Legislative Wins

Ten Ground-breaking Pesticide Protection Laws in Maryland

Since its inception in 2012, our Smart on Pesticides Coalition (SOPC), currently 113 organizations and businesses, has been working to promote policies and laws that protect the health of people, pollinators, wildlife, aquatic life, and the Bay ecosystem. These legislative wins have national import because they are frequently first-in-the-nation achievements, which then become models for other states to use to secure similar protections in their states. Through legislator and public issues education, we are demonstrating the power of people working together, as advocates, voters, experts, legislators, to create pesticide protection laws that protect our state.

Working together with thousands of citizen advocates across the state, like you, is our super-power that makes progress happen in Maryland!

Huge thanks to all our citizen advocates who took action and applied pressure on their legislators to pass these needed bills into law.

See our Smart on Pesticides Coalition member list here.

2023: Study Bill Passes for PFAS Testing of Pesticides

  • PASSED! Pesticides – PFAS Testing – Study (HB319/SB158)
    Three state agencies will conduct a six-month study of PFAS testing methods for pesticides, from June 1 – November 1, in anticipation of a 2024 bill restricting PFAS in pesticides. Bill sponsors: Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shelly Hettleman. Read the press release.

2021: Our Two Priority Bills Win in Maryland

  • PASSED! Protecting Pollinators (HB208/SB375)
    The law will close the loophole on retailers selling banned bee-killing neonic consumer garden products. Babies, bees, birds, butterflies, even blue crabs win! Read the press release.
  • PASSED! Md Essential Workers Protection Act (HB581/SB486) includes the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that our coalition set out to pass! It requires the State to issue mandatory protection for essential workers, including food & farm workers. Read the press release.

2020: All Uses of Chlorpyrifos Banned in State

  • PASSED! Chlorpyrifos Ban (HB229/SB300)
    In 2018, 2019, and 2020, SOPC worked closely with key legislators for passage of a bill banning the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which was confirmed by U.S. EPA scientists to harm children’s brains resulting in ADD/ADHD, memory problems, learning disabilities, pediatric cancers, asthma, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Chlorpyrifos is also the second most highly toxic pesticide to bees, after neonicotinoids. The bill passed in 2020, making Maryland the only state which has a ban on all uses of chlorpyrifos.

2017: State Pollinator-Safe Habitat & Healthy Soils Pass

  • PASSED! Pesticide-free State Pollinator Habitat (HB386/SB830)
    Maryland passed a bill in 2016 directing 3 state agencies to establish Pollinator Habitat but the original bill language did not specify that bee-harming chemical pesticides should be restricted from being used on these projects. We worked with key legislators to pass an amendment to correct this in the 2016 law, preventing these projects from inadvertently becoming killing fields, and making sure safe habitat and food for pollinating insects and birds is established.
  • PASSED! Maryland Healthy Soils Program (HB1063) This bill creates a program to incentivize farmers to adopt soil practices that optimally sequester carbon by building healthy soil. Healthy soils have highly active biological systems, increased organic matter, improved soil structure and water and nutrient holding capacity. By definition, chemical and pesticide inputs would be reduced to achieve healthy biological systems. Healthy soil means healthier food, healthier people, healthier ecosystems, and a healthier planet!

2016: Pollinator Protection Act Bans Class of Bee-killing Pesticides in Consumer Products

  • PASSED! Pollinator Protection Act (HB211/SB198)
    After a three-year battle to pass this groundbreaking law restricting bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides from consumer outdoor home garden products, Maryland advocates prevailed, making Maryland the first state in the nation to institute this ban. With bee losses climbing to over 60% and decimated bee, bird, and insect pollinators populations, this 2016 law will remove the highly toxic systemic neonicotinoids from store shelves.

2014: Pesticide-Use Database: Fee Increase to Fund

  • PASSED! Fee Increase to Fund Annual Survey and Pesticide Use Data Collection System (SB700)
    The need for scientists, Bay and public health researchers to gain access to critically needed data concerning the use of agricultural and commercial application of pesticides took a step forward with passage of SB700. SOPC advocated for this dedicated funding with an additional $10 fee increase on the State’s $100 annual fee to manufacturers registering over 14,000 pesticides in the State. The fee will go toward funding more frequent pesticide use surveys and development of an online system, similar to one already used by Md. Dept. Of the Environment on toxics.

1998 / 1999: IPM in Schools Laws Pass! First-in-the-Nation, Now a Model Implemented in 37 States

  • PASSED! 1999 IPM in Schools Law is extended to school grounds
  • PASSED! 1998 IPM in Schools Law protects students and staff from harm from indoor use pesticides
    These laws limits the use of pesticides in and around public schools. It requires that pesticides can be used only after all other nontoxic choices have been exhausted or are unreasonable. The law defines IPM as, “A managed pest control program in which methods are integrated and used to keep pests from causing economic, health-related or aesthetic injury through the utilization of site or pest inspections, pest population monitoring, evaluating the need for control and the use of one or more pest control methods including sanitation, structural repair, non-chemical methods and, when non-toxic options are unreasonable or have been exhausted, pesticides in order to: a-minimize the use of pesticides and minimize the risk to human health and the environment associated with pesticide applications.
    At the start of the school year, all parents and school staff must be given the school’s pest control plan. They must also be given a list of pesticides that may be used during the school year. Is your child’s school in compliance?
    Learn more about the IPM in Schools law.