Legislators need to hear from constituents who value native plants
February 10, 2022
** Urge State Senators to Support Invasive Plants Education, HB 314
Photos: English Ivy smothering a tree, Porcelainberry vine with berries. Glenda Booth
Members of the Virginia Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee ([link removed]) need to hear from constituents who value native plants and want to better control invasive plants. Northern Virginia members are Chap Petersen, Richard Stuart, David Marsden, and Barbara Favola. We need to get the senators’ commitment to support HB 314 (text below), a bill introduced by Delegate Paul Krizek, to better inform the public of
* the value of native plants,
* the harm of noxious or invasive plants, and
* how to get information about invasive plants.
Bills move very quickly in the Virginia General Assembly so please email your senators now. To find your senator and your senator’s email address, go to Who's My Legislator ([link removed]) . Ask for a commitment to vote for the bill. Also, check with your senator’s office and see if he/she has a town meeting coming up. Most are online and people can express views and ask senators for their position. The committee is the first level of consideration in the Senate, and if that committee does not approve the bill, it will be dead for this year.
Points to Make
Here are some points, but please put them in your own words.
* The House of Delegates approved the bill 99 to 0 on February 8, 2022.
* People need information at the point of sale to be better informed and to be encouraged to purchase native plants and avoid invasive plants.
* Many retail employees are not knowledgeable about native and invasive plants and can provide little guidance to consumers.
* Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has experience with this approach because it administers the Virginia’s Finest program to identify Virginia food and beverage products. The agency has prepared a sign with a logo for retailers to use.
* The bill does not require retailers to reprint VDACS brochures and does not ban the sale of invasive plants.
Text of HB 314
The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Commissioner) shall, by January 1, 2023, develop a brochure for use by retail establishments that sell plants in the Commonwealth that explains the value of plant species native to the Commonwealth and the harm of noxious weeds and other invasive plants, and shall include information as to how to access more information about noxious weeds and invasive plant species on the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's website. The brochure shall be available for reproduction by a retail establishment, at the retail establishment's expense. The Commissioner shall work with relevant industry stakeholders to facilitate the distribution of the information contained in the brochure.
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