State Reps. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) and Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) today joined their House colleagues in passing House Bill 496, legislation that provides legal protections for Ohio’s beekeepers. Stein and Hoops joint-sponsored the legislation and spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor.
“Farmers need our support; the apiary community needs our support,” said Stein. “A result of the devastation caused by COVID-19, farmers margins are in many cases under water and need every advantage to have a successful season.”
House Bill 496 grants apiary owners immunity for bee sting personal injury lawsuits if the beekeeper meets the following criteria:
- Complies with local zoning ordinances;
- Registers their colony locations with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA);
- Operates the apiary in compliance with existing provisions;
- Implements and complies with best management practices defined by ODA.
Under the bill, the limitation of liability does not apply to intentional tortious conduct or acts or omission constituting gross negligence.
“Despite their immense value, honeybees are dying at alarming rates,” said Hoops. “This bill protects our beekeeping community from excessive lawsuits and encourages best management practices in the industry.”
The legislation awaits further action in the Senate.