Last week, AB 1788 legislation targeting dangerous rodenticides in California was cancelled at the Senate Appropriations Committee just prior to a vote. Ultimately AB 1788 was declared a two year bill; “a bill that is introduced early in first half of two-year session but is delayed and can’t meet deadlines to clear both houses before interim recess in mid-September. These bills must clear house of origin by January 31 of the second year or they die.” Although this could be considered a disappointing setback, the extra time will allow environmental advocates to work more closely with state agencies to ensure the bill presented is effective and enforceable.
Per Richard Bloom’s (CA State Assemblymember / District 50) original language, AB 1788 “would create the California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2019 and expand this prohibition against the use of a pesticide containing specified anticoagulants in wildlife habitat areas within the entire state.” Coauthors of the bill included Assemblymember Laura Friedman / District 43 and CA Senator Henry Stern / 27th District. Exemptions built into the bill would have protected agriculture, activities in certain locations as well as public health exceptions. This commonsense approach to unrestricted poisoning of wildlife near community centers was cancelled by the bill’s author (Bloom) as it went before the final CA committee (in mid August, 2019) prior to a full senate vote.
In the meantime a statewide coalition of environmental advocates will continue to rally public support for the eventual passage of AB 1788. These organizations include the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Raptors are the Solution (RATS), Poison Free Malibu, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), and Friends of Griffith Park (FoGP). It must be noted that while AB 1788 received widespread support from individuals concerned about indiscriminate poisoning of wildlife populations, opposition from the pest control industry jeopardized successful passage of the bill.
Friends of Griffith Park would like to thank all who sent letters or made phone calls in support of AB 1788. The coalition will continue its efforts to get the bill passed during the next legislative session. Your support helped AB 1788 to pass through six different committee and floor votes in the California legislature. This is the farthest a rodenticide bill has ever gone, and the coalition is determined to build on the momentum to ensure that the bill passes in 2020.
We’re asked how folks can continue to stay involved in the process, so a few suggestions…
- Ask your local hardware stores not to stock/sell rodenticides as there are alternatives. We’ve discussed some of these in various articles on our website, including https://www.friendsofgriffithpark.org/breaking-the-poison-chain/
- Talk to your elected officials. If you’re attending an event and you find yourself face-to-face with a councilmember or representative, strike up a conversation and let them know of your concerns.
- Support organizations that support this legislation! There are many organizations purporting to help the environment, but if you don’t see your favorite non-profit on the list, ask if they DO support a ban on rodenticides. If they have no response, take the conversation further.