Gianaris’ Bedbug Legislation Passes

by jessinchicago on May 9, 2007 · 19 comments

in activism, bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, government, new york, queens, tipping point

Great news, folks. I just received a press release from Assemblyman Gianaris’ office- thanks Maggie!- announcing the passage in the Assembly of the crucial and groundbreaking legislation that will require NYC schools to notify parents of bedbug infestations. The bill was introduced by Gianaris after the Department of Education’s Office of School Health refused to voluntarily change its policy, which currently does not require notification except on a case-by-case basis. The bill still has to be passed in the NY Senate in order to become a law.

The press release from Gianaris’s office states:

Legislation requiring notice of bedbug infestations to all parents at an affected school passed in the New York State Assembly today by a vote of 134 to O. The Gianaris proposal would require the City’s Department of Education to institute a mandatory policy notifying all parents whose children attend a bedbug-infested school of the infestation and providing them with information.

“Today, we are one step closer to restoring some sanity to this school health policy,” said Assemblyman Gianaris. “Knowledge is our best weapon to keep the bedbug problem in our schools from spreading further. I am glad my colleages in the Assembly supported this legislation so overwhelmingly and recognized that we must deal with the hazard posed by bedbugs.”

1 Bugalina May 9, 2007 at 11:45 am

This is wonderful news….Silence and denial are the bed bugs best friends. Hopefully the powers that be in each school will come forth honestly. The legislation is only as good as the people who will follow it.

2 lieutenantdan May 9, 2007 at 11:54 am

Thank you Assemblyman Gianarris and thank you Maggie, you people are great!

Now lets get after the used mattress business because we know that most of them are not reconditioning the mattress properly. Every week I witness vans traveling through Astoria picking up infested mattress from the garbage. Is anyone checking to make sure they are following the procedure.

Also we need public awareness. The public has not properly been informed and many people do not even know how bad the epidemic is that we are now experiencing in Queens and in our Country. Assemblyman Giannaris if you need help and ideas on this just put some questions up on this site I know we would all be more than willing to help.

3 hopelessnomo May 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

OK, now that they have to notify parents, I’d be interested to know what exactly they’re going to say to them.

I’ve come across official advice documents that a) advise people to treat on their own for the first two weeks (with sometimes not very prominent warnings against bombs and only a weak ‘be sure to read the label’) or b) trot out the familiar cleaning/vacuuming advice which, in my opinion, is a necessary component to a bedbug eradication plan but not even close to the whole story.

This is a first step and a major opportunity to educate New Yorkers. An even harder test is ahead.

4 James Buggles May 9, 2007 at 5:40 pm

It looks like politics does work sometimes. Now let’s see if the local media — especially NY1 — covers the news. Could this legislation lead to a public awareness program? Doubtful as Mayor Mike doesn’t seem particularly interested.

5 James Buggles May 9, 2007 at 5:42 pm

I should note that under cover of darkness I saw a work crew removing mattresses from the Marriott on east 49th street on Monday. Just a regular replacement or a bedbug situation? Who knows.

6 hymenoptera May 9, 2007 at 6:44 pm

FYI This bill passed in the assembly only and still has to go through the NY Senate
to become a law. Part of the problem really is that as a NYC property and under
NY State school restirictions there are limits on the steps that can be taken to
eradicate them. I was involved in developing a protocol for a pre school and it was quite extensive and it involved isolating and drying of incomeing items and exclusion modifications. Quite frankly a task difficult to administer in an aged PS.
I do not envy their pest control staff.

7 parakeets May 9, 2007 at 6:49 pm

I love that vote–134 to 0.

This is legislation that I consider very important. People will now be told. There has been a deafening conspiracy of silence about bedbugs. Our schools will speak up and start to teach our communities.

8 bugzinthehood May 9, 2007 at 8:14 pm

134 to 0? I think that’s highly significant. Not for the remarkable unanimity. It means that among those 134 are X number of Assembly bed bug victims who know all too well the consequences.

9 jessinchicago May 9, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Yes, I loved the vote, too. And yes, Hymenoptera, you’re correct, the bill will now go to the Senate for approval, where, I hope, the members will see the clear need to vote for its passage as, obviously, ALL the members of the Assembly did.

I think we should relish in this moment, guys. Yes, there are still obstacles- some of which seem insurmountable at this point. But this is the first positive step towards better public knowledge and government acknowledgement of the bedbug epidemic in NYC. It’s huge. No matter what, more people will be exposed to the publicity that’s sure to be generated by this bill. Hey, this is what we’ve been waiting for! Yes, it’s a small step, but at least it’s a step.

In the world of bedbugs, we’re accustomed to bad news. Lots of it, day in and day out. Let’s savor this good news, at least for today?


10 wantmyskinback May 9, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Nomo….I also wonder exactly “What they are going to say in these notices” ? But it’s a start….James Buggles: re mattresses being removed at night at the Marriott… it could be for many reasons. Lots and Lots of things happen in hotel rooms…not just BEDBUGS! Let’s hope anyway.

11 Bugalina May 9, 2007 at 11:57 pm

I think we should all call or email our Senators….Can anyone make suggestions?? Also , for those who administer the Blog…Is it possible that our Blog can be represented under the umbrella of one group and we could send a group message to the NY Senate ???? This is so important…if the Senate votes it down it just proves how they don’t want this problem “uncovered”…..Hymenoptera actually gives us an insight as to why they might vote it down…because they are at a loss to give any viable solutions… ….We have to make noise and let them know that we will not sit quietly and let bed bug legislation get voted down….We must unite and let them know that we will are sick and tired of their denial…and coverups about the horrors of bed bugs…

12 hymenoptera May 10, 2007 at 7:55 am

134 – 0 in any house is an accomplishment this means only 16 folks
did not vote which would have made it unanimous but it is a mom and
apple pie type of bill when simply put who is going to come out against it.
The senate on the other hand will have to get more into the education
funding aspect of it and responsibly so will have to look at money issues.
With school budgets what they are and teachers having to buy their own
paper at times, on whose paper will these thousands of notices go out on.
And what will the notice say. But Jess is quite right this is a victory and
knowledge is one of the best weapons we have.

Regarding mattresses in the night if they are moving it out because of bed bugs
thats a good thing. Hey this day in age if I was a hotel moving a mattress out for any reason I would do it at night, least someone see it and get and spread the wrong idea.

13 lieutenantdan May 10, 2007 at 10:02 am

I was just thinking about the unions such as the teacher’s union and the NYC sanitation union. They must be receiving word from their members regarding bed bug infestations.
You can bet that the sanitation workers who haul all of the bed bug infested beds and furniture are becoming infested. A few months ago I past by a small local firehouse and
I saw what must of been all of the stations furniture sitting at the curb.
As all of you probably have done I made up a list of how we may have become infested.
I keep suspecting our cable box that we upgraded to may have been sitting in someones infested bedroom prior to us receiving it. Who knows?

14 Bugalina May 10, 2007 at 10:20 am

I too have thought about the cable boxes…As for teachers having to buy their own paper. Not so in my neighborhood. Teachers here live in waterfront homes, not all, but a decent amount. Our budget always passes…but this is not Queens. However, I don’t think the lack of funding for paper notices should stand in the way of notifying parents… There is always Email…..Or the PTA’s can organize a telephone campaign, in other words, there are creative ways to notify parents if the schools try and use paper bugets as an excuse. This is a moral issue, as I see it , it is an awful, egregious act, to not tell parents or the community about a bed bug infestaion is the schools…People must be told, hard as it is to do so, they must be told. Those of us who have lived with bed bug infestations know how awful it would be if we were invited to a person’s home and they had an active bed bug infestation and we were not made aware of it. Well, the same holds true of a school. This is the result of bad management all across the board…the City has mismanaged this bed bug epidemic and now they have to pay the price….To not notify parents is immoral…If the schools need paper, I will donate some..

15 hymenoptera May 10, 2007 at 11:02 am

Teachers living in waterfront homes aside in this case we are talking about NYC thats what the bill is about. If the law is enacted it can not be accomplished via e – mail in terms of legality as not all homes are web interactive.
Perhaps they can set a bed bug threat level much like our terror threat index.

16 Bugalina May 10, 2007 at 11:26 am

Well to save paper, they can email those homes who are web interactive. I just don’t want to give them any excuses not to expose the bed bug truth in their schools. Its only my opinion but I think, even if this legislation is passed, there will be a tremendous hesitance on the part of schools to disclose the truth. Having sent my kid through the public system here on Long Island, I learned a whole about the ways in which schools try to cover things up…and deny things. This is no time for giving them any excuses. Parents have the right to know if their kids are being exposed to bed bugs..on the buses and in the classrooms. This is not a pleasant situation, but the truth must be told. As for the alert…its really a moot point…one bed bug can mean that their is another, or hundreds more…the sighting of only one is enough to be concerned.

17 nightshirt May 10, 2007 at 3:11 pm

policy notifying all parents whose children attend a bedbug-infested school of the infestation and providing them with information.

my query is a child attending a bug-infested school – does that include one child telling a teacher his home has bbs and maybe he/she brought one into the school? or does the entire school have to be infested in the walls, halls, etc.? i know with politics wording is everything.

any insights?

18 jessinchicago May 10, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Hi Anon-

If you type in “Gianaris” in the search field on the right side of the front page, you’ll find several posts on this topic that will get you up to speed.

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