SECTION 1. Chapter 252 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2 the following section:-
Section 2A. (a) Upon the written determination of the commissioner of public health that an elevated risk of arbovirus exists or may exist for the current or following year, the board, in consultation with the department of public health, may engage in preventive, management and eradication methods as it deems necessary in any area of the commonwealth. The commissioner shall publish the determination on the department of public health’s website and include a summary of the data supporting the determination. Concurrently, the commissioner shall provide notice to the joint committee on public health and the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture of the determination. In carrying out its authority under this section, the board may act through any district or project duly organized under this chapter or another agency of the commonwealth or employ other professionals as the board deems necessary.
(b)(1) The board shall provide notice of the methods employed pursuant to subsection (a), including the locations, the particular product to be sprayed, any health risks associated with the product, and dates and times of aerial spraying or other wide-area emergency operations, not less than 48 hours before the application of such an operation to entities within the affected areas, including: (i) appropriate local and regional boards and commissions, including boards of health; (ii) property owners who have opted out of spraying based on exclusions pursuant to applicable regulations governing pesticide application; (iii) agricultural entities, including beekeepers, cranberry growers, certified organic farms and aquaculture facilities; and (iv) any other person who informs the board through a form made available on the board’s website that they wish to be informed of aerial spraying in their region.
The board shall provide notice to all entities within affected areas as provided in the Massachusetts emergency operations response plan for mosquito-borne illnesses, as amended from time to time, including integrated pest management standard written notices to schools, day care centers and school age child care programs. The board shall provide such notice to such entities and to the general public by: (i) posting the notice to its website not less than 48 hours before the application; and (ii) informing local officials and the legislative representatives of the areas being sprayed. Such notice shall also include the procedure for owners of property located within the spraying area, including those with property located outside of a mosquito control district, to opt out of aerial spraying or other wide area emergency operations and shall be consistent with applicable regulations governing pesticide application.
(2) The executive office of energy and environmental affairs shall develop a process or guidance for the board to permit municipalities to opt out of spraying conducted pursuant to subsection (a); provided, however, that any such process or guidance shall require municipalities to have an alternative mosquito management plan approved by the department. Before approving an alternative mosquito management plan, the executive office may consider the plan’s impact on regional mosquito control.
(c) Within 30 days of the application of any preventive, management or eradication methods under subsection (a), the board shall provide a report on its website summarizing the specific preventive, management or eradication methods used, the areas that were sprayed, the number of applications, the products applied and the results of the actions.
(d) All actions taken under the authority of this section shall be designed to protect public health while minimizing to the extent feasible any adverse impact to the environment.
(e) If aerial spraying must be postponed due to weather conditions, notice provided before application shall remain in effect for 48 hours following the improvement of such weather conditions if postponement of aerial spraying would extend beyond the dates indicated in the initial notice.
SECTION 2. Section 2A of chapter 252 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
SECTION 3. (a) There shall be a mosquito control for the twenty-first century task force. The task force shall study the commonwealth’s mosquito control process established under chapter 252 of the General Laws and this act and recommend comprehensive reforms of the commonwealth’s mosquito control system. The task force shall consist of the following members or their designee: the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, who shall serve as chair; the commissioner of public health, who shall serve as vice-chair; the commissioner of agricultural resources; the commissioner of conservation and recreation; the commissioner of environmental protection; the director of fisheries and wildlife; and 2 representatives to be appointed by the state reclamation and mosquito control board, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a city or town that is part of a mosquito control district and 1 of whom shall be a representative of a city or town that is not part of a mosquito control district but had significant mosquito activity in the past year.
The task force shall include additional members appointed by the chair who are: an academic epidemiologist with expertise in arbovirus spread and control; an academic expert in pesticides and mosquito control; and representatives of: a statewide land conservation organization; a regional or statewide river protection organization; a statewide wildlife protection organization; an organization representing farms and agriculture; an organization representing organic farms and agriculture; and an organization representing bee keepers or groups concerned about pollinators.
(b) The chairs of the joint committees on public health and the chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture, or their designees, shall be observers to the task force and be invited to all meetings of the task force.
(c) All meetings of the task force shall be open to the public. The task force shall hold at least 1 public listening session.
(d) The task force may commission a study by an independent research or academic organization with expertise in the environmental and health effects of pesticides, pest management and mosquito control to complete a comprehensive evaluation of the 2020 mosquito control process. The evaluation shall determine the effectiveness of any spraying by examining the impact of the spraying on arbovirus diseases, the cost-effectiveness of the spraying, the impact of spraying on the environment, agriculture and wildlife and other factors.
(d) The task force shall review and make recommendations regarding: (i) facilitating the use of integrated pest management, including surveillance, public education, enhanced habitat for mosquito predators and storm water management; (ii) promoting public participation in mosquito management decisions; (iii) providing for local options regarding the use of pesticides; (iv) protecting organic agriculture from pesticide use; (v) assessing the need to update the composition of the state reclamation and mosquito control board; (vi) developing procedures to protect human and ecological health and minimize non-target impacts of mosquito pesticides, including, but not limited to, effects on persons with respiratory or immune system illnesses, drinking water supplies, pollinators and aquatic life; (vii) promoting the use of the safest or minimum risk pesticides feasible and employing methods, including product disclosures or implementation of testing protocols and procedures, to avoid the use of pesticides containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; (viii) providing for comprehensive annual evaluations of each season’s mosquito control process, including the effectiveness of the process in controlling arbovirus and any effects of spraying on the environment, agriculture and wildlife; and (ix) any other priority as determined by the task force.
(e) The task force shall file its findings, recommendations and accompanying legislation with the house and senate clerks and the joint committees on public health and environment, natural resources and agriculture not later than October 31, 2021.
SECTION 4. Section 2 of this act shall take effect on December 31, 2022.
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