TRENTON, N.J. — A bill that would provide $250,000 to help develop method of tick control was voted out of committee on May 16.

The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee made some amendments, before releasing Assembly Bill No. 5160. There is no Senate version of the bill as of May 20.

This bill, as amended, requires the State Mosquito Control Commission to establish a pilot program to award grants to counties and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to develop and study methods for tick control.

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Tick-borne diseases affect horses, pets and people.

Under the bill, the commission would establish the grant application process as well as terms and conditions for awarding grants. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station would be awarded grants to establish a tick specialist at the station and other locations in New Jersey operated by the station. Each recipient of a grant would be required to report to the commission on the status of its tick control program. After three years, the commission would be required to issue a report to the Legislature about the effectiveness of the pilot program, which would then expire.

“New Jersey ranks among states in the top 20% of the nation’s reported disease cases caused by ticks.

 “Our proximity to major ports such as New York City, Philadelphia and Wilmington and those within the boundaries in Newark/Elizabeth and Camden makes the State susceptible to invasive species, such as the East Asian Tick. This specific species was found in Hunterdon County last year. It had never before been seen in the United States. East Asian ticks have been known to spread severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a potentially life-threatening disease.

“We must do more as a state to defend our communities against ticks and discover new ways to control its growth in our parks and forests where many families enjoy their summers. This legislation will lead us in the right direction to finding out the next step to take on this big ‘little-sized’ problem in the Garden State,” bill sponsor, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling said in a statement.

On Oct. 22 another bill that would add tick control to the duties of the mosquito commissions was voted out of committee.

The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 5-0 with one abstention to send Assembly Bill No. 4459 to the full Assembly. No action has been taken since in the Assembly, nor the Senate.

That bill is also sponsored by Houghtaling as well as Assemblywoman Joann Downey, both from District 11, Monmouth County.

The bill would add tick control to the duties of the State and county mosquito control commissions. Ticks, like mosquitoes, are vectors for disease. Ticks are known to transmit diseases such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan disease and other diseases to humans, livestock including horses, and pets.

New Jersey is especially conducive to ticks because of its climate, woodlands, and its large agricultural sector.

Under current law, no statewide or countywide measures are authorized to control the tick population. This bill would authorize the mosquito control commissions to create and implement tick control measures. The commissions would use their existing revenue-raising powers to finance any tick control measures that they deem appropriate.

About the Mosquito Control Commission

In New Jersey, organized mosquito control work began in the early 1900s following the discovery that mosquitoes were directly responsible for the transmission of some of the most deadly diseases known to man and animals. Today, control of these pests in the state is addressed at every level of government, ranging from seasonal programs at the municipal and federal levels, to year-round programs administered by county and state agencies. One such agency is the State Mosquito Control Commission.

The State Mosquito Control Commission was established in 1956. The commission is staffed full-time by the Office of Mosquito Control Coordination and is located at the Department of Environmental Protection. Membership on the commission includes six public members and four state officials.

To combat mosquitoes a safe environmentally-sound Mosquito Aerial Application Operation is maintained. The commission reviews municipal and county mosquito control programs and projects to ensure their compliance with existing state and federal regulations and policies. It also supports and encourages the training of county mosquito control personnel and education of the general public with regard to mosquito biology, surveillance, and the various chemical, biological and water management techniques and practices used in the state's abatement efforts.

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