(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Marlene Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) to protect plants native to New Jersey by prohibiting the sale or planting of certain invasive plant species was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
“These plants are called “invasive” for a reason. They cause serious ecological disturbances, can alter habitats and reduce biodiversity. Our native plants are especially vulnerable to these pesky outsiders,” said Caride. “Invasive species are mainly introduced by human action. Prohibiting the sale and planting of these nuisance plants will help protect our natural and agricultural heritage.”
The bill (A-3125) would prohibit the sale, planting, propagation or distribution of certain invasive plants in the state, except for scientific or educational purposes.
Under the bill, any person who violates this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for a third or subsequent offense. In order for it to be considered a violation under the bill, the person must have knowingly sold or planted the invasive plant in question.
The sale, offer for sale, planting, propagation, or distribution of an invasive plant that is inadvertently included in a container with another plant would not constitute a violation under the bill.
Lastly, the bill would prohibit the Department of Agriculture from adding any plant to the list of plants defined as invasive by the bill.
The bill was approved 62-1-1 and heads to the Senate for further consideration.