Vermont Pollinator Bill Runs Out of Time (Kind Of)

  • On May 23, 2018
  • ASTA, Vermont House Bill 915

Vermont House Bill 915, as introduced, would have considered neonicotinoid-treated seed under the same laws as a pesticide, rather than under the treated article exemption in federal law. As the bill progressed through the legislature, that language was replaced with a mandate to the Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets to assess and report the effect of neonicotinoid-treated seeds on the loss of pollinator populations in Vermont by independently reviewing claims of pollinator losses by beekeepers. A very unique portion of the bill included a requirement that any seed retailer that sells neonicotinoid-treated seed must also offer non-treated seed. Neonicotinoid pesticides are referred in the bill as “economic poison.”

The Vermont legislature adjourned on May 12 and this bill did not pass. However, the legislature did not pass a budget either, so the Governor is expected to call a special session. Vermont law does not limit items of interest in a special session, so it is possible that this bill could be introduced for consideration again.