The Arizona House of Representatives today by a 59-0 vote passed legislation transferring the administrative oversight of the Office of Pest Management (OPM) from the Arizona Department of Administration to the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA), clearing the bill for Governor Jan Brewer's consideration. Governor Brewer has five days to sign the bill into law, which most observers expect her to do.
The Legislature's passage of Senate Bill 1194, which won the approval of the Arizona Senate on February 10, 2011 by a 29-0 vote, represents an enormous legislative victory for the Arizona Pest Professional Organization (AzPPO). AzPPO has worked for the past few years to relocate OPM to the AZDA and SB 1194 is the byproduct of AzPPO's discussions and negotiations with agricultural stakeholder groups, lawmakers and administrative officials.
Under SB 1194, the director of AZDA will appoint an acting director of OPM to serve at the pleasure of the director of AZDA and OPM will move from its Scottsdale location to the AZDA building at the Capitol Complex in Phoenix. The bill also retains the Pest Management Advisory Committee (PMAC), but repeals the provision precluding former appointees to the former Structural Pest Control Commission from serving on PMAC.
In addition, the measure creates a Task Force on Structural Pest Management. The Task Force, whose members will be appointed by the director of AZDA and will be comprised of three members of the agricultural community, three members who are licensed as structural pesticide applicators or qualifying parties, two members of AZDA's Agriculture Advisory Council and one member representing AZDA, who shall serve as chairperson of the Task Force. The Task Force is charged with, among other things, reviewing and recommending to key lawmakers by December 15, 2012 the possible future organizational structure of AZDA's administration of the regulation of structural pest management including personnel and funding issues. These recommendations will likely serve as the basis for legislation during the 2013 Legislative Session establishing a permanent organizational structure within AZDA for the regulation of structural pest management activities since, under SB 1194, AZDA's management authority over OPM expires on December 31, 2013.
The new law goes into effect 90 days after the 2011 Legislative Session ends, which should be in the next week or two. AzPPO will continue to keep the industry apprised of the very important and exciting development.