NALP’s board of directors committed to delivering “relentless advocacy” for the industry to ensure members’ needs and interests are represented to outside stakeholders, particularly elected officials at all levels of government and the business-buying public. NALP’s strengthened advocacy efforts showcase the important benefits healthy lawns and landscapes provide for families, their communities, and the environment, touting the advantages of managed landscapes where we live, work, and play.
The NALP Public Affairs Advisory Council 2017 Score Card is as follows:
Progress on Industry and Career Promotion
Workforce Promotion Completed
- Launched LandscapeIndustryCareers.org that will educate students and career-changers about the wealth of career opportunities that exist in the industry.
- Created 11 videos that show what various specialists do within the industry.
- Created one general video that showcases the great career opportunities that exist in the industry.
- Earned 70 million impressions on NCLC and industry career opportunities
- Created industry job board (www.jobs.landscapeindustrycareers.org) that will connect industry employers and job seekers.
- Created fun and interactive Buzz Feed style quiz to help individuals determine what kind of industry specialist they should be.
Workforce Promotion In-Process
- Launch PR programs (advertising and digital campaigns) to promote the new career site and the job board. (April/May)
- Sponsor content about industry career opportunities on business media outlets. (May)
- Engage in active media relations campaign promoting industry careers. (May)
- Create customizable employee recruitment/promotional material for NALP members.
– Update existing recruitment PPT
-Coloring books for presentations to younger students
– Update leave behind card/tri-foldaboutindustrycareers
– Customizable ads
-How go guide – how to make an impact in presentations to college and high school students – a card that has ideas on what facts, props for cool show and tells, images, analogies, and points to use. Also, sample letters and emails to use in requesting such visits – to deans or principals, etc.
– Socialmedia–how to use social media to find your workforce guide
Industry Promotion Completed
- Distributed release on National Lawn Care Month
- Created graphics for Lawn Care Dos and Don’ts (including customizable ones for IGI Investors)
- Distributed news story on how to select a lawn care professional, expected to be picked up by 800 news outlets across the country for an expected 100 million impressions.
- Have earned several strong media placements to date including on FoxNews.com, SouthernLiving.com, TraditionalHome.com, TheNest.com, MarthaStewart.com, LowesforPros.com, and in Realtor Magazine on 2017 design trends. We are watching for several other consumer and commercial interviews to appear this spring!
- Distributed first release of the year: Smarty, Stylish, and Sustainable: The Top 7 Landscape Design Trends for 2017
Industry Promotion In-Process
- Create how-to-style videos for online use that reinforce NALP’s position as a trusted industry expert and build LYL Facebook followers (pending budget approval and funds to be raised).
- Place articles in magazines targeted at business owners in various vertical markets.
- Conduct industry research to create more talking points and buzz for the industry (pending budget approval and funds to be raised.)
- Begin promoted content (via Outbrain) to reinforce NALP as authority on lawn care and landscapes (Spring 2017 – (pending budget approval and funds to be raised.)
- Launch social media advertising campaign (Spring 2017 – pending budget approval and funds to be raised.)
- Launch social media contest (Worst Yard in America) to build following and for media relations angle (Spring 2017 -pending budget approval and funds to be raised.)
Progress on Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Resources
Resource Development Completed
- Completed Faces of the Industry Video to help people understand the community-minded spirit landscape professionals have
- Launched new social media focused advocacy center
- Developed resources, in conjunction with turf grass research university programs, for academic pollinator BMP recommendations
- Approved Government Advocacy Partnership grants for four state associations to support advocacy initiatives of national importance
- Updated all federal issue briefs
- Created and distributed “Welcome to Congress” info packet for freshman members of Congress
- Created new “Government Advocacy Partnership” grant program to support NALP member state association state/local advocacy activities
Resource Development in Process
- Reviewing pollinator field based research with a goal of creating a digest of industry friendly research resources (late Spring delivery date)
- Developing a member guide to effective advocacy
- Working on a new “advocacy tip of the month” series that will provide resources that focus on a single aspect of effective advocacy (ongoing – launch in April)
- Developing effective advocacy online course for ACT member training
- Creating “day in the life” video to illustrate how government regulations impact members through the course of the day
- Design of “issue brief template” to integrate brand identity into advocacy collateral
- Creating standard member advocacy packets for tier one and tier two issues (talking points, tips, follow-up, scheduling an appointment, likely opposition arguments, etc.)
- Developing How-to-Guide on social media best practices for advocacy
- Before/After Ontario Pesticide Ban Project (second quarter)
- NALP-PAC Events and Fundraising goals (TBD in conjunction with NALP-PAC Board)
Progress on Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy
NOTE: Efforts on legislative and regulatory priorities have been done in collaboration with others, where appropriate. NALP is proud to be an active participant on teams that have enabled progress, successes and achievements for the industry and has noted these industry- impacted wins below.
Legislative/Regulatory Wins and Notable Progress for the Industry
- House passed the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act
- House Agricultural Committee passed legislation to eliminate the NPDES permit requirement
- Working with the H-2B Workforce Coalition, have secured several “colleague to colleague” letters urging the need to act on RWE
- Received commitment from Congressman Chabot to reintroduce SEASONS Act (H-2B fix)
- New law in Utah that preempts local pesticide and fertilizer ordinances
- Fertilizer preemption approved by the North Dakota senate
- Fertilizer preemption approved by the Missouri house
- New Hampshire legislation to ban pesticides in “areas where children pay” referred for further study
- Maryland pollinator bill died in committee
- Minnesota legislation to eliminate preemption for larger cities died in committee
- Montana legislation to ban neonics on both public and private land defeated in committee
- There are no notable 2017 losses to report
Issues That Are Still in Play
H-2B: We have devoted a significant amount of time to lobbying activity related to H-2B. In the first quarter of the year, we have conducted meetings with nearly 3 dozen offices. Our efforts have resulted in several letters from champions in the House and Senate. In part, due to our activities Senator Thom Tillis drafted a letter urging DHS to conduct an audit of visas issued in the first part of the cap year in the hopes that unused visas would be identified and made available. The letter garnered support from a bipartisan group of Senators and was signed by over 1/3 of chamber members. A letter on the House side authored by Representative Barbara Comstock is circulating a letter urging House appropriation Committee members to address RWE in the 2017 budget bills Congress is expected to address in late April. That letter was supported by close to 50 of her colleagues. We have also received assurances in both the Senate and the House that legislation to fix H-2B will be introduced in April. Finally, NALP staff took part in a large seasonal employer Hill fly-in that drew close to 150 participants. The H-2B Workforce Coalition will hold its own fly-in on April 26 and we are working to encourage NALP members to attend. We continue to meet with legislative offices to discuss H-2B and the need to extend the returning worker exemption for 2017. Activity is focused on both addressing the issue through the appropriations process and fixing it using stand-alone legislation. Congress is hesitant to act before the administration provides a clear indication of where they stand on the issue.
WOTUS: Enforcement of WOTUS is still banned through a nationwide injunction by the Sixth Circuit Court. Importantly, President-elect Trump has voiced his opposition to WOTUS, and points to it as an example of unnecessary regulation and governmental overreach. In addition, EPA Administrator nominee Pruitt is opposed to WOTUS and has self-identified himself as a chief” advocate in opposition to the EPA’s activist agenda.” It is fairly safe to conclude that WOTUS in its current form will not be implemented, but it is not yet known whether an alternative proposal will be advanced.
NPDES Permits: The House Agriculture Committee approved legislation to eliminate the requirement of obtaining an EPA approved NPDES permit for the spraying or application of pesticides on or near navigable bodies of water. NALP supports the legislation and strongly agrees with the bill sponsors argument that the NPDES permit requirement is duplicative and unnecessary because the use and application of pesticides is already governed under the provisions of FIFRA. Similar legislation has been introduced in past Congresses, however with the current republican control in both Houses of Congress and an anti-regulation President, chances for passage are significantly higher than with the previous administration.
January to June is the busy season for state legislatures, and during this time close to 15,000 bills will be introduced by our nation’s state law makers. So far this year, over 200 bills that would have a direct impact on NALP members and the landscape and lawn care industry have been introduced. Thus far, we have had several notable “wins” as are detailed above. We have not experienced any setbacks, but several issues are still in play including the following:
Neonic bans under consideration in the following states – all target homeowners and exempt certified applicators:
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
Pesticides – Portland Maine continues to consider restricting pesticide use. A Pesticide Task Force recently sunsetted after making recommendations to ban all synthetic and organic pesticides. The issue next moves to the cities Sustainability Subcommittee for further discussion. NALP will continue to work with RISE, NPMA, GCSAA, and local stakeholders in opposition to the measure, but the activist community has significant momentum and much higher grassroots support. Numerous communities in the vicinity are expected to consider pesticide bans based on whatever Portland ends up adopting.
Pesticides – Falmouth Maine recently held a stakeholders meeting to discuss options for a pesticide ordinance. Unlike in other communities, representatives for landscape professionals and other industry sectors were included in the discussion. We have not yet seen a draft of plans, but their initial inclusive nature leaves hope for a common sense solution.
Leaf Blower Ban – The community of Palm Beach Florida is discussing a leaf blower ban. The Town Council initially proposed a complete ban on the commercial use of leaf blowers, however outcry from home owner and condominium associations has led to a “compromise approach” of banning gas powered blowers on properties under one acre in size. A final vote is scheduled for the last week of February. NALP is working with Florida associations and local NALP members in opposition to the ban proposal.
Leaf Blower Ban – Maplewood New Jersey is considering a seasonal ban on gas powered blowers. Last Summer, the community instituted a pilot ban that prohibited the commercial use of gas powered blowers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In April, the City Council will conduct hearings to determine whether to make the seasonal ban permanent. The vice Mayor of Maplewood is the chief advocate pushing the ban. The first hearing on the issue is scheduled to occur on April 4. NALP staff plans to attend the hearing at the request of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association.