Legislative Updates








From the Hill

Each month PLANET's own Director of Government Affairs, Tom Delaney, reports on federal government legislation and regulations and promotes proactive member participation on federal and state levels.

Lawn care: Where we started, where we are, where we’re headed

Quarterly Legislative Updates

Quarterly Legislative Update — March 2013

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for March 2013. Topics this quarter include:

  • Turfgrass
  • Pesticide policy dialogue
  • ANSI standards
Quarterly Legislative Update — June 2012

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for June 2012. Topics this quarter include:

  • Establishing a Center of Expertise for the School of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • The Northeast Voluntary Turf Fertilizer Initiative
  • H-2B rule changes blocked from going into effect
Quarterly Legislative Update — December 2011

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for December 2011. Topics this quarter include:

  • EPA WaterSense program and the ICC Green Building Code
  • State fertilizer (nutrient) requirements
  • Pesticide restrictions


Quarterly Legislative Update — April 2011

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for April 2011. Topics this quarter include:

  • Small Business Environmental Assistance Bill
  • H-2B wage methodology rule
  • NPDES permits for pesticide applications


Quarterly Legislative Update — October 2010

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for October 2010. Topics this quarter include:

  • Chesapeake Bay TMDLs may have the biggest impact in history on lawn care applications
  • The International Green Construction Code (IGCC)
  • It looks like Congress may address Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2011


Quarterly Legislative Update — June 2010

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for June 2010. Topics this quarter include:

  • Stormwater Runoff
  • Clean Water Act
  • Pesticide Regulation


Quarterly Legislative Update — February 2010

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for for February 2010. Topics this quarter include:

  • Small Business Environmental Assistance Bill
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and H-2B
  • Health Care
  • Employee Free Choice Act
  • Pesticide Regulation


Quarterly Legislative Update — November 2009

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for for November 2009.  Topics this quarter include:

  • H-2B
  • Clean Water Act
  • Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order
  • WaterSense
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform
  • Employee Free Choice Act


Quarterly Legislative Update — August 2009

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for August 2009. Topics this quarter include:

  • H-2B Update
  • Health Care
  • Clean Water Act Regulation
  • WaterSense
  • Florida Senate Bill 494 passes with the governor’s signature
  • Ohio and School IPM
  • New York Assembly Bill 7937 passes


Quarterly Legislative Update — May 2009

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for May 2009. Topics this quarter include:

  • EPA's Endangered Species Act
  • EPA's New WaterSense Specifications
  • Clean Air Act
  • U.S. House Bill 2222, the Green Communities Act
  • DOJ Investigates Complaints Against Virginia and Maryland H-2B Employers


The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) of 2009


Congress has launched an all-out assault on the use of private ballots in elections to decide whether or not a worker wants to join a union. Approximately 80 percent of union elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are for work groups (“bargaining units”) of 50 or fewer employees.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) of 2009 was introduced on March 10, 2009, by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) with 222 cosponsors in the House (H.R.1409) and by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) with 39 cosponsors in the Senate (S. 560). Before this bill gets voted on, your members of Congress need to hear from you, now!

PLANET's attorney Richard Lehr says if EFCA becomes law most PLANET member companies could end up with a union based on one day of card check signing. Currently, employees who may be pressured to sign cards know that they have the right to a secret ballot vote. Under the EFCA, the pressure would remain, but the secret ballot vote would disappear. Also, unions would likely stall in bargaining because they know they will get an agreement, as the bill would provide for the federal government to set what terms the employer must comply with and what the employer must pay for wages, benefits, and any retirement program.

ACTION STEP: To make your representatives aware of your opposition to EFCA, go to PLANET’s Legislative Action Center, select Oppose Employee Free Choice Act, click on Write Your Legislators, and either e-mail the form letter we’ve prepared, edit and customize it with your own words, or e-mail your own letter to your representatives. If you have already used PLANET’s Legislative Action Center, your information may already be entered to save you even more time. A backgrounder that explains the entire issue is also available in the Legislative Action Center.

If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to Tom Delaney, PLANET's director of Government Affairs, or call him at (770) 925-7113 or (800) 395-2522.


Quarterly Legislative Update — February 2009

Read the Quarterly Legislative Update for February 2009.  Topics this quarter include:

  • Green Roofs
  • Reclaimed Water
  • Cranes
  • Sustainable Sites Initiative™
  • Animal Pesticide Poisoning Reporting
  • WaterSense Program
  • EPA Insights
  • 2,4-D
  • MSMA
  • H-2B
  • OSHA
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Form I-9


Your action is needed with OSHA

For years, the Tree Care Industry of America (TCIA) has been asking OSHA for responsible, effective guidance to help us keep tree workers safe. On September 18, 2008, OSHA announced an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rule-Making” (ANPRM) for an Arborist standard in the Federal Register. This signals the beginning of a multiple-year process. To assure a workable standard for employers as well as guidelines that will improve safety in the industry overall, it is VITALLY IMPORTANT for the industry to be directly, actively involved in the rule-making process.

TCIA, PLANET, and our members must be deeply committed to getting a specific OSHA standard to address arborist and landscape workers’ safety. Right now, we need you to respond by Wednesday, December 17, 2008, directly to OSHA using the sample letter ResComMember (a sample response letter for members who engage in residential and commercial arboriculture) and the information contained in the Question Answered (background information on how to file comments with OSHA) document. Please keep the following in mind as you compose your response:

  • Do not feel compelled to try and answer every question that OSHA has asked. Peruse the list in the “Question Answered” document and select those topics that you feel are most important to you or your company.
  • You do not need to include the text of the questions in your response but you are free to do so if you feel it adds clarity for the reader.
  • Pay particular attention to any information in [brackets] below. This is intended as guidance for drafting a response and must not remain in your letter.
  • Make the responses your own by changing words and embellishing with your company’s unique experiences and practices.
  • Documents must be sent to OSHA, identified by Docket No. OSHA-2008-0012, no later than Wednesday, December 17, 2008, by any of the following methods:
    • Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments electronically athttp://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Enter the docket number, OSHA-2008-0012, into the search field, then find any one of the items that TCIA submitted or the document called “Tree Care Operations.” Click on the icon near that item that allows you to submit comments.
    • Fax: If your comments, including attachments, do not exceed 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648.

If you have questions about how you should comment, you can e-mail Peter Gerstenberger at TCIA, peter@tcia.org, orTom Delaney at PLANET.

In order for us to get good regulation, we have to have large numbers of members respond to this ANPRM. We strongly urge you to respond! It has never been more important to get involved in writing the safe work practices that will guide the tree care industry for decades to come.

The following comments and documents have already been filed by TCIA based on answers to the survey sent out by both associations:

TCIA Comment * JHA Comment * PLANET survey response * Accidents 2006 * Accidents 2007

Thank you.

There is a saying that is popular around election time: You get all the government you deserve. Well, that holds true for regulation as well. If the industry did nothing it would continue to be regulated, guided, and in fact penalized by outdated, poorly fitted standards with little or no benefit to worker safety. If we act and if we speak with one voice, we have an excellent chance for a beneficial outcome.

Tom Delaney
Director of Government Affairs