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State of New Jersey
Office of the Governor
125 WEST STATE STREET
Trenton NJ 08625-0001

JAMES E. MCGREEVEY
Governor

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 12, 2002

Contact: Kevin Davitt
609-777-2600

Governor McGreevey Signs Bill to Improve Public Health in Schools
Signs Bill Requiring the Implementation of Integrated Pest Management policies

(TRENTON) – To make New Jersey’s schools healthier and more environmentally friendly, Governor James E. McGreevey today signed legislation, Senate Bill 137, requiring the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policies at public, private, and charter school properties throughout the State.

“Our children and our educators spend upwards of six hours every day in school,” said Governor McGreevey, “and we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that New Jersey’s school facilities are clean and safe. Not only are we taking steps to meet that responsibility, but we are doing so in a way that is sensitive to environmental considerations.”

“Insects and pests in our schools pose a severe health hazard,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Roberts. “The extermination, however, is sometimes more dangerous to children than the infestation. A systematic IPM approach to ridding our schools of vermin will solve the problem while keeping kids safe.”

“This law combines education, safety and pest control to achieve a common good,” Senator Barbara Buono said. “Our children will be kept safe under pest control programs which are fully explained to students and parents alike.Alternatives to spraying are a fundamental part of any integrated pest management program. If spraying ultimately is deemed necessary, this law provides a solid framework for informing the community and assuring that all necessary precautions are taken.”

“The majority of high-impact pesticides are highly toxic chemicals that can make kids sick if inhaled or ingested,” said Assemblymember Linda Stender. “The notification of parents and staff allows for the option of avoiding harmful products.”

“Chemical pesticides are often used and over-used within our schools, and throughout school property,” said Senator John Matheussen. “The dangers of long-term environmental exposure to these chemicals can have a devastating effect on our children’s health. This bill will help protect our children’s lives.”

Senate Bill 137 requires the superintendent of each school district, the board of trustees of charter schools, and the principal or chief administrator of private schools to adopt and implement a school integrated pest management (IPM) policy for each school property.

The policy developed for each school must be consistent with a model developed by the Department of Environmental Protection in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, the New Jersey School Boards Association, and the New Jersey Cooperative Extension Service of Rutgers. The model policy must be based upon integrated pest management plans for schools developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Each school will be required to designate a coordinator to maintain information about pesticide applications on the school property, act as a contact for inquiries about the school’s IPM, and maintain material safety data sheets and labels for all pesticides that are used on the school property.

The bill authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to issue an administrative order against a local school board, the board of trustees of a charter school, or a principal or chief administrator of a private school that fails to comply with the provisions of the act.

The Sponsors of Senate Bill 137 are Senators Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and John Matheussen (R-Camden/Gloucester). The bill’s Co-Sponsors are Senators Gary Furnari (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic), Joseph Palaia (R-Monmouth), Diane Allen (R-Burlington/Camden) and Peter Inverso (R-Mercer/Middlesex).

Senate Bill 137 was substituted for Assembly Bill 2841, which is sponsored by Assemblymembers Joseph Roberts (D-Camden/Gloucester), Linda Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) and Albio Sires (D-Hudson). Assembly Bill 2481 is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Larry Chatzidakis (R-Atlantic/ Burlington/Camden), Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/ Middlesex), Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May/ Atlantic/Cumberland).

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