The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is advising lawmakers to adopt Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal for tripling most penalties for pesticide violations.
The cap for civil penalties would rise from $25,000 to $75,000, while criminal penalties could be as high as $100,000.
The LAO acknowledges that “serious pesticide use violations do not occur with great frequency” and have not increased for several years. But it believed that enhancing the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s ability to “deter and correct for serious incidents is worthwhile,” since some pesticide exposure could lead to chronic health impacts like cancer or reproductive harm.
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The office found that the state has not raised most civil and criminal penalties for 30 years. But the governor’s proposed increases are well above inflation adjustments, and the LAO reasoned lower increases could still be effective.
The proposal would also boost enforcement spending, allowing DPR to hire the attorney general’s office more often to pursue violations that cross counties.
Newsom will unveil a revised state budget proposal later this week and has a month to negotiate a final deal with the Legislature.