As the calendar turns to July, green industry professionals across this great country begin to plan for the annual PLANET Legislative Day on the Hill. Unfortunately, I haven’t attended all of these annual events over the years but I can tell you from my personal experience, that Day on the Hill is one of the most important activities any green industry professional can participate in.
Tom Delaney and the PLANET team do a great job preparing everyone for their Capitol Hill experience. They take care of everything from providing communications and lobbying training to lining up guest speakers allowing you to peek behind the curtain at the legislative process in Washington. The PLANET web site even has a place where you can electronically set up appointments with your U.S. Senators and Representative. All you have to do is show up and talk about your business and what’s important to you – something that seems to come pretty naturally to most of us.
This year Day on the Hill participants will focus on three main issues:
· The H-2B Visa Program – a key personnel strategy for many lawn and landscape businesses
· H.R. 872 Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 – already passed by the House of Representatives, we want to encourage the senate to act quickly to clarify that duplicate Clean Water Act permits are not needed for pesticide applications
· EPA WaterSense Program – would limit a lawn to 40 percent of the home’s landscaping footprint if the homeowner desires a “water efficient” classification for their property
PLANET provides training and de-briefing on these issues as part of your registration prior to your Hill visits. These are all important issues for our industry and I encourage everyone to learn more about them (whether or not you are attending the Hill function) at the PLANET web site. And you can bet I’ll be ready to discuss a bit about TruGreen during my visits as well.
I look forward to catching up with other lawn care professionals from Tennessee as a part of my Day on the Hill visit. We’ll all head to one of the senate buildings as a group bright and early to participate in “Tennessee Tuesday.” Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker share a light breakfast with anyone from Tennessee who happens to be visiting our Nation’s Capitol on any given Tuesday. Now I’m not real photogenic, but the only time I’ll really have to get out your message directly to the senators is during the 30 seconds or so that it takes for the staff photographer to snap my picture with them. Good thing I can talk fast!
Then we split up and visit our respective representatives. Mine is Congressman Marsha Blackburn. She has extensive experience with the EPA and I share many of her views regarding the proper amount of government regulation when it comes to environmental protection. I’ve been impressed that Congressman Blackburn always tries to make the time for a brief personal visit and genuinely listens to my message.
PLANET recently held a webinar titled: Legislative Day on the Hill 101 in which myself, Tom Delaney (PLANET Staff), and Laurie-Ann Flannagan (DC Legislative & Regulatory Services, Inc.) facilitated this webinar that was intended to help walk you through the process and how Legislative Day on the Hill works. PLANET Members – if you did not attend this webinar, I encourage you to take a moment and listen to the archived audio. (this does require your PLANET id and username)
We look forward to seeing you for this years Legislative Day on the Hill and taking the time to let your voice be heard. Be sure to register!