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Summary of Legislation: This legislation authorizes a local, county, or health authority to abate public health nuisances caused by mosquitos breeding in stagnant water on residential property without notice if it is reasonably presumed that the specific property in question is abandoned or uninhabited due to foreclosure and that is an immediate danger to the life, health, or safety of any person. The bill limits such abatement to the treatment with a mosquito larvicide of stagnant water in which mosquitos are breeding. This legislation provides that after abatement the servicing department or public official shall post to the front door of the property information regarding the chemicals used in the abatement, the identity of the treating authority, date and purpose of the abatement, a description of the area treated, and any known risks of the larvicide to humans or animals.
Notes: With a growing number of West Nile Virus occurrences in Texas, public health officials are rightly concerned about containing breeding populations of mosquitoes, by which the disease is communicated. Abandoned properties often serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Abandoned, condemned, or foreclosed properties that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos constitute a public health hazard and it is appropriate for mosquito abatement treatments to be done. Because there is a compelling interest in reducing the number of mosquitos in order to decrease the risk of West Nile Virus, and because this only applies to abandoned or uninhabited properties, this does not constitute an unreasonable violation of private property rights. We encourage legislators to support HB 832.