Representative Joe McGonagle joined Speaker DeLeo and their colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation giving the Commonwealth the necessary tools to more effectively combat mosquitos to curtail insect-borne illnesses such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus.
An Act to mitigate arbovirus in the commonwealth permits the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board to engage in mosquito prevention, management and eradication in any area of the Commonwealth upon a determination by the Department of Public Health that an elevated risk of arbovirus exists.
“Most years when we are combating mosquito-borne illness, we are not also combating a global pandemic,” said McGonagle. “Massachusetts has done a great job containing COVID-19 cases, so it would be heartbreaking to see us fall victim to a different disease. I am confident with this legislation that we can contain EEE and West Nile, so we can focus on treating and developing a vaccine for COVID-19.”
Under the bill, the Board must provide 48-hour notice of any mosquito control activities to the public, local and regional boards and commissions and others and creates a process for municipalities to opt-out of these activities if they have a DPH-approved plan.
The bill also establishes a task force to study mosquito control efforts in Massachusetts.
An Act to mitigate arbovirus in the commonwealth now moves back to the Senate.