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Pesticide bill aimed at protecting honey bees awaits Governor Brown's signature

Randol White

Santa Barbara County Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) says he hopes Governor Jerry Brown will sign his bill involving the use of a controversial class of pesticides.

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used, and possibly among the most harmful for honey bees according to Williams. His bill, (AB) 1789, has passed the legislature and is now awaiting the governor's signature. It would create a timeline for the Department of Pesticide Regulation to complete its current reevaluation of those compounds.

If signed by the governor, the department would have until mid-2018 to complete its findings, and then two additional years to adopt any necessary control measures.

Agriculture is the number one industry in Santa Barbara County and Williams says he's encouraged by the reaction farmers have to his legislation.

"It's a lot of organic beekeepers and organic farmers that have been supporting this bill," said Williams. "I just also appreciate that the Grange and the farming groups that don't use organics are also neutral on this bill."

Williams says conventional farmers understand that science can help find alternative methods for pest control, while saving the important honey bees in the process.