2016 Bills

HB 315: Protectionism for Commercial Beekeepers

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

Representative Kay McIff is sponsoring House Bill 315, written by a commercial beekeeper, which would impose barriers to entry by making it difficult for anybody else to manage bees in the state in competition with established “commercial” beekeepers.

Those who violate the provisions of this bill—including the mandatory registration requirement—would be subject to a class B misdemeanor and $1,000 fine for every day that they are in violation. This absurd over-reach is completely unwarranted and unenforceable.

While the bill contains a number of provisions regarding commercial beekeepers and the rules with which they must comply, the most egregious is the clearly protectionist requirement that “A new commercial location may not be situated within a two-mile radius of an already registered commercial location.” This means that one small commercial beekeeper can get “first come first serve” rights by establishing a few apiaries two miles apart, extending his/her reach for miles, thus locking out competitors and dominating the area—this despite potentially abundant nectar sources that could supply far more bees than those owned by the commercial beekeeper.

Awkwardly, the bill defines a “commercial beekeeper” as “a person who owns 21 or more hives.” But a hive is merely the box itself, whether there are bees in it or not. So a commercial beekeeper who owns 21 hive boxes can use the force of law to prohibit anybody within two miles who actually has bees from managing an apiary on his/her property. Again, those who do this would face significant criminal penalties.

This bill stands at odds with a competing proposal which would deregulate beekeeping in the beehive state.