Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Dem Ag Commissioner Candidate Hank Gilbert Blasts Incumbent Staples On Texas Bed Bug Infestation

Hank Gilbert, the Democratic nominee for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, says that incumbent Commissioner Todd Staples has not taken necessary steps to stop bedbug infestation in Texas.

(Above–Hank Gilbert–As American as Amber Waves of Grain.)

Mr. Staples has been more concerned with his buddies in the pest control industry, than he has been with the best interests of the people of Texas.

In addition, Mr. Staples is not doing all he can to educate Texans about how to prevent bed bug infestation.

Please visit Mr. Gilbert’s campaign web home.  The Governor’s race gets the attention, but all the statewide races impact people’s lives in our Great State of Texas.

Here is my post from earlier his year in support of Mr. Gilbert.

Below is Mr. Gilbert’s press release on this important subject.

Bed bugs might make you giggle, but you won’t be giggling if they get into your home and into your bed.

Here are some facts on spotting and preventing bed bugs.

Bed bugs are advancing across Texas. Mr. Staples does not seem to care. The Texas Department of Agriculture needs to step up and put everyday Texans before big money political donations.

The release—

TYLER-Hank Gilbert, the Texas Democratic Party’s nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, questioned Wednesday why the Texas Department of Agriculture, the state agency in charge of pesticide regulation, has been silent on the epidemic of bed bugs sweeping the state from Odessa to Fort Worth to San Antonio.

“Given the issues in other states with the misapplication of commercial pesticides to combat the bed bug epidemic, it is astonishing that the Texas Department of Agriculture isn’t doing a thing to inform and educate consumers about the dangers of pesticide misapplication or in how to find applicators licensed to treat bed bugs,” Gilbert said.

“The EPA recently issued a warning to consumers about using chemicals meant for outdoor use inside to treat bedbugs, and warned consumers about unscrupulous pest control companies trying to take advantage of people with bedbug problems. It is inexcusable that Todd Staples is abdicating his responsibility to protect Texans to the federal government when he is in charge of the agency that regulates pest control in Texas,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert pointed out that bedbug infestations have been reported in San Antonio, Amarillo, Midland, Dallas, and Fort Worth. “This is just what has made it into the media,” Gilbert said. “Who knows how bad the problem is, or how many people are misapplying pesticides or getting taken by unscrupulous exterminators because TDA hasn’t bothered to educate the public,” he continued. “It is a disservice not only to consumers but to all of the licensed pest control applicators out there. If TDA doesn’t tell consumers what to look for when hiring a pest control company, unscrupulous companies will take advantage of consumers and take business away from the legitimate operators,” Gilbert continued.

Since 2007, the Texas Department of Agriculture has controlled not only agricultural pesticide application but also structural pest control application following the closure of the Structural Pest Control Board and the merging of its duties and responsibilities with TDA. Since September 1, 2009, TDA has also had authority over health-related pest control.

“Most Texans have no idea that the Department of Agriculture is the regulatory agency that supervises the licensed exterminators in their area,” Gilbert said. “And, how would they? Staples’ TDA has done a terrible job letting consumers know that they regulate this,” he said.

Gilbert also criticized Staples for failing to stand up for consumers in 2009 when the Texas Legislature enacted legislation which lessened consumer protections related to structural pest control applications and considered additional legislation which would have weakened consumer protections even more.

“Buried in Senate Bill 1016 in 2009, there are enactments that weaken consumer protection with regard to structural pest control,” Gilbert said. “Todd Staples personally appeared before the Senate and House committees considering this legislation and testified on it. He should have taken that opportunity to speak out against weakening consumer protections, but he didn’t,” Gilbert said. Gilbert also noted that if House Bill 2038 had passed that session, structural pest control regulations protecting consumers would have been further weakened.

Gilbert noted that under HB 2038 altered requirements for apartment buildings, day care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, warehouses, and food-processing establishments, by doing away with the requirement that those facilities contract with a licensed commercial applicator or have a staff member who is a certified noncommercial applicator or technician perform pest control services.

“Under that bill, if you owned the facility and were the only one who worked there, you didn’t need anyone licensed or trained to apply pesticides. While hospitals and nursing homes have large staffs, imagine how many daycares, motels, apartment buildings, warehouses, or food processing establishments would have been able to slip through the cracks,” Gilbert said. “This is legislation which would have made Texans less safe. Misapplication of pesticide by unlicensed, untrained people can be dangerous and deadly, but Todd Staples didn’t oppose these changes,” Gilbert said.

“Instead of taking a stand against weakening consumer protections, Staples just sided with the groups who wanted these consumer protections weakened and had given him thousands of dollars,” Gilbert continued.

FACT SHEET

Once Again, Staples Fails Texans

RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE OF BEDBUG INFESTATIONS IN TEXAS:

Fort Worth

Midland (also Midland)

Dallas

Amarillo

San Antonio

Beaumont

Sherman

FACT: Staples took thousands from lobby groups that wanted to weaken consumer protection laws related to structural pest control. The Texas Apartment Association and Texas Pest Control Associationboth supported weakening consumer protection laws related to structural pest control. [Witness List, House Committee on Agriculture, Hearing on HB 2038, 81st Texas Legislature. Many of the changes proposed to weaken consumer protection requirements related to structural pest control under HB 2038 are incorporated into SB 1016. [SB 1016, 81st Texas Legislature]. The Texas Apartment Association and Texas Pest Control Association PACs have given thousands to Staples:

Texas Apartment Assn Pac,  $ 2,500.00  12/08/09

Texas Apartment Assn Pac,  $ 2,000.00  11/14/05

Texas Apartment Assn Pac,  $ 1,250.00  11/12/07

Texas Apartment Assn Pac,  $ 1,250.00  12/04/08

Texas Pest Control Assn. Pac,  $ 250.00  9/21/08

Texas Pest Control Assn. Pac,  $ 250.00  11/25/08

Texas Pest Control Assn. Pac,  $ 500.00  8/04/09

Texas Pest Control Assn. Pac,  $ 1,000.00  11/30/07

[Texas Ethics Commission]

September 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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