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A07568 Summary:

COSPNSRButtenschon, Griffin, Lemondes, Norris
Rpld §169-d, amd Art 15, §301, Ag & Mkts L; amd §483, RPT L
Establishes the apiary industry advisory committee; defines terms; requires the commissioner of agriculture and markets to give a beekeeper advanced notice of any inspection of an apiary; establishes the cooperative honeybee health improvement program; makes related provisions.
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A07568 Actions:

05/14/2021referred to agriculture
05/19/2021reported referred to codes
05/25/2021reported referred to ways and means
05/26/2021reported referred to rules
06/07/2021rules report cal.484
06/07/2021substituted by s7111
 06/07/2021PASSED SENATE
 06/07/2021referred to ways and means
 06/07/2021substituted for a7568
 06/07/2021ordered to third reading rules cal.484
 06/07/2021passed assembly
 06/07/2021returned to senate
 06/26/2021SIGNED CHAP.160
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A07568 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Lupardo
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the real property tax law, in relation to bee health and the beekeeping industry; and to repeal certain provisions of the agriculture and markets law relating thereto 1.   PURPOSE: The purpose of the bill is to modernize Article 15 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML) - Bee Diseases to reflect modern bee husbandry practices and create a Cooperative Honey Bee Health Improvement Program. This program will facilitate inspections of apiaries and communication among the Department, beekeepers, academia and other stakeholders regarding the incidence of diseases and parasites. The bill would also amend the Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) to clarify the farm buildings property tax exemption for bee industry buildings. 2.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill would repeal AML section 169-d (Apiary Industry Advisory Committee) and readopt the provision as section 173 in AML Article 15. The new section 173 would designate the commissioner as the chairperson of the committee. Section 2 of the bill amends several provisions of AML Article 15 to: add definitions of "apiary," "colony." "nucleus colony," "beekeeper," "queen(s)" and "brood comb" (173-a); provide beekeepers with advance notice of apiary inspections (173-b); and establish a cooperative honey bee health improvement program (173-c). The cooperative honey bee health improvement program would require the registration of apiaries and the submission of limited information about their operations (county of operation, number of colonies in each county and contact information for the beekeeper); and an annual inspection of apiaries selling nucleus colonies, the sale of which can spread infectious diseases and parasites to managed bees. Current provisions of AML section 175 which protect the State's managed pollinators from diseases and parasites, are also incor- porated into the "Cooperative Honeybee Health Program." Section 3 of the bill amends the AML section 301 (9) (definition of "gross sales value" for agricultural value assessment) to include more bee products. Section 4 of the bill would amend Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) section 483 to clarify the farm buildings property tax exemption for bee indus- try buildings. Section 5 of the bill would make the act effective 180 days after it becomes a law. 3.   EXISTING LAW: AML section 169-d provides for the Apiary Industry Advisory Committee (but is located in AML Article 14). AML Article 15 authorizes the Department to address bee diseases through inspections, limits on the keeping of diseased and banned bees and limits on the transportation of bees and bee material. AML section 301 (9) defines "gross sales value" for purposes of agricul- tural value assessment. RPTL section 483 provides a real property tax exemption for farm build- ings. 4.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Mandatory registration of apiaries was added to the AML in 2007 and repealed in 2010. 5.   STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: Honey bees are critically important to the agricultural industry for the pollination services that they provide. In recent years, the health of managed pollinators has been challenged by parasites, infectious diseases, habitat fragmentation and exposure to pesticides and other materials present in the environment. American Foulbrood, one of the most infectious diseases for honey bees, has been on the increase in recent years. The biology of the bee and its ability to fly and forage in a 3.5-mile radius or further requires the Department to closely moni- tor the incidence of disease and have the ability to delimit disease and parasite infestations. Modern science has proven that the honey bee is an indicator species, both for many native pollinators and other species. By monitoring honey bee health and addressing the disease and parasite issues within the honey bee population, the Department is protecting the broader agricul- tural industry and the environment. Working cooperatively with beekeepers to share information on the inci- dence of parasites and diseases at the county level will enhance the Department's efforts to protect pollinator resources and will allow individual beekeepers the ability to react to the disease and parasite issues that may be in close proximity to their apiaries. 6.   POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS: The Department's recent outreach to beekeepers indicates that commercial beekeepers favor more robust Department involvement to control the spread of bee diseases. Hobbyist beekeepers, however, have some concerns about how the Department might carry out a revitalized bee health program. 7.   OTHER STATE AGENCIES INTERESTED: DEC. 8.   KNOWN POSITION OF OTHERS: Unknown. 9.   BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: None. 10.   LOCAL IMPACT: This bill would not impose a mandate on a county, city, town, village, school district or special district.
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