On Sept. 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 2146, which would have banned the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticide
products for all turf, tree and ornamental applications. Newsom's veto is welcomed and a positive outcome on an issue we’ve worked on throughout the 2022 legislative session.
AB 2146 would have made it illegal for pesticide applicators, even those licensed by the state, to “possess, or use a neonicotinoid pesticide for application to outdoor ornamental plants, trees, or turf, except for use on, or for the protection
of, an agricultural commodity.” As pointed out in GCSAA's written testimony and action alert campaigns, the focus of the bill was flawed and would have done little to improve pollinator health and habitat within the state. As the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) points out, non-ag use of neonics accounts for only about 15% of applications statewide. Further, turf usage accounts for yet a smaller percentage of those applications, and pollinator exposure through turf
applications is believed to be extremely limited in a golf course setting, comparatively, because flowering plants are not typically found on mowed greens, tees, and fairways where such precision and low-rate applications are often made.
In addition, Newsom's office appeared to have concerns about the fiscal impact of the bill and for good reason. The Senate Appropriation’s fiscal analysis of the bill highlighted significant costs to state agencies that would lose revenue from product
registrations while also being saddled with providing expensive “emergency treatment responses to an increase in general pest infestations that would have been mitigated absent this bill."
Finally, as Newsom said in his veto message, the legislature’s actions, in this case, are inappropriate because, “By statutorily
prohibiting a pesticide and its use, this bill would circumvent California’s regulatory process of establishing restricted materials.” In other words, matters of pesticide product registration, labeling, and use are for DPR to address,
not the legislature.
Thank you to the more than 100 GCSAA members who sent emails and placed phone calls opposing this bill. But the advocacy work is not done as there is a high likelihood a similar bill will return during the 2023 legislative session. GCSAA will continue
to monitor this issue and work with key members of the legislature, as well as the governor’s office, to educate them on product registration, product stewardship and best management practices utilized within the golf industry which together,
make this and similar bills unnecessary.
If you would like to be involved in these advocacy efforts to defend and promote turf management, join GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador program.