There shall be a special commission established to study statewide opportunities for improving pollinator health by increasing and enhancing native pollinator habitat.
The commission shall focus on identifying statewide opportunities for enhancing and expanding pollinator habitat in both developed and natural areas such as farm field borders, forest borders, residential areas, parks, urban areas, industrial areas, energy transmission corridors, energy generating facilities and transportation corridors.
The commission shall consider enhancing and expanding pollinator habitat for a broad range of native and managed pollinators including but not limited to wild and managed bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, ants, bats and birds.
The commission shall report its findings, including any proposed legislation, to the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture no later than March 1, 2018.
The commission shall consist of:
1 member of the senate; 1 member of the house of representatives; 1 member of the senate appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 1 member of the house of representatives appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; the secretary of energy and environmental affairs or a designee, who shall serve as chair; the commissioner of the division of fisheries and wildlife, or a designee; 11 people to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a University of Massachusetts faculty member specializing in the science of pollinator health, 1 of whom shall represent an advocacy group for farmers, 1 of whom shall represent an advocacy group for organic farmers, 1 of whom shall represent an advocacy group for foresters, 1 of whom shall be a commercial beekeeper, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the University of Massachusetts Extension with knowledge in crops which rely on pollinators and pollinator health; 1 of whom shall represent an advocacy group dedicated to the protection of pollinators and invertebrates, 1 of whom shall be a beekeeper representing the county beekeeping associations, 1 of whom shall represent an advocacy group for nurseries, 1 of whom shall represent a membership based non-profit advocacy group dedicated to land protection and 1 who shall have expertise in native wildlife ecology.
(b) The special commission shall examine issues relevant to pollinator health, including: (i) identifying current laws and regulations in the commonwealth and other states and countries related to protecting pollinators and pollinator health; (ii) studying public education and outreach plans regarding pollinator habitat that have been successful in other states; (iii) identifying adequacy of funding for efforts to promote or protect pollinator habitat; (iv) investigating the means used by other states to gather data on populations of pollinators; (vi) evaluating existing best management practices for promoting pollinator health including, but not limited to, foraging and proper food source diversity; (vii) studying the use of agricultural and nonagricultural lands, such as transportation corridors, energy transmission corridors, parks, and working forests, and how they may be used to provide pollinator forage and unique opportunities to increase pollinator populations; (viii) research and identify ways to expand and coordinate public education programs outlining steps individuals and businesses can take to help address the loss of pollinator habitat.
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