "most anything can happen in the waning days of a Texas legislative session." 

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