The Arizona House Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee is considering an amendment to Senate Bill 1224 that would transfer the Arizona Office of Pest Management to the state Department of Agriculture. The amendment is based on a recommendation that came from the state Auditor General after that office was asked whether or not the Office of Pest Management should be moved. But, the Auditor General wasn’t asked the right question; the question really is: should the pest management office continue to exist?
Instead of moving the pest control office around, the laws that created it should be repealed. Restricted chemicals (those not directly available to the public) are already regulated through the Arizona Department of Agriculture. The bulk of work done by the pest control office involves establishing licensing and training requirements for service providers who mostly use products that can be purchased in a grocery store.
If you have weeds in your yard, you can run down to Home Depot and buy some Round-Up. Nobody would blink twice if your teenager sprays your yard. But if your teen offers to spray your neighbors’ yards, charging a few dollars for his time and the herbicide, the Office of Pest Management might just step in and insist that only a “licensed professional” can do such work. Your teenager would be at risk of being fined and charged with a crime.
The Office of Pest Management, like virtually every licensing agency, protects existing pest spray companies from competition, but does little to protect public safety. The most efficient and beneficial public policy would be to simply repeal the Office of Pest Management once and for all.
Dr. Byron Schlomach is an economist and the director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: Show me Your Roundup License
Arizona Legislature: Proposed strike-everything amendment for Senate Bill 1224
Office of the Auditor General: Report on the Structural Pest Control Commission (now the Office of Pest Management)