State of Washington
68th Legislature
2024 Regular Session
BySenators Saldaña, Torres, Hasegawa, Nobles, and Valdez
Read first time 01/11/24.Referred to Committee on Labor & Commerce.
AN ACT Relating to extending the pesticide application safety committee; amending RCW 70.104.110; amending 2019 c 327 s 1 (uncodified); and providing expiration dates.
Sec. 1. RCW 70.104.110 and 2019 c 327 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The pesticide application safety committee is established. Appointments to the committee must be made as soon as possible after the legislature convenes in regular session. The committee is composed of the following members:
(a) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
(b) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate;
(c) The director of the department of agriculture, or an assistant director designated by the director;
(d) The secretary of the department of health, or an assistant secretary designated by the secretary;
(e) The director of the department of labor and industries, or an assistant director designated by the director;
(f) The commissioner of public lands, or an assistant commissioner designated by the commissioner;
(g) The dean of the college of agricultural, human, and natural resource sciences at the Washington State University, or an assistant dean designated by the dean;
(h) The pesticide safety education coordinator at the Washington State University cooperative extension; and
(i) The director of the University of Washington Pacific Northwest agricultural safety and health center, or an assistant designated by the director.
(2) The committee shall be cochaired by the secretary of the department of health, or the assistant secretary designated by the secretary, and the director of the department of agriculture, or the assistant director designated by the director.
(3) Primary responsibility for administrative support for the committee, including developing reports, research, and other organizational support, shall be provided by the department of health and the department of agriculture. The committee must hold its first meeting by September 2019. The committee must meet at least three times each year. The meetings shall be at a time and place specified by the cochairs, or at the call of a majority of the committee. When determining the time and place of meetings, the cochairs must consider costs and conduct committee meetings in Olympia when this choice would reduce costs to the state.
(4)(a) An advisory work group is created to collect information and make recommendations to the full committee on topics requiring unique expertise and perspectives on issues within the jurisdiction of the committee.
(b) The advisory work group shall consist of a representative from the department of agriculture, two representatives of employee organizations that represent farmworkers, two farmworkers with expertise on pesticide application, a representative of community and migrant health centers, a toxicologist, a representative of growers who use air blast sprayers, a representative of growers who use aerial pesticide application, a representative of growers who use fumigation to apply pesticides, and a representative of aerial applicators. The secretary of health, in consultation with the director of the department of agriculture and the full committee, must appoint members of the advisory work group, and the department of health must staff the advisory work group. The letter of appointment to the advisory work group members must be signed by both cochairs.
(c) The advisory work group must hold meetings only upon the committee's request. ((To reduce costs, the advisory work group must conduct meetings using teleconferencing or other methods, but may hold one in-person meeting per fiscal year.))
(d) Members of the advisory work group shall be reimbursed for mileage expenses in accordance with RCW 43.03.060.
(e) The advisory work group must provide a report on their activities and recommendations to the full committee by November 9th of each year.
(5) The first priority of the committee is to explore how the departments of agriculture, labor and industries, and health, and the Washington poison center collect and track data. The committee must also consider the feasibility and requirements of developing a shared database, including how the department of health could use existing tools, such as the tracking network, to better display multiagency data regarding pesticides. The committee may also evaluate and recommend policy options that would take action to:
(a) Improve pesticide application safety with agricultural applications;
(b) Lead an effort to establish baseline data for the type and quantity of pesticide applications used in Washington to be able to compare the number of exposures with overall number of applications;
(c) Research ways to improve pesticide application communication among different members of the agricultural community, including educating the public in English and Spanish about acute and chronic health information about pesticides;
(d) Compile industry's best practices for use to improve pesticide application safety to limit pesticide exposure;
(e) Continue to investigate reasons why members of the agricultural workforce do not or may not report pesticide exposure;
(f) Explore new avenues for reporting with investigation without fear of retaliation;
(g) Work with stakeholders to consider trainings for how and when to report;
(h) Explore incentives for using new technology by funding a partial buy-out program for old spray technology;
(i) Consider developing an effective community health education plan;
(j) Consult with community partners to enhance educational initiatives that work with the agricultural workforce, their families, and surrounding communities to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure;
(k) Enhance efforts to work with pesticide manufacturers and the environmental protection agency to improve access to non-English pesticide labeling in the United States;
(l) Work with research partners to develop, or promote the use of translation apps for pesticide label safety information, or both;
(m) Evaluate prevention techniques to minimize exposure events;
(n) Develop more Spanish language and other language educational materials for distribution, including through social media and app-based learning for agricultural workforce communities;
(o) Explore development of an agricultural workforce education safety program to improve the understanding about leaving an area being sprayed; and
(p) Work with the industry and the agricultural workforce to improve protocols and best practices for use of personal safety equipment for applicators and reflective gear for the general workforce.
(6) The committee must provide a report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by May 1, 2020, and each year thereafter. An initial report on the progress of the committee must be provided in January 2020. The report may include recommendations the committee determines necessary, and must document the activities of the committee and report on the subjects listed in subsection (5) of this section. The department of health and the department of agriculture must provide staff support to the committee for the purpose of authoring the report and transmitting it to the legislature. Any member of the committee may provide a minority report as an appendix to the report submitted to the legislature under this section.
(7) This section expires July 1, ((2025))2035.
Sec. 2. 2019 c 327 s 1 (uncodified) is amended to read as follows:
(1) In 2018, the legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 6529. The bill recognized that farmers, farmworkers, and the broader community share an interest in minimizing human exposure to pesticides. It also recognized that gains have been made in reducing human exposure to pesticides and that collaboration between state agencies and the farming community could further reduce agricultural workers exposure to pesticide drift.
(2) The legislation established a pesticide application safety work group that would make recommendations for improving pesticide application safety. Work group members included legislators from both chambers and caucuses, as well as representation from state agencies and the commission on Hispanic affairs. The work group sought public participation to learn more about pesticide application safety. Many stakeholders including but not limited to local farm hosts, the agricultural industry, and members of the agricultural workforce contributed valuable assistance and input.
(3) The work group reached two noteworthy recommendations regarding what can be done now to improve pesticide application safety. The recommendations are to:
(a) Expand training because the department of agriculture lacks sufficient resources to meet the training demand from pesticide applicators and handlers; and
(b) Establish a new pesticide application safety panel to provide an opportunity to evaluate and recommend policy options, and investigate exposure cases.
(4) The work group concluded that legislation is warranted to expand funding for a training program and set up a new pesticide application safety panel with clear objectives.
(5) This section expires July 1, ((2025))2035.
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