Local government urban fertilizer legislation ready to become law

March 5, 2020

Having already passed the Senate, SB 849 (Mason) has now also passed the House of Delegates and is ready to be signed into law.

SB 849 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 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 was pleased to support SB 849 this session.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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