Farnese bill would bite bed bugs back

There’s one category in which state Sen. Larry Farnese doesn’t want Philadelphia to outrank New York City: bed bug infestation. With the cities running numbers one and two in that category, he recently announced that he introduced a bill he hopes will prevent Philly from leapfrogging.

The proposal would require landlords of multi-unit buildings and hotel owners to immediately treat problems once they are notified and, among other measures, buildings would be subject to twice-annual inspections.

Farnese, who said he’s never been bitten by a bed bug, also wants to prevent them from taking a chunk out of the state’s tourism revenue. Under Farnese’s proposal, failure to comply would result in $300 fines per affected unit and $1,000 per affected common area.

“The bed bug population has increased by 500 percent in the past several years. Bed bugs are a public nuisance and it is a matter of public welfare. We must do what we can to protect people against exposure,” he said. “It’s my goal to protect our residents and to keep Pennsylvania competitive as a tourist destination.”

The bill is expected to be referred to the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, but there is no timeline for a vote. Since 2006, the cost to exterminate bed bugs has doubled to more than $250 million, according to a CBS News report.

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