Bill to Ensure Competency in Pesticide Applicators is Signed into Law

Monday, July 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1480, authored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), to reduce fraudulent activity related to the pesticide applicator licensing process, has been signed into law.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation oversees California's Licensing and Certification Program for pesticide applicators. The program ensures licensees possess up-to-date knowledge of state and federal pest control laws and regulations; methods for efficient and effective pesticide application; and, techniques for pesticide application that best protect public health, pest control workers and the environment.

"Pesticide applicators work with dangerous pesticides, and it's our responsibility to ensure that we license individuals who we know have demonstrated competency, and not those that have cheated the system," explained Assemblymember Quirk.

The department has discovered an increasing amount of fraud related to pesticide applicator license applications and license renewal applications. Fraudulent activities during the licensing process include falsifying continuing education records; copying other applicants' licensing examination answers; hiring individuals to pose as the applicant to take the licensing examination; using electronic devices to aid in answering licensing examination questions; and, stealing and distributing, often by selling, licensing examinations.

The department's narrow enforcement authority does not effectively deter fraudulent conduct, which enables uninformed individuals to apply dangerous pesticides, undermines the work of lawful applicators, and ultimately puts California's people and environment at risk. Currently, the department can only take action via civil prosecution.

"was shocked to learn about the creative ways candidates and others are committing fraud during the license process and the department's inability to take enforcement action. The signing of AB 1480 will give the Department of Pesticide Regulation the authority it needs to keep the public safe and pesticide applicators accountable," said Assemblymember Quirk upon learning his bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

AB 1480 will go into effect January 1, 2018.


Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. He is also Chair of the Select Committee on California's Clean Energy Economy. He is a member of the Agriculture, Public Safety, Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Energy Committees. Website of Assemblymember Quirk:

Contact: Tomasa Dueñas
(916) 319-2020 or