Crawling to a Hearing
February 24th, 2009
Sleep tight, but don’t let the bed bugs bite.
That adage could find new meaning today at City Hall. At 1 p.m., the City Council will hold a hearing on three bills aimed at eradicating the nasty pests from our urban mattresses.
All introduced by Councilmember Gale Brewer, who has been on a bed bug blasting crusade for several years, the first bill would ban the sale of refurbished mattresses and fine violators between $250 and $1,000. It would also create a five-member bed bug task force to look into health concerns caused by the invasive species (For more on other invasive species, check out our package: Know Your Invasive Critters and Invasion New York).
A second bill would require mattresses be put in plastic bags, emblazoned with bed bug warnings, before setting it at the curb for sanitation pickup. Another bill would require exterminators and property owners be trained on bed bug prevention.
In a press release announcing the hearings earlier this month, Brewer said the city is crawling behind other metropolitan areas, like Cincinnati, San Francisco, Boston and Toronto, in regulating the invasive species.
“That’s just not good enough,” said Brewer in a prepared statement. “It’s great that we’re not smoking as much, and great that we’re not eating trans fats, but we need to focus on bed bugs in the same aggressive manner.”
These urban vampires made their way over to the Big Apple in more steady droves, entomologists contend, because of increased immigration. Their threat is greater than their bite. Highly contagious, the bugs move into all types of furniture, beyond mattresses, making it very costly to get rid of them.
So far, the fate of the three bills is unknown. It is the second hearing for each, which is usually an indication that the council will adopt them (Any bill that doesn’t stand a chance usually fades away into City Hall’s legislative black hole). The City Council is scheduled to have a stated meeting on Thursday, but it is unclear whether these bills will make it on the agenda. A spokeswoman for Brewer said the speaker would attend the hearing today — an indication that the issue has made it to her agenda.
Translation: If it’s on the speaker’s agenda, it’s on the council’s too.By Courtney Gross on February 24, 2009, 12:17 pm
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