CALIFORNIA – The State Assembly approved legislation by Assemblymember Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, to protect the health of honey bees as a crucial component of California agriculture.

Assembly Bill 1912 would establish the California Apiary Research Commission to identify and educate beekeepers on integrated pest management practices relative to diseases afflicting honey bees and the improvement of bee colony management practices. The seven-member commission will be funded through fees assessed on bee colonies, not to exceed $1, which must be validated by a referendum among the beekeepers equal to 65 percent of the bee colonies kept in California.

According to information provided by Assemblymember Evans' office, Colony Collapse Disorder has reduced the nation's bee population by 25 percent in the past three years, which has created pressures in agricultural sectors that rely on bee populations for pollination of their crops.