On Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 the first formal session of the the 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts convened. Shortly thereafter Representative Carolyn Dykema re-filed her legislation to protect pollinators in the Commonwealth. During the co-sponsorship period, her bill received an unprecedented 135 co-sponsors. As of now the bill has been formally recorded as Bill H.2113, An Act to Protect Massachusetts Pollinators and as been assigned to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. It is currently awaiting a hearing date assignment by the committee.
In recognition of her leadership in authoring, supporting and sponsoring legislation to protect pollinators in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Representative Carolyn Dykema was presented with the Legislator of the Year award at the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association fall meeting.
As many of you are aware, there was a lot of beekeeper activity on Beacon Hill at the end of the formal legislative session of the 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to try to pass bill H.4187 – An Act Protecting Massachusetts Pollinators. Despite the support of an overwhelming number of legislators from both chambers, Speaker Deleo was unable to bring the bill to the floor for a vote due to the overwhelming volume of overrides that had to be processed first. While this is admittedly a disappointment, it is not uncommon. Things move slowly on the Hill and it can take multiple sessions for legislation to prevail.
H.4187 was originally sponsored by Representative Carolyn Dykema as H.655, the original version of the bill. It is groundbreaking legislation that would have regulated the use of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides that an overwhelming body of world wide, peer reviewed scientific research has shown to be one of the primary causes of the death and decline of our bees and native pollinators that we are all acutely aware of. In committee, H.655 was amended to include a section to create a commission to advise the legislature on pollinator related legislation and emerged as H.4187.