S E N A T E R E S O L U T I O N
CREATING A SPECIAL SENATE COMMISSION TO STUDY PESTICIDE USE IN RHODE ISLAND SCHOOLS
WHEREAS, In 1992, the National Parent Teacher Association passed a resolution calling for the reduced use of pesticides in schools and calling on policy makers to consider all possible alternatives before using pesticides; and
WHEREAS, The National Education Association and numerous other national public interest organizations have announced support for reducing all eliminating pesticide use in schools; and
WHEREAS, Childhood cancer is continuing to increase at the alarming rate of one percent (1%) per year; and
WHEREAS, Approximately four million eight hundred thousand (4,800,000) children in the United States under the age of eighteen (18) have asthma, the most common chronic illness in children, and the incident of asthma is on the rise; and
WHEREAS, Children are more susceptible to hazardous impacts from pesticides than are adults; and
WHEREAS, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended the use of an integrated pest management system by school districts, which emphasizes nonchemical approaches to pest control, such as sanitation and maintenance; and
WHEREAS, An integrated pest system provides long-term health; and
WHEREAS, The people of Rhode Island have a fundamental right to know about the use of pesticides; and
WHEREAS, Pesticides contain toxic substances, many of which may have a detrimental effect on human health and the environment and, in particular, have developmental effects on children; and
WHEREAS, Citizens of Rhode Island are being denied their right to know and their ability to make informed decisions about the level of pesticide exposure to them and their children; and
WHEREAS, Compiled information regarding pesticide use in the state is not maintained in a manner which is useful to the public, thereby making it difficult to assess and address the potential health and environmental impact of pesticide use in Rhode Island; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That a special Senate commission be and the same is hereby created consisting of fifteen (15) members: two (2) of whom shall be from the senate, not more than one (1) from the same political party, to be appointed by the senate majority leader; two (2) of whom shall be from the general public, to be appointed by the senate majority leader; one (1) of whom shall be from the Environmental Coalition of Rhode Island; one (1) of whom shall be the Director of the Department of Environmental Management, or his or her designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Director of the Department of Health, or his or her designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Education, or his or her designee; one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Pesticide Relief Advisory Board; one (1) of whom shall be from the Pest Control Industry; one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Rhode Island Association of School Associations; one (1) of whom shall be a representative of the American Lung Association; one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Rhode Island State Parent Teacher Association; one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers; and one (1) of whom shall be a member of the National Education Association.
In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a general assembly resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu of a legislator, provided that the majority leader which is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of the member of the general public.
The purpose of said commission shall be to study the use of pesticides in Rhode Island schools, prevent unnecessary exposure of children to chemical pesticides and provide the healthiest learning environment, playgrounds, and playfields possible; promote safer alternatives to pesticides while preventing economic health damage caused by pests; ensure that clear and accurate notification concerning the use of pesticides in schools, daycare centers and school age child care programs be made available, so that measures may be taken to prevent and address pest problems effectively without endangering children or adults; and implement the use of integrated pest management techniques to reduce the need for reliance on chemical pesticides.
Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at the call of the Senate Majority Leader and organize and shall select from among the legislators a chairperson.
Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.
The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information, documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.
The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters for said commission; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the Senate before February 5, 2003 and said commission shall expire on April 5, 2003.