This Week’s State Legislative Roundup

In the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, the city council recently introduced a resolution calling on state legislators to repeal or amend a state law that prevents municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides themselves.

In Utah, the House of Representatives approved HB 280, legislation preempting local governments from regulating fertilizer, pesticides and seed. The measure was widely supported, and sailed through the chamber by a vote of 63-11-1. The legislation now moves on to the Senate for their consideration. NALP and numerous industry allies are advocating for the bill’s passage and are working closely with local stakeholders in our effort to pass the bill. If ultimately approved, there will only be six states that do not preempt local units of government from passing pesticide regulations that differ from state requirements. Continue reading

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Betsy Demoret, Retiring After 25 Years

If you’ve been to an NALP, PLANET, or PLCAA event in the last 25 years, then you have definitely seen or been helped by Betsy Demoret.  With a big smile and lots of energy, Betsy has been a bit of a “den mother” to many staff and members. She loves to stay behind the scenes, so we are pretty sure she will be uncomfortable with the attention – but we can’t let her retire without saying a few words.

Betsy started her career with PLCAA in 1992 when she became the receptionist at their office in Marietta, Georgia, where the small staff and the membership where like a family. She soon transitioned to the events department where her boundless energy came in handy as she helped plan and manage hundreds of events and meetings over the years. Continue reading

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House Agriculture Committee Approves Two Pesticide Related Bills

Last week, two pesticide-related bills supported by NALP and other industry stakeholders sailed through the House Agriculture Committee.  The committee passed both bills by voice vote in the first 10 minutes of the Committee meeting, and provided renewed hope that Congress will take much needed action to help ease the current regulatory burdens related to pesticide approval and use. If these pieces of regulation receive approval by both chambers of Congress, it is almost a certainty that President Trump will sign them into law.

Pesticide Registration Improvement Act
The first bill, H.R. 1029 would reauthorize the 2003 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), which authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to collect fees from industry to license pesticides and review the safety of the chemicals.  PRIA is intended to create a more predictable and effective evaluation process, promote shorter review periods for reduced-risk pesticides, and enhance scientific and regulatory activities related to worker protection.

The latest version of the legislation, introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), will allow the agency to raise up to $31 million—an increase from $27.8 million—to maintain the registrations of existing pesticides. For product registration service fees, there will be two scheduled 5 percent increases—one in 2019 and the second in 2021.  The legislation is expected to pass before the current PRIA expires on Sept. 30.

Clean Water Act Exemptions
The committee also passed H.R. 953, a bill to reinstate Clean Water Act exemptions those who spray pesticides near or over water bodies. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio).  The legislation would overturn a 2009 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that forced the EPA to require National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, which are intended to control pollution in protected waterways, for pesticide applications near water

NALP has long contended that the NPDES permitting process is unnecessary, duplicative of current regulations, costly and ultimately something that undermines public health. We view the water permits as duplicative, given that the EPA must consider pesticide effects on watersheds under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  This is the sixth year the committee has considered the legislation. Gibbs sought to attach the bill to a spending package to address the Zika virus last year, but President Barack Obama threatened to veto the aid if it included the pesticide rider and the provision was not included in the final package.

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How to Get the Job When You Aren’t the Lowest Bidder

Author Marty Grunder, consultant, speaker, and owner of Grunder Landscaping, one of the largest firms in the Midwest, gives his advice on making the sale when you aren’t the lowest bid. Catch Marty at his NALP Sales Boot Camps in Baltimore and Charlotte the week of March 27, 2017. 

Of all the questions I get asked, the one I get asked the most is: How can I get the job even if my price is higher?

#1. Don’t say I lost the job because of my price. For starters, it is a big mistake to say, “I lost that job because our price was too high.” If you accept that your price was too high and that’s just the way it is, all you can do to improve is lower your price to combat that issue. Sure, you could figure out a way to be more efficient; you could cut costs by using cheaper materials and the like and, to be blunt, there’s not a landscape company in America that can’t find a way to lower their costs and be more competitive.  It should be SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, to look for new and better and consequently cheaper ways to do business. Continue reading

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BYU Provo Prepares for NCLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For first-time attendees at this year’s National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) at BYU Provo, March 15-18, the event promises to be an eye-opener for students and industry members alike.

“I competed in the late nineties while a student at Penn State University,” said NCLC Chair Kory Beidler, LandCare Director of Training and Development. “There were so many students and so many different competitive events, it made me realize I was part of something big—that the industry is huge and provided so many opportunities.”

 

New industry attendees will have a similar experience this year, he added. “They will get to see and feel the energy that 800-plus students bring to the Opening Ceremony, something that carries over into the competition and the Career Fair.” As Beidler pointed out, the industry may be mature but the excitement and enthusiasm exhibited by students show the youth movement is alive and well. Continue reading

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What’s Going on in State Governments This Week?

Every year, there is a frenetic level of state legislative activity, and most of it occurs between January and June. This is because a vast majority of state legislatures are part time in nature. Amazingly, despite the relatively short time that they are in session, our nation’s state legislators introduce over 150,000 bills annually, and many of the bills under consideration have a direct impact on landscape professionals. That is why we need NALP members and other industry stakeholders help in our advocacy efforts at the state level. For more information on how you can help provide a voice for your professional interests, contact Paul Mendelsohn.

Here is a snapshot of just three issues that are scheduled for formal action by state legislators this week: Continue reading

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NALP Advocacy Heavily Focused on H-2B Fix

NALP continues to aggressively advocate for the need to address significant problems in the H-2B guest worker program. We understand the crucial need that H-2B serves for many of our members who rely on a dependable seasonal workforce. In January, NALP staff met with over a dozen legislative offices to discuss H-2B and the immediate need to extend the returning worker exemption for 2017.

In close collaboration with other members of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, our activity is focused on both addressing the issue through the appropriations process and fixing it using stand-alone legislation. At this point, it appears that Congress is hesitant to act before the administration provides a clear indication of where they stand on the issue which most likely will not occur until after the confirmation of the Secretary of Labor and the Attorney General. Continue reading

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NALP on the Road Shooting Career Videos

We are on the road again, this time in Florida shooting videos for our new career-focused website, LandscapeIndustryCareers.org which will launch in March.

We are creating a series of video designed to encourage students and other job seekers to explore careers as landscape professionals. We filmed last week with dozens of professionals who graciously shared their time to express their passion for the industry, offer advice and encouragement to those considering industry careers, and to allow video crews to shadow them throughout their workday. Many thanks to Carol King Landscape, Ewing Irrigation, Foliage Design Systems, Greenery Productions, LandCare, TruGreen, and Yellowstone Landscape for providing team members to represent the industry.

The new videos will show the work done by arborists, designers, lawn care technicians, account managers, business developers, etc. They address the strong career path that exists for those who are dedicated, want to learn, and like working with people. In fact, most individuals interviewed stressed the opportunity to work with people is one of the best aspects of the industry, as is the ability to work outside.

Stay tuned.  We can’t wait to debut the videos!

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Now is the Time to Evaluate Your Accounting Software

Author Monica Muir, of  Muir & Associates is an NALP consultant member. 

During your off season (if you have one!), is the time to review, what’s worked and what hasn’t. One area in particular to review is finances – your numbers and accounting software.  Your accounting software contains data that guides so many of your business decisions and definitely your taxes. Mistakes in that software can be costly.  Regardless of how long you’ve been in your accounting software, it is always good to review it every year.  Here are some suggestions: Continue reading

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What You Need to Know to Stay Certified

If you took the next step in your personal and professional growth path by earning the Landscape Industry Certified designation or other industry certifications, you’re to be applauded for your initiative and achievement.

Like you, I found that pursuing certification was a challenge but well worth the effort. I have been rewarded many times over for earning two of NALP’s seven certification designations – the Lawn Care Manager and the Horticultural Technician. NALP even captured me on video chatting about the benefits of certification.

Maintaining Your Certification is Just as Important
And as much as becoming certified is a major achievement, maintaining your credential is essential. Demonstrating your knowledge and skills is a lifelong pursuit, and underscores that your passing exam score is refreshed and current through continuing education. As a landscape professional, you must remain in a roundabout of ongoing career learning to stay on top of your game. Continue reading

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