Contact: Sen. Maggie Hassan

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CONCORD , NH - Today the New Hampshire State Senate passed SB 373, legislation that establishes a comprehensive mechanism to deal with arboviruses such as EEE.

The legislation became necessary when local communities realized last summer that they did not have the resources or the knowledge to deal with the problem of EEE. There were seven cases of EEE in New Hampshire in 2005, and two residents died from the virus.

"This legislation will allow health or law enforcement officials to order the removal of certain standing water hazards, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes," explained Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-District23, and prime sponsor of the bill. "SB 373 establishes a mosquito control fund to provide financial assistance to communities using mosquito control techniques in response to a declared threat to public health. Communities canvoluntarily enter into mosquito control districts for the purpose of applying for mosquito control funds, and for an expedited process for receiving permission to spray against EEE."

This legislation also establishes a task force to study the local, regional, and state response to arboviruses to ensure that communities, public health experts, farmers, and legislators will have the opportunity to work together to prevent EEE.

"Statistics show that once EEE develops in a certain area, it tends to come back even stronger the next year," noted Sen.Hassan. "We must arm our communities with the necessary tools to protect New Hampshire citizens from EEE. The New Hampshire Senate Democrats are pleased this important democratic agenda item passed the Senate and are also pleased that the Senate Republicans supported this effort."

SB 373 was sponsored by Sen. Hassan, Sen. Estabrook, Sen.Fuller Clark, and Rep. MacKay.