Galesburg Radio WGIL reports that an Illinois state senator is sponsoring a bill to create an Illinois bed bug task force. This is good news! We all want action on bed bugs, now, but officials need good advice on what actions to take. The WGIL report notes that
Bed bugs are a common problem in Illinois, but state lawmakers hope to change that. State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation to create a task force against bed bugs. The bill creates a Pest Control Advisory Council subcommittee to bring members together with pest control experts to address the problem. Steans says the committee would be temporary and would be repealed by Jan. 1, 2012.
House Bill 6439 unanimously passed the Senate Public Health Committee, but it now needs to get final approval from the full State Senate. You can read the entire text of H.B. 6439 on the Illinois General Assembly site. The purview of the proposed bed bug task force is as follows:
The Task Force shall make recommendations on the prevention and treatment of bed bug infestations in private dwellings, public accommodations, and institutions; State standards for the disposal of bed bug-infested items; the training, education, and certification of pest management professionals; and the development of public education materials on bed bug prevention and treatment, including specific information on the rights and responsibilities of tenants, landlords, and property owners.
The task force would have ten members appointed by the governor, including “one of which will have advanced experience in entomology” (only one?!?) and one each from the pest management industry, higher education, a non-profit “particularly one involved with tenant advocacy issues,” and “a representative of apartment associations.” Ex-officio members would include state public health, agriculture, and housing officials and the Attorney General. So much seems to depend on who is appointed to the task force. However, creating one seems like an important step for cities and states to undertake. New York City’s Bed Bug Advisory Board, appointed last spring, is well-staffed, and we are awaiting their report, due any time now.
Update (5/4): H.B. 6439 passed both Houses of the Illinois General Assembly today.
Bravo, Illinois! More here.