Local government urban fertilizer bill heads to the Governor’s desk

February 25, 2020

Senator Monty Mason’s bill pertaining to local government urban fertilizer programs successfully passed the full House of Delegates on Monday morning by a 63-36 vote and will now head to the Governor’s desk for evaluation and signing.

SB 849 (Mason) authorizes local governments to enter into agreements with the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to provide oversight and data collection assistance related to the requirements of certified lawn fertilizer contractor-applicators.

SB 849 is one of the Northam Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) bills and is simply designed to give a local government the option to work with the VDACS Commissioner to help administer an urban fertilizer program.  In addition to this local option, the bill also reduces from 100 to 50 the total number of acres of nonagricultural land to which a contractor-applicator may apply lawn fertilizer and lawn maintenance fertilizer annually without submitting an annual report to the Commissioner. The bill also increases from $250 to $1,000 the civil penalty imposed on a contractor-applicator for a violation of applicable regulations.

Senator Mason’s legislation is purely permissive in nature.  Prior to the bill’s introduction, the Northam Administration worked with VACo and other stakeholders to ensure that the authority to enter into agreements with VDACS to administer an urban fertilizer program was drafted as a local option, not a mandate.

VACo supports SB 849, which will soon be signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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