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Bill adding plants to Oklahoma noxious weed list vetoed

Mitchell Alcala
OSU Agricultural Communication Services

Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill that would have added two invasive weeds to Oklahoma's Noxious Weed Law.

The musk, Scotch and Canada thistles are the only weeds on the state’s noxious weeds law at the moment. House Bill 3186 would have added kudzu, a vine that overruns other plants and structures, and poison hemlock, which is toxic to humans and animals, to that list.

The measure passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in an 86-3 vote and the Oklahoma Senate 41-2 vote, and Stitt vetoed the bill on Tuesday.

“Noxious weed control is a worthy endeavor, but I would prefer to entrust it to individual landowners rather than the environmental state,” according to the veto notice from Stitt’s office.

Under the state’s noxious weed law, landowners must treat, control or eradicate the weeds on their property to prevent them from spreading. The Department of Transportation, the boards of county commissioners and other entities are responsible for maintaining rights of way and clearing the weeds in their jurisdiction.

If a property owner fails to do this, it can result in a fine up to $1,000 per day or legal action. OPMX reported last month, that during the bill’s Senate committee hearing Sen. Grant Green, R-Wellston, said when the department inspects the land from a written complaint, the issue is typically resolved before the penalty.

Oklahoma State University Extension agents or the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry can assess and help landowners make a plan to do away with the weeds.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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