2016 Bills

HB115: Deregulating Beekeeping in the Beehive State

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Currently, Utah law prohibits beekeeping unless the individual first registers with, and pays, the state government. This mandate has led many beekeepers to “go underground” by defying the requirement and doing it without the government’s permission or knowledge.

House Bill 115, sponsored by Representative Marc Roberts, proposes eliminating the mandatory registration requirement, replacing it with a voluntary option for those who wish to receive services from the Department of Agriculture and Food.

The bill also:

  • requires county bee inspectors to submit records of their inspections to the Department
  • requires county bee inspectors to notice an apiary owner prior to inspect it upon complaint that the apiary is infected
  • removes the authority for county bee inspectors to obtain a warrant to gain access to property where admittance has been refused
  • prohibits cities from outlawing the ownership and operation of a beehive on an owner’s property

In essence, this bill largely deregulates beekeeping, allowing property owners to engage freely in the market and participate in a natural process without being on a government list and paying fees. As such, we support the proposed legislation.

  • Very unimpressed that this “Update” lists a few points but fails to discuss the remaining details of the bill.  To deregulate beekeeping, when the spread of disease is the biggest risk, makes zero sense.  Whether a beekeeper registers with the State or not, does not matter.  It does matter that inspectors with experience are quickly allowed to inspect and isolate disease.  Bees rob from each other regularly, so disease is easily and can quickly be shared.  With migratory beekeeping a standard practice in the USA, deregulation puts all beekeepers in the nation at risk by a thoughtless bill like this.  

    Deregulation is like saying “no condoms” in an area where teenage sex is high.  

    Marc is on a mission to pass his first bill and the beekeeping industry is posed to lose big.  

    Regulation of beekeeping is essential for education and disease prevention and control

    Standard removable frames are the only acceptable method to inspect hives.

    This deregulation bill suggests that the most inexperienced beekeepers (with less than 5 hives) do not have to register their hives, and restricts inspectors access to inspections.  

    Most of Utah’s fertile areas are shared by both commercial and backyard beekeepers, and if one beekeeper with little to no experience has hives where they think they want to go “natural”, this essentially becomes a breeding ground for mites and disease, with access to all other colonies within a 2-3 mile radius.  

    Stupid, stupid and more stupid.  

    Education is the key, but there is no formal education in Utah for beekeepers.  Classes that teach beekeepers how to start, is not education … it is sales promotion and marketing.  Master level education programs educates beekeepers that in turn teach others. We DO NOT HAVE ANY PROGRAM in Utah to educate beekeepers.  Regulate that Marc Roberts!!

    Perhaps in a perfect world deregulation is possible, but not without education in congested areas that have migratory hives that have access to 100% of the nations bees.  First step is education, which is NOT happening in Utah.  

    In other States I see beekeeping clubs providing inspections in counties where there is NO county inspectors.  Utah does not recognize or place clubs in a position to do this, as most clubs are monthly educational grounds for new beekeepers, led but novice beekeepers.  No formal “Master Level” bee instructors in these clubs in Utah county, Salt Lake County, or Davis county, Weber county, and Cache Valley County (where most of the beehives reside in Utah).  

    Utah has some seasoned beekeepers, but little interaction exists between the seasoned and new beekeeper.  Education is where the focus needs to be.  Otherwise we will have beekeepers with unregulated hives (no condom), spreading disease to everyone else.

  • davidmpark

    I support it!

  • AustinMabry

    “Deregulation is like saying “no condoms” in an area where teenage sex is high.” 

    No, it’s like saying that you cannot force people to register with the state before engaging in sex, or subject them to unannounced and involuntary inspections of their genitalia, at the whim of a bureaucrat. 😉

  • Commercial Bee

    I definitely support this bill but even more important is that we defeat HB 315. 315 will screw anyone that has any desire to grow or get into the business. It will benefit only a small handful of big guys at the expense of everyone else. It’s also anti free enterprise and takes away our AND all land owner’s freedom. This coming from a beekeeper who runs over a thousand hives.

  • Larry Knowlden

    As a Hobbyist beekeeper and past president of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association and former Secretary of the Utah Beekeepers Association.  I support part of HB115 where you want to Remove the Unlawful Act to have Honey Bees, but do not agree with the Legislation of removing the Mandatory Registration.  I believe it is very important to keep the Mandatory Registration for a number of reasons.  The fee is very little and seems to be only the few that pay for the Bee Inspection Act where the bee inspectors can go help beekeepers and check for foul brood and other pests and diseases.  I do think that when bee packages are sold in the state, it would be important, and I think even mandatory that those who purchase packages register their hives with the state.  It provides protection to all of us. I have found over the 40+ years of being a beekeeper, it is the renegades, that seem to cause the most problems.  They want no oversight, but they seem to be the worst beekeepers.  I also want to know if there is an outbreak of pests or diseases and that is where I feel the State Agriculture Department can help.  The Utah Beekeepers Convention is on Friday February 26th, maybe it would be good for you to visit and talk with those who would be most concerned with this bill.  Larry Knowlden

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