Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Assembly Ag Committee approves LBAM bill

SACRAMENTO – The amended version of Sen. Patricia Wiggins' bill to address the light brown apple moth's arrival in California passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.

Wiggins introduced the bill last month, which originally proposed to create a task force to advise state Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura on the apple moth. The task force, which Kawamura would choose, would then submit a report to him by Sept. 1.

The bill passed the Senate by a 35-1 vote on May 29.

Since its introduction into the Assembly, Wiggins has amended the bill to give agricultural commissioners and the state the tools they need to eradicate the pest, according to a statement from Wiggins' office.

The light brown apple moth has so far reached nine California counties, as Lake County News previously reported. The latest report from the California Department of Food & Agriculture says that 4,292 moths have been found in those nine counties, with trapping activities continuing in 50 counties statewide.

“I said when I introduced SB 556 that it was a work in progress, intended to reflect the needs of the state in this situation,” Wiggins said in a written statement. “This bill will fully reflect the nature and scope of the effort to detect, control and eliminate the moth as a threat to California agriculture.”

The amended bill, called the Light Brown Apple Moth Act, calls for additional staffing and logistical support geared towards eradication.

New aspects of the bill include:

– Creation of the “LBAM Program” within the Department of Food & Agriculture, requiring Kawamura to provide appropriate levels of staffing and logistical support for eradication.

– Establishes an “LBAM Account” within the Department of Food & Agriculture Fund, and requires that funds be made available for the purpose of eradication.

– Requires the Department of Food & Agriculture report to the Legislature annually, beginning January 10, 2008, regarding its expenditures, progress and ongoing priorities in combating the moth.

– Contains an urgency clause that puts it into effect immediately should Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sign the bill into law.

The light brown apple moth was discovered in the Bay Area in February. It's known to damage as many as 250 host plants, fruits and trees.

Since its discovery in California, state and federal quarantines have been implemented to stop the pest spreading any farther.

One light brown apple moth was found in Napa County in May. Earlier this month, state and federal officials began eradication treatments in Napa and Contra Costa counties, using an organic insecticide in the hopes of protecting the state’s $38 billion agriculture industry.

David Miller, Wiggins' spokesman, said the bill may return to the Senate for approval of the amendments. He said Wiggins is hopeful that SB 556 will get to the governor’s desk soon.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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