Section 2-25-3

Power and duty of commissioner as to protection of agricultural and horticultural interests from plant pests and noxious weeds generally.

It shall be the duty of the commissioner to protect the agricultural and horticultural interests of the state from plant pests and noxious weeds; and, to that end, he is vested with power and authority to:

(1) Inspect or cause to be inspected by duly authorized employees, plants, plant products, places or other things and substances that may, in his opinion, be capable of disseminating or carrying plant pests or noxious weeds, and, for this purpose, he shall have power to enter into or upon any place and to open any bundle, package or other container containing or thought to contain plants or plant products or other things capable of disseminating or carrying plant pests or noxious weeds;

(2) Supervise or cause the treatment, cutting and destruction of plants, plant parts, fruit, soil, containers, equipment, and other articles capable of harboring plant pests or noxious weeds if they are infested or located in an area which may be suspected of being infested or infected due to its proximity to a known infestation or infection, or if they come from a situation where they are reasonably exposed to infestation or infection when necessary to prevent or control the dissemination of plant pests or noxious weeds, or to eradicate same and to prescribe rules and regulations therefor;

(3) Inspect or cause to be inspected all nurseries in the state at such intervals as he may deem best;

(4) Demand of any person who has plants or plant products or other things likely to carry plant pests or noxious weeds in his possession to give full information as to the origin and source of same, and it shall be a Class "C" misdemeanor for such person to refuse to give the information demanded, if able to do so;

(5) Declare a plant pest or noxious weeds to be a public nuisance as well as any plant or other thing infested or infected therewith or that has been exposed to infestation or infection and therefore likely to communicate same;

(6) Intercept and inspect while in transit or after arrival at destination all plants, plant products or other things likely to carry plant pests or noxious weeds being moved in this state or brought into this state from another state, territory or foreign country, and, if upon inspection, the same is found to be infested or infected with a plant, pest or noxious weed, or if such material is believed to be likely to communicate or transmit same or is being transported in violation of any of the rules and regulations of the commissioner, then said plants, plant products or other things may be treated when necessary and released, returned to the sender or destroyed, such disposition to be determined under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the board and commissioner;

(7) Purchase all necessary materials, supplies, office and field equipment and other things and to make such other expenditures as may be essential and necessary in carrying out the provisions of this article;

(8) Enforce the provisions of this article and the rules and regulations made pursuant thereto by writ of injunction in the proper court as well as by criminal proceedings;

(9) To enter into cooperative arrangements with any person, municipality, county, and other department of this state and boards, officers, and authorities of other states and the United States for inspection with reference to plant pests and noxious weeds for the control and eradication thereof or to enter into cooperative agreements as above, for the production and distribution of organisms, pesticides, chemical compounds, or other methods of control investigated, discovered, or developed. The commissioner may accept a royalty or other remuneration for his services or contribution, which shall be deposited into the Agricultural Fund for use in furtherance of this article; and

(10) To conduct hearings, administer oaths, to compel appearance of persons and any books, documents or records by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, to examine any books or records kept by nurserymen or dealers in nursery stock which pertain to the business of handling, growing, distributing, selling, or any other activity involving plants, plant products, or nursery stock regulated by this article.

(Ag. Code 1927, §296; Code 1940, T. 2, §456; Acts 1991, No. 91-632, p. 1179, §3.)