Ohio’s House introduced the following on Thursday June 12th, according to Fox 28 News:
HB 590 BED BUG AWARENESS — To establish the Bed Bug Awareness, Education, and Prevention Program and to make an appropriation.
To enact sections 3701.136, 3701.137, 3701.138, and 3701.139 of the Revised Code to establish the Bed Bug Awareness, Education, and Prevention Program and to make an appropriation.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 3701.136, 3701.137, 3701.138, and 3701.139 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 3701.136. As used in sections 3701.136 to 3701.139 of the Revised Code:
(A) “Hotel” means every establishment kept, used, maintained, advertised, or held out to the public as a place where sleeping accommodations are offered to guests, in which five or more rooms are used for the accommodation of such guests, whether the rooms are in one or several structures.
(B) “Residential dwelling” means a building used or intended to be used as a personal residence by the owner, part owner, or lessee of the building, or any person authorized by such a person to use the building as a personal residence.
Sec. 3701.137. The bed bug awareness, education, and prevention program is hereby established in the department of health with the assistance of and in consultation with the research office of the division of travel and tourism of the department of development.
Sec. 3701.138. (A) The department of health shall make available on its web site information on the increasing incidences of bed bug (cimex lectularius) infestation and post notices that bed bugs are a public nuisance dangerous to public health. The director of health shall do all of the following:
(1) Educate hotel owners, residential dwellers, and citizens of this state on the difference between bed bugs and similar types of vermin so they can be easily recognized and treated accordingly.
(2) Encourage hotel owners and residential dwellers to closely monitor floors, carpets, and bed linen and mattresses for signs of infestation to facilitate effective, timely treatment to prevent the spread and incidence of infestation.
(3) Assist in and promote the development of safe and effective treatment methods or options to eradicate bed bug infestation in hotels and residential dwellings.
(B) The department of health shall adopt rules as necessary to implement this section. The rules shall be adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
Sec. 3701.139. The department of health shall make available to the public a toll-free telephone number for any person seeking to report an incidence of bed bug infestation or to request information. The department may make the toll-free number available by maintaining a toll-free telephone line specifically for accepting calls regarding bed bugs or by using a toll-free telephone line that the department maintains for accepting calls regarding other matters.
Section 2. All items in this section are hereby appropriated as designated out of any moneys in the state treasury to the credit of the General Revenue Fund Group. For all appropriations made in this act, those in the first column are for fiscal year 2008 and those in the second column are for fiscal year 2009. The appropriations made in this act are in addition to any other appropriations made for the FY 2008-2009 biennium.
[Details of the appropriations are included, which –if I am reading it correctly — appear to constutute $335,000 in fiscal year 2009.]
The bill continues,
Within the limits set forth in this act, the Director of Budget and Management shall establish accounts indicating the source and amount of funds for each appropriation made in this act, and shall determine the form and manner in which appropriation accounts shall be maintained. Expenditures from appropriations contained in this act shall be accounted for as though made in Am. Sub. H.B. 119 of the 127th General Assembly.
The appropriations made in this act are subject to all provisions of Am. Sub. H.B. 119 of the 127th General Assembly that are generally applicable to such appropriations.
Section 3. The sections of law contained in this act, and the items of which they are composed, are not subject to the referendum. Therefore, under Ohio Constitution, Article II, Section 1d and section 1.471 of the Revised Code, the sections of law contained in this act, and the items of which they are composed, go into immediate effect when this act becomes law.
The key points here appear to be: requiring the Department of Health to educate the public about bed bugs, and the provision of a hotline where residents can call to report an incidence of bed bugs or call for information about bed bugs.
The requirement that the DoH:
Assist in and promote the development of safe and effective treatment methods or options to eradicate bed bug infestation in hotels and residential dwellings.
… seems a bit nebulous as written, but like the rest of the bill, only seems like it can help.
Ohio residents should write to their State Representatives and voice your support for this bill. You can look up your representatives here, then follow the links to email them or look up phone numbers or snail mail addresses. It is worth taking 5 minutes to send an email and help your state get better legislation to support those dealing with bed bugs now and in the future.