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House Bill 653 — Pesticides, warning labels

House Bill 653 — Pesticides, warning labels

Parrish Miller
March 1, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 653 would create a "rebuttable presumption" that a pesticide producer who complied with federal EPA regulations provided adequate warning about health and safety, regardless of other laws or court precedent. 

Rating: -1

NOTE: House Bill 653 is related to Senate Bill 1245, introduced earlier this session, which failed in the Senate 15-19-1. While House Bill 653 is not as bad as Senate Bill 1245, the two bills have similar underlying problems. 

Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

House Bill 653 would create sections 22-3427 and 48-620, Idaho Code, to provide pesticide producers who comply with EPA labeling regulations a broad "rebuttable presumption that there was an adequate warning regarding health or safety and any relevant provision or doctrine of state law, including without limitation state tort law or relevant common law." 

This rebuttable presumption would apply "notwithstanding any other provision of law or regulation to the contrary." The bill provides an exception: There is "clear and convincing evidence that the warning was inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage or that the warning was procured by fraudulent conduct."

It is inappropriate for the state of Idaho to subordinate state law, state tort law, and relevant common law to federal regulations. 

Additionally, there are fundamental questions about suspending tort law and common law precedent to benefit the producers of one narrow category of goods. Namely, are such actions legitimate and constitutional? There is also an equal protection problem. Why is this special legal carveout being created solely for pesticide producers? There are many goods subject to federal labeling mandates, but only one whose producers would be shielded. 


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