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Bedbug bill passes state House


SALEM -- A bill designed to get more information on the whereabouts and abundance of bedbugs has made its way to the Senate.



The House was "itching to vote" on it, said Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City. He was carrying the bill in the House.



Representatives approved the bill Feb. 13 by a vote of 55-1.



"You've probably read and heard about bedbug infestations on the East Coast," Kennemer said. "Now, Portland and other urban areas in Oregon are being hit as well.



"House Bill 2131 is the first step to better understand and deal with this serious issue by compiling information and data," he said.



HB2131 stipulates that reports to public health officials on bedbugs be kept confidential and not be subject to Oregon's public records law.



The bill is an attempt to elicit information from sources that otherwise would be reluctant to share it, Kennemer said.



"Current data is incomplete because pest-management professionals fear that making an official report to local authorities could harm their clients' property values (and) reputations," Kennemer said.



Because the bug doesn't spread diseases or harm plants, it is not considered an agricultural pest, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.



"They are more a nuisance pest than anything else," Bruce Pokarney, spokesman for the department, said.



Kennemer ended his floor speech with one last urging: "Please kill the bugs, not the bill."



--Mitch Lies



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