This spring, Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced the Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act, which is similar to a bill Sens. King, Nelson and Burr introduced last year but gained no traction. At the time, the National Pest Management Association, the American Mosquito Control Association, the Entomological Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the legislation.
The SMASH Act improves upon the Mosquito Abatement Safety and Health (MASH) Act passed in 2003 to help combat West Nile virus. It will help fight the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses by:
- Freeing up funds for mosquito management efforts by authorizing additional support for mosquito control at the local and state levels, providing $130 million in grants every year, and allocating matching funds to state and local governments.
- Improving public readiness should an outbreak occur by authorizing grants that support laboratory research so local and state governments can better prepare for, and respond to, infectious disease outbreaks.
- Improving mosquito management by requiring the Government Accountability Office to study, report on, and recommend improvements to existing vector-borne surveillance and control programs in a timely manner. The goal is to protect Americans from emerging mosquito-borne diseases.
The SMASH Act already cleared one hurdle, as it was approved by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in late April. Next up, the Senate and then the House must vote on the proposed legislation. After that, President Donald Trump would sign off on the new law.
You can reach Managing Editor Diane Sofranec at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-706-3793.