The National Association of Landscape Professionals is constantly at work protecting members’ interests in legislation and lately, there have been several wins at the local and state levels.
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, NALP was able to identify adverse legislation that would ban EPA registered pesticides from being used on private property before it was brought up for discussion.
“We have excellent members with excellent connections on the ground,” says Bob Mann, director of state and local government relations. “The neighboring county, Montgomery County, had similar legislation pass into law a couple years ago. There are a lot of members that have businesses in both counties who heard through the grapevine that this was a possibility.”
NALP relies upon the relationships that members make with their local politicians to get ahead of legislation that could be harmful to lawn and landscape businesses. Mann says they were able to use the switch to Zoom meetings due to the pandemic to their advantage.
“We were able to leverage that technology to meet with seven out of the 11 county council members for an extended period of time,” Mann says. “Most of them were upwards of an hour just our members, along with staff, talking to these counselors at length about this issue and how it would affect them.”
Originally, when this legislation was first brought up for consideration, it had passed unanimously. However, by speaking with the council members about their concerns, NALP members were able to reverse this and the legislation did not have enough votes to pass.
“It was very effective, and I think that’s probably the part that I am most proud of is that we got in ahead of the curve and, we were able to have elongated conversations,” Mann says. “Normally, up to this point, we’ve been reactionary, and we only get three minutes at a council meeting to voice our objection. Usually, at that point, positions have already been made on how they’re going to vote.”
In Massachusetts, there was a widespread outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) last year and the state undertook aerial mosquito spraying to control the mosquito population. Legislation was introduced recently designed to help coordinate an enhanced statewide response to the public health threat posed by EEE.
One part of that legislation creates a task force that was lacking someone to represent professional applicators. NALP voiced its concerns about this and Mann has been added to the task force to represent applicators. Mann retains his pesticide license in Massachusetts, which allows him to be a professional applicator without having to worry about running a business.
“It’s good that I’m able to help out the cause and someone else doesn’t have to come off the road or forgo important revenue in order to participate,” Mann says.
To view more wins NALP has recently achieved, click here to view the Mid-Year Government Relations Report.
“None of this stuff happens without member participation, that’s kind of the take-home message,” Mann says. “Andrew and I facilitate things. It’s the members who bring the force to stuff. We’re nothing without them and we need their help and their support.”