I copied this from my email. Worth reading and writing.

let us beeThis is the moment that supporters of legalizing beekeeping in NYC have been waiting for. The Department of Health is proposing changes to it’s Health Code that would once again make honey beekeeping legal in NYC!

Between now and Wednesday, February 3rd, you have the opportunity to lend your voice in support of lifting the beekeeping ban. The Department of Health is accepting both oral and written testimony on their proposed changes (see proposed text below) to Article 161, the section of the Health Code that addresses all “Animal” issues, including bees.

Every voice is important! This proposal by the Department of Health, which would make honey beekeeping legal in NYC, is only happening because you signed the petition, mobilized signatures, contributed research, wrote articles, designed web and print materials, attended or helped to organize the Beekeeper’s Ball, Hidden Hives Tour, Honey Fest, New York Nectar and City Hall Rally during NYC Pollinator Week. Make sure you lend your voice in support of lifting the beekeeping ban in NYC at this vital moment in our campaign!

Give oral testimony: The Department of Health is convening a Public Hearing on Article 161 on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 from 10am-12pm at the 3rd Floor Boardroom (Room 330), 125 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013.

The Public Hearing is an opportunity for friend and foe of legalized beekeeping to voice their views on the Department of Health’s proposed revision to the code.

If you would like to speak at the Public Hearing, it is recommended you pre-register by contacting Rena Bryant, Secretary to the Board of Health via phone (212.788.5010) or snail mail (125 Worth Street CN-31, NY, NY 10013) by 5pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. Be sure to include your full name and phone number. Speakers will be allowed to speak for 5 minutes or less.

Submit written testimony: If you cannot attend the Public Hearing but want to lend your voice in support of the Department of Health’s proposal, you should send your written comments on the proposal (1-2 pages maximum) to Rena Bryant via fax (212.788.4315) email or online between now and 5pm on Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

What then?: After the Public Hearing, the Department of Health will consider all oral and written comments and then present their final proposal for the code’s revision to the Board of Health meeting in March, for their final review. With Board of Health approval of this revision, the revised code will take effect in 30 days. Beekeeping could be legal in NYC this April!

Resources: Below, please find the revised text to the bee code that the Department of Health is proposing, which your testimony should respond to, as well as some tips for giving public testimony.

For any questions, please contact Nadia. Please let us know if you plan to attend the Public Hearing, and feel free to share your written testimony with us…we’d love to hear what you have to say!

Click here for updates and background on Just Food’s NYC Beekeeping Legalization Campaign.

honeybee Department of Health proposed text amendment to bee code!

Beekeeping is currently illegal in NYC due to the text in Health Code Article 161.01 that prohibits the possession, keeping, harboring and selling of “wild animals,” including:

“All venomous insects, including, but not limited to, bee, hornet and wasp” outlaws beekeeping.”

The Department of Health is now moving forward to make honey beekeeping legal in NYC!

The following is the revised text that the Department of Health is proposing, which would lift the ban on honey beekeeping, and which you should be responding to in your oral or written testimony:

“All venomous insects, including, but not limited to, bees other than non-aggressive honey bees (Apis mellifera), hornet and wasp. Persons keeping honey bees shall file a notice with the Department, on a form provided or approved by the Department, containing the beekeeper’s name, address, telephone, email and fax numbers, emergency contact information, and location of the hive, and they shall notify the Department within ten business days of any changes to such information. Beekeepers shall adhere to appropriate beekeeping practices including maintaining bee colonies in moveable-frame hives that are kept in sound and usable condition; providing a constant and adequate water source; locating hives so that the movement of bees does not become an animal nuisance, as defined in 161.02 of this Article; and shall be able to respond immediately to control bee swarms and to remediate nuisance conditions.”

The beekeeping section of the animal nuisance definition referred to above and outlined in Article 161.02 reads:

“A beekeeping nuisance shall mean conditions that include, but not be limited to, aggressive or objectionable bee behaviors, hive placement or bee movement that interferes with pedestrian traffic or persons residing on or adjacent to the hive premises; and overcrowded, deceased or abandoned hives.”

Click here to read the full Notice of Intention to Amend Article 161 of the NYC Health Code.

beekeeper Tips for giving public testimony at the bee code hearing

Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or a newbee, it’s crucial that you ensure the Department of Health hears your voice on the proposed changes to Article 161 that would lift the beekeeping ban. Here are a few tips for you to consider when preparing your oral and written testimony:
  • Prepare your comments in advance in writing. Outline the main points you want to convey, and build your remarks from there.
  • State who you are, and who you represent if applicable.
  • Address the specific language proposed by the Department of Health (see text above). If you support the entire proposal, say this and why. If you would like to see some of the proposal revised, come with specific language¬† changes you would wish to see and describe why you think your revision is important.
  • Practice speaking your remarks in advance of the Hearing. If you practice in front of a mirror or a small audience, you’ll become more comfortable at the Hearing and also be certain your remarks are within the 5 minute limit.
  • Bring 15 printed copies of your remarks to the Hearing, in case someone requests them after you testify.
  • Be brief and clear.
  • Be respectful and professional.
  • Thank the Department and Board of Health for their time and attention to this issue.

Thank you for all you do in advocating for healthier food, farms and communities in New York!

Warm wishes,
Nadia Johnson and Matt Chan
Food Justice Program, Just Food