Remember the bed bug legislation introduced by Michael Gianaris and passed in the NYS Assembly last May? We were happy the Assembly passed it.
But Bill A6667a later died in the NYS Senate in January of this year.
The good news is that the bill has now been amended and approved by the Assembly once again as A6667b. It has been submitted to the New York State Senate again as of 3/19, and is under consideration by their Education Committee. Click here to read the text of the bill and follow its progress through the NYS Assembly to Senate back to the Assembly, and now to the Senate again.
Requires city school districts having a population of one million or more to notify parents and persons in parental relation of any bedbug infestations found in a school.
And as the bill’s text details, this parental notification by principals would have to happen right away and provide information on preventing infestations and on avoiding the spread of bed bugs from school to home (or vice versa):
1 Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 920 to
2 read as follows:
3 S 920. PUBLIC SCHOOLS; INFESTATION OF BEDBUGS (CIMEX LECTULARIUS). 1.
IN A CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE INHABITANTS, THE PRINCIPAL OF EACH PUBLIC SCHOOL SHALL PROVIDE IMMEDIATE NOTIFICATION TO ALL PARENTS OR PERSONS IN PARENTAL RELATION DISCLOSING A FINDING RELATING TO THE INFESTATION OF BEDBUGS (CIMEX LECTULARIUS) IN SUCH SCHOOL. ALONG WITH THE NOTIFICATION REQUIRED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, THE PRINCIPAL OF SUCH PUBLIC SCHOOL SHALL ALSO INCLUDE INFORMATION REGARDING PROPER PROCEDURES TO PREVENT FURTHER INFESTATIONS AT THE SCHOOL AND TO PREVENT THE TRANSFER OF BEDBUGS FROM THE SCHOOL TO THE RESIDENCES OF STUDENTS. SUCH INFORMATION MAY BE DEVELOPED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN CONSULTATION WITH OTHER CITY AGENCIES AND SHALL BE AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS LANGUAGES AS DEEMED NECESSARY. THE PRINCIPAL SHALL ENSURE THAT THE BEDBUG INFESTATION AT THE SCHOOL IS PROPERLY ADDRESSED IN THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND SAFE MANNER.
Yes– it’s imperfect: why “one million or more”?
But let’s not focus on that for now.
Instead, let’s consider that this is a big step forward. We need the NY Senate to approve this bed bug legislation. Parental notification is important if bed bugs are found in schools.
Let’s not let this bill die again in the Senate.
These are some education-minded NYS Assembly Members who sponsored AO6667b in the Assembly:
SPONSOR Michael N. Gianaris
Michael Gianaris, (D-Astoria, Queens):
MLTSPNSR Peter J. Abbate, Jr., James F. Brennan, Ann Margaret Carrozza, Luis M. Diaz, Ruben Diaz, Jr., Adriano Espaillat, D. Gordon,
Rory I. Lancman, Margaret M. Markey, Audrey I. Pheffer, Bob Reilly, Darryl C. Towns, Harvey Weisenberg
You might want to write your representative, if they’re listed above, and thank them for sponsoring the bill. If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can search by zip code, by clicking here. Please have a look. It will only take a moment.
Although not involved with sponsoring A6667b, Assembly Member José R. Peralta also cares about the effects bed bugs are having on his constituents. Perhaps you’d like to talk to him too.
But right now, this bed bug legislation is under consideration by the Education Committee for the NYS Senate. And we can take action to encourage senators to pass this bill.
This is the NYS Senate Education Committee:
Stephen M. Saland
Kenneth P. LaValle, Suzi Oppenheimer, James Seward, Velmanette Montgomery, Carl Marcellino, Toby Ann Stavisky, Charles J. Fuschillo, Eric T. Schneiderman, Thomas Morahan, Martin Dilan, Martin Golden, John Sabini, Elizabeth Little, José Serrano, Joseph Robach, Shirley L. Huntley, and Andrew Lanza
Are any of these senators representing you?
Then send your senators an email. This is an alphabetized email list of senators.
If your senators are on the Education Committee (and so listed right above), then tell them that you feel parents must be notified when bed bugs are found in school.
Tell senators on the Education Committee that the bill matters because as the information on A6667b provided by the Assembly states, “Currently, if a bed bug is discovered in a school, only the family of the affected child is notified. Additional notifications are left up to the discretion of school health officials.” Tell them that requiring principals to notify parents promptly about bed bug infestations at school and requiring them to provide information about preventing the spread of bed bugs will help keep bed bugs out of our schools, and will also prevent other New Yorkers from suffering from the cost and pain of removing them from their homes or workplaces. Minimizing the spread of bed bugs helps everyone in New York State.
If your senators are not on the Education Committee, drop them an email letting them know how affected you were by the bed bug problem, and how much you support Bill A6667b, currently being discussed by the Senate Education Committee.
The bill died the first time it was considered by the NY State Senate. Let’s make sure that does not happen again.
You can send good emails to three politicians in five minutes, using the information above. (In contrast, it took me an hour and a half to write this post and include all the links!) Please contact your state senators, Assembly people. We need to press politicians for change on the bed bug issue, and let them know we support parental notification in the case of bed bugs in school.
Also, don’t forget, if you live in New York City, you also need to tell your New York City Council Members that the city need a Bed Bug Task Force, now. Click here to find out how to contact them, for a sample letter, and for more pointers from New York vs. Bed Bugs.