2015 Bills

HB224: Deregulating Beekeeping in Utah

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Currently, Utah law prohibits beekeeping unless the individual first registers with, and pays, the state government. This mandate has led many beekeepers to “go underground” by defying the requirement and doing it without the government’s permisison or knowledge.

House Bill 224, sponsored by Representative Marc Roberts, proposes carving out the registration requirement for those who operate five bee hives or less, leaving the burden to the commercial beekeepers and others with a large operation. Those exempted from the registration requirement would, under the bill, still be able to voluntarily register to receive services if they so desire.

The bill also:

  • removes a provision that prohibits a beekeeper from operating a hive that does not contain movable parts;
  • allows county inspectors to investigate complaints only when they allege a severely diseased, parasitized, or abandoned hive, and only after giving notice to the owner;
  • removes a requirement that compels beekeepers to allow inspectors on their property for a routine annual inspection, making the inspection voluntary and requiring consent of the owner;
  • allows the Department of Agriculture to restrict migratory beekeeping upon petition for purposes of protecting bee genetics or breeding; and
  • prohibits cities from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations related to raising or managing bees.

In essence, this bill largely deregulates beekeeping, allowing property owners to engage freely in the market and participate in a natural process without being on a government list and paying fees. As such, we support the proposed legislation.