Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
secretary
Agriculture and Forestry
Agency
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Board
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Petition 258
Petition Information
Petition Title Amendments to provide for waivers and a permanent exemption and to address public comment opportunities
Date Filed 7/24/2017    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner C.B. Ecker 
Petitioner's Request

Petitioner requests amendments to 2 VAC 5-319 et seq., Best Management Practices for the Operation of Apiaries in Order to Limit Operator Liability, to (i) provide a mechanism to offer public comment regarding the regulation via a regional apiary inspector; (ii) establish provisions for short-term waivers, long-term waivers, and permanent exemptions from the best management practices included in the regulation; and (iii) authorize the Virginia State Beekeepers Association’s website as an official communication outlet for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and direct VDACS to establish or reinitiate official communication with certain entities to communicate honey beekeeping policy to best inform apiarists without broadband service.

 
Agency's Plan

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services will consider this request at its next scheduled meeting following the public comment period.  This meeting will occur on December 7, 2017.

 
Comment Period Ended 9/10/2017
4 comments
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 12/8/2017
Agency Decision Summary

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Board) voted to take no action on the petitioner’s request for rulemaking for the following reasons:

The petitioner requests amendments to 2 VAC 5-319 et seq., Best Management Practices for the Operation of Apiaries in Order to Limit Operator Liability, to (i) provide a mechanism to offer public comment regarding the regulation via a regional apiary inspector; (ii) establish provisions for short-term waivers, long-term waivers, and permanent exemptions from the best management practices included in the regulation; and (iii) authorize the Virginia State Beekeepers Association’s website as an official communication outlet for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and direct VDACS to establish or reinitiate official communication with certain entities to communicate honey beekeeping policy to best inform apiarists without broadband service.

Best Management Practices for the Operation of Apiaries in Order to Limit Operator Liability, 2 VAC 5-319 et seq., was established pursuant to Section 3.2-4411.1 of Virginia’s Beekeeping LawThis section provides that an individual operating an apiary in a responsible manner, in compliance with local zoning restrictions, and in conformance with the agency’s best management practices regulation shall not be liable for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with his keeping of bees. Section 3.2-4411.1 further provides that the initial regulations shall be exempt from the requirements of Article 2 of the Virginia Administrative Process Act provided such regulations are adopted no later than November 1, 2016; however, the Board shall publish proposed regulations in the Virginia Register of Regulations and allow at least 30 days for public comment.

Virginia’s Beekeeping Law does not provide authority to the Board to establish methods for a person to request amendments to the regulation. In addition, Section 2.2-4007 of the Virginia Administrative Process Act establishes a formal process by which a person can request changes to a regulation.

Virginia’s Beekeeping Law does not provide authority to the Board to amend the regulation to allow for waivers or exemptions to provisions established in Best Management Practices for the Operation of Apiaries in Order to Limit Operator Liability, 2 VAC 5-319 et seq. The best management practices in the regulation are those that reduce risks associated with keeping honey bees. Amending the regulation to allow for waivers or exemptions to a voluntary best management practice could provide liability protection for those operations that should not be afforded the limited liability.

Section 3.2-109 of the Code of Virginia establishes the Board. However, neither Section 3.2-4411.1 nor Section 3.2-109 of the Code of Virginia gives the Board authority to establish methods for the communication of information related to beekeeping from VDACS to beekeepers.


Contact Information
Name / Title: Debra Martin  / Program Manager, Office of Plant Industry Services
Address: P.O. Box 1163
Richmond, 23218
Email Address: debra.martin@vdacs.virginia.gov
Telephone: (804)786-3515    FAX: ()-    TDD: ()-