Rodenticide Bill Clears Assembly

A bill to ban some of the most toxic anticoagulant rodenticides has cleared a major hurdle.

Assembly Bill 1788, sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, needed 41 votes. It was approved by the California Assembly on a 50 to 16 vote, with bipartisan support.

This legislation is close to the heart of Poison Free Malibu founders Kian and Joel Schulman, who have spent more than a decade working to get anticoagulant rat poison banned and have worked closely with Bloom on this bill.

Anticoagulant rodenticide prevents blood from clotting, causing any animal that consumes it to slowly bleed to death internally. It also causes secondary poisoning, when predators like mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, hawks, and owls consume prey exposed to the toxins.

Kian Schulman described the assembly vote as a critically important step in what has become a race against time for increasingly impacted species like mountain lions. “Three Republicans voted with us,” Kian Schulman told the Messenger Mountain News.

The bill’s bipartisan support came from Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Randy Voepel (R-San Diego).

Voepal specifically mentioned the danger from rodenticide use at marijuana farms to endangered species. He highlighted the impact of the anticoagulants on raptors, including the critically endangered spotted owl. “There are many additional options available for pest control,” he said.

The bill also had the vocal support of Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), the Chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee. “I don’t often get up on the floor to support other people’s bills, but I am making an exception because I care about our environment,” Quirk said. “This is harming our wildlife and it has to stop now.”

Bloom spoke passionately about the recent death of mountain lion P-47, who survived the Woolsey Fire only to bleed to death internally from exposure to rat poison.

“[P-47] tested positive for six different chemicals,” Bloom said. “He was one of only 15 mountain lions that call the Santa Monica Mountains home, and the fourth one of this sensitive population who died as a direct result of rat poison. Testing has shone nearly every mountain lion tested in the state has rodenticide in their system.”

“Richard Bloom’s opening speech for the bill was superb,” Schulman said. “The bill now moves to the state Senate. Just one more vote to go. With Senator Henry Stern championing it, we are optimistic,” Schulman said.

If the State Senate approves the bill, the most deadly second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone, Difenacoum, and Difethialone) will be banned throughout California, and the use of  first generation rodenticides (Chlorophacinone, Diphacinone, and Warfarin) will no longer be used on state lands, including state parks.

The bill heads next to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and from there to the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, where it is currently scheduled for a June 25 hearing. If the bill passes both committees it is expected to go to the full California State Senate for a vote later this summer.

 

Suzanne Guldimann
Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at suzanne@messengermountainnews.com

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