public policy

New Jersey

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Current Legislative/Regulatory Issues

NJ S 2750—Bans manufacture, sale, possession, importation, transportation, or use of certain traps was introduced in the Senate on November 10, 2016. The bill specifically references a “foot-hold” trap that is essential for the non-lethal trapping of nuisance canines, bobcats, beavers, and raccoons. Since this trap is a non-lethal method, it potentially could result in more dangerous methods being used and jeopardize non-target wildlife. Alarmingly, this bill creates a potentially more hazardous environment for the Wildlife Control Operator (WCO). It could increase close proximity interactions between the WCO and dangerous nuisance species (e.g. using choke poles because the trap is banned). As written, the bill would allow for a “special permit” to be used for the trap, however it is undeterminable as to what qualifies for a special permit and how that process would unfold.

Essentially, this bill was introduced to nullify a 2015 decision from the Fish and Game Council that allowed for these traps to be used. Prior to the implemented rule, these traps were not allowed in NJ.  

S. 2076 UPDATE

NJ SPAR—Todd Milsom attended a hearing on SB 2076 that requires notification for outdoor pesticide applications when using pesticides that may be toxic to bees within three miles of a registered bee yard. Fortunately, our industry is exempt from this notification process and after the bill passed the committee, we remained exempt. NPMA, NJPMA, and Todd Milsom will continue our engagement to ensure that the exemption remains.

NJ A 3724—Establishes bed bug inspection requirements for certain residential rental properties

  1. This bill requires any residential rental property participating in a state housing voucher program to be inspected for a bed bug infestation prior to occupancy.
  2. The entity issuing the voucher (most likely the Department of Community Affairs) would be responsible for the inspection for the residential property.
  3. The owner of the residential properties would be responsible to remediate any infestation discovered through inspection.
  4. The Department of Community Affairs is required to adopt rules for the inspection requirement and must include a fee for each inspection.

Political Context and Implications of this Bill:

An estimated 3,000 people in the State of New Jersey participate in the main program—State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP). It appears this program will shrink due to Governor Christie’s partial veto of a bill (S. 983) that attempted to extend emergency funding for these 3,000 people receiving vouchers. Christie aims to invest $5 million (essentially compromise) to provide vouchers for 500 chronically homeless people. While we do not know exactly how many units will receive vouchers at the end of this legislative session, we recognize an opportunity for PCOs to be included in the inspection and treatment process for properties in this program. The Governor and Legislature both agree to some type of funding—we hope they will agree to public-private partnerships regarding bed bug inspections and infestations for citizens receiving these vouchers. If the scope of this bill expanded to cover the primary federal voucher program—Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), it would require bed bug inspections and potential treatments for another 64,600 people in the State.

NJ A 3725—Community Affairs to Conduct Inspections for Bed Bugs

  1. This bill would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to adopt regulations concerning the inspection for and remediation of bed bug infestations in hotels and multiple dwellings.
  2. If bed bugs are found, then the property owner is required to hire a pesticide applicator to treat the infestation.
  3. The certified and licensed pesticide applicator would certify to the department (Community Affairs) that the owner treated infestation. The certified and licensed pesticide applicator would also verify the costs incurred by the owner in treating the infestation.

Secondary and Non-Vital Actions in the Bill

  1. The bill also directs the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to reduce the principal of an HMFA loan made to a nonprofit provider of affordable housing in an amount equal to any costs incurred for the remediation of a bed bug infestation in housing financed through the HMFA loan.
  2. Additionally, the recipient of an HMFA loan who has a bed bug infestation remediated in one of its properties that was financed through the HMFA loan could reduce the principal of the loan in an amount equal to the cost of the remediation. The loan recipient would have to submit to the HMFA the pesticide applicator's certification of the price of the remediation. In order to receive a loan reduction under this bill, the loan recipient must be a nonprofit organization, which has as one of its purposes the construction, improvement, or rehabilitation of housing projects for persons and families of low- and moderate-income.

Implications of this Bill:

As written, PCOs are shut out of the inspection process. Government employees from the Department of Community Affairs are the sole inspectors. In our analysis, it would be preferable for PCOs to act as the inspectors because they are the trained professionals and would best serve the people of New Jersey. Ideally, the legislative and rulemaking language should mandate PCOs to conduct inspections and treatments of bedbug infestations in multiple dwellings and hotels across New Jersey, with the property owners paying for the inspections and treatments.      

A 3398 & S. 2076—Requires a pesticide applicator to notify a beekeeper when applying a pesticide within three miles of registered honey or native beehive or beeyard

This bill would require beekeepers to register their honey or native beehives or beeyards with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The second major requirement would affect our industry. It would require pesticide applicators to notify a registered beekeeper before making an outdoor application of a pesticide product that “may be toxic” to bees within three miles of a registered honey or native beehive or beeyard. 

Though the bill does not contain exemptions from notification for PMPs making applications outdoors, such as a perimeter treatment or termite application, there is considerable latitude for the DEP to adopt rules for the application of this law. Particularly for the registration and notification requirements, which pesticides are considered possibly toxic to bees, and the exceptions and exemptions to the law.  In our judgment, it would be better if the bill contained an express exemption for PMP uses that do not impact pollinators.

A 3397 & S. 2077—Directs DEP to classify neonicotinoid pesticides as restricted use pesticides

This bill classifies neonics as restricted use. Certified and licensed applicators or persons working under their direct supervision may continue to use neonics. This would take effect immediately upon passage.

A 3400 & S. 2078—Requires training for pesticide applicators and operators concerning pollinating bees

A person seeking certification and licensing as a pesticide applicator or a commercial pesticide applicator shall be required to complete a continuing education or training course concerning the impact of pesticides on pollinating bees.  We believe that a pollinator training component may be appropriate, but only if it is incorporated into the state’s existing training and educational requirements, and not a separate, stand-alone course.

A 2596—Responsible Pesticide Use Recognition Act was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly by Patrick J Diegnan (D) on 02/08/2016. The bill aims to recognize integrated pest management programs that are “pesticide safe.” It creates a reward-recognition system that encourages people and entities to voluntarily reduce their use of pesticides. There are a great range of entities proposed that may be recognized. The included entities consist of: “governing bodies of counties and municipalities, as well as individual residents, property owners, and business owners and operators.” One example of how this recognition would be conveyed could include a certificate or notice in the window of a business proclaiming their “pesticide safe” status. “Pesticide safe” means the absence of the use of any pesticides other than those intended to control pests that are directly or indirectly infectious or pathogenic to humans or pose other public health concerns. This definition poses potential issues. An example of something that potentially would NOT fit under this definition as written would be termite treatments. The exact implementation and standards of this bill and program would be imposed and created through rulemaking by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in conjunction with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University.

Proposed New Jersey Legislation: NJ A 1499—Requires Use of Uniform Silver Flags to Mark Certain Pesticide Applications

The bill was introduced on 1/27/16 by Assembly Member John McKeon (D). Two important aspects of this bill:

  1. “This bill requires every commercial pesticide applicator to use uniform silver flags to mark areas on which pesticides have been applied. The flags used must be silver in color, must be a uniform size and type, must provide information in English and Spanish, and must stay in place for a minimum of 72 hours after the pesticide application.”
  2. “No person shall use a silver flag in a manner that is reasonably likely to be confused with a pesticide application, including but not limited to, markings for invisible dog fences, underground utility lines, septic tanks, and underground piping.”

While this impetus of this bill appears to not directly target structural pesticide applications as written, it would amend the Pesticide Control Act to apply to ALL commercial applicators. We are aware that this bill has been proposed and failed the last two legislative cycles, but we highlight the importance of closely monitoring any activity on this bill.

Proposed New Jersey Legislation: NJ A 397—Safe Playing Fields Act

The bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly on 1/27/16 by Assembly Member Daniel Benson (D). The bill would restrict the use of lawn care pesticides on the grounds of child care centers, school grounds for grades K-8, playgrounds, and recreational fields. There are exceptions. For childcare centers, the exception includes a circumstance where there is an immediate threat to human health and the areas where pesticides are applied must be restricted—so children can’t access the area(s) for a minimum of seven hours after application. The exception pertaining to school grounds for grades K-8 includes, “an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, as determined by school officials, in consultation with the local health officer, as appropriate.” The exception for lawn care pesticides on playgrounds reads, “except as an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, as determined by the municipal or county governing body in consultation with the local health officer, as appropriate, or by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, as applicable. However, this provision would not apply to playgrounds located on the grounds of a community association.” The Commissioner of Environmental Protection and the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall establish regulations and rules regarding the: “pesticide application, record keeping, and staff and parental notification procedures at child care centers with the goal of mitigating potential health risks to young children.”   The bill  targets “lawn care pesticides” but as currently drafted there is room for negative interpretations on structural pest management use patterns.

Proposed New Jersey Legislation: NJ A 1349—Procedures to Prevent and Eradicate Bedbugs

The bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly on 1/27/16 by Assembly Member L. Grace Spencer (D). In short, this bill requires that a landlord is financially responsible for the removal of bedbugs. Also important, if a landlord does not act, the local board of health pays for the removal of bedbugs in a tenant’s home (the PCO gets paid regardless) and the landlord has to reimburse the local board of health. This bill creates certain requirements for landlords and tenants to eradicate bedbugs, including financial liability requirements for a set of circumstances and the required deliverance of a pamphlet (created by the Department of Health and Senior Services) by the property owner. This pamphlet would notify tenants of procedures for eradicating bed bugs. But also, the pamphlet would advise tenants that their units may be subject to inspection for bedbugs and that the tenants may be responsible for certain costs related to bedbug eradication (if they don’t let the PCO inside their apartment, for example). If enacted, this legislation would require the owner to deliver the pamphlet before charging certain expenses to tenants or deducting certain expenses from tenants' security deposits. Specifically, this bill requires owners to act to eradicate bedbugs within 10 days of receiving written notice of the presence of bedbugs in a unit. This bill also requires the owner of a multiple dwelling to provide the tenant with 48 hours' notice that access is required to a unit for purposes of eradicating the presence of bedbugs prior to entering the unit for purposes of inspecting for or eradicating bedbugs. This legislation imposes a duty on tenants to notify the owner of the presence of bedbugs in the unit. 

Vetoed New Jersey Legislation: A 2583—Bed Bugs Fact Sheet

The bill was pocket vetoed on 1/19/16 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R). The bill would’ve required NPMA, the Commissioner of Education, and the Commissioner of Health to develop a fact sheet that provides information about bedbugs. The factsheet would have been posted on the Department of Education’s website and distributed to parents and guardians every school year. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman DeAngelo (D).

Tax Credit for Bedbug Infestation Remediation Act 

A bed bug infestation is a traumatizing experience. Bed bugs cause anxiety, emotional distress, and insomnia in people. Not only are bed bugs a horror in the daily lives for those citizens that have an infestation but the economic impact of bed bugs can be burdensome. People may have to replace their mattresses, bedding, and furniture. A bill, SB 1791 in the New Jersey Senate is aiming to ease the economic pain induced by an infestation. State Senator Paul Sarlo (D) recently introduced the Tax Credit for Bedbug Infestation Remediation Act on March 7, 2016. For victims of a bedbug infestation, the bill would provide up to a $500 gross income tax credit for earners with incomes of $100,000 and below. The tax credit is meant to help offset purchases that replace personal property rendered unusable by a bedbug infestation in the taxpayer's principal residence.     

State Policy Affairs Representative (S.P.A.R.), Todd Milsom

The NPMA State Policy Affairs Representative is the key liaison responsible for coordinating issues between associations. To contact your state SPAR click on their email below.