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  • March 19, 2019 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Below please find an updated legislative tracking report that we received from

    Stephen A. Boksanski of BCB Government Relations, Inc. (Green Industry Alliance).

    Click here for Legislative list


  • February 15, 2019 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    Please find a brief update on our state government affairs activity.

    WRC
    I attended the Water Resource Commission meeting yesterday where a majority of their time was spent on discussing the draft Drought Management Plan.  The commented period remains open until February 25th.  We developed the attached comments working primarily with the IANE and want to share that – click here to view.  I made some brief comments at the meeting, highlighting the inconsistency in terminology etc between the DMP, the MGL, the WCS and the DEP Model Bylaw.  I expect there will be some follow up on this.

    I saw Lexi Dewey there, who runs the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee to the MWRA. Chris Pine and I attended one of their meetings last May and presented on irrigation technology and policy.  She remains supportive of our legislative and regulatory efforts and hopes her group will lend us their voice this session.  She also sent this asking for our thoughts: http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/Landscape-Transformation-Infographic.aspx

    I also had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Pederson with the Massachusetts Water Works Association about our frustrations with the DEP and the lack of movement on the regulatory front.  She offered to meet with us and maybe one of the municipal stakeholders to see if we can discuss how to get the process moving.

    DAR
    We have requested a meeting with the Commissioner and they agreed to set something up.  I will let you know when we get some dates but timing should be mid to late March.  This will be a good opportunity to catch up on some issues and explore ways to work together.

    Committee Assignments
    Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) and Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) will returning as Chairs of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.  Old friend Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) is the new Chair of the Senate Ways and means Committee and Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) will helm the House Ways and Means Committee.  

    Click here for Senate Committee Assignments

    Click here for House Committee Assignments


    As always, please do not hesitate to reply of call me directly with any questions or comments.

    Stephen A. Boksanski, Principal
    BCB Government Relations, Inc.
    44 School Street, Suite 710
    Boston, MA 02108
    617-423-6600 | 617-835-6394 (m)

  • December 27, 2018 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    As 2018 comes to an end, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some incredible colleagues that passed in the IANE over the past few years. Our industry will never be the same without any of them.

    Jim McGovern wrote this about Phil Tropeano so well at his passing in 2015, I will just repost it. His family and mine have known each other for decades, he is missed by many.

    1    Phil Tropeano, founder of Larchmont Engineering and Irrigation, passed away this weekend at the age of 93. Phil started Larchmont in 1949 working in the agricultural market manufacturing and distributing specialized farm machinery and conveyors. Irrigation was added in 1950 and snow making in 1951. Phil was nothing short of a pioneer and some of his original design equipment is still in use today. Phil was also a mentor to many in the irrigation industry, including myself. He had such a big heart and will be missed by many.

    Not much you can say about this man that has not been said before. It would be hard to imagine anyone, over the years, that has done business with Stateline and has not had the pleasure of knowing Bob. His loss was a shock to all that knew him and especially to his son Rob and his family at Stateline.

    2-    Robert J Fragala, In 1988, he founded Stateline Irrigation Supply with his wife and two partners and built it into the 9 branch/30 employee organization that it is today.  His son got into the business and they worked side-by-side until the day he died, doing the job he loved and considered his favorite hobby. He passed unexpectedly, on November 15, 2017 at age 73 at his his second home in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

    We lost two long time members and former officers in the IANE in 2018. Many of us in the industry and the IANE, were very fortunate to have had the pleasure of knowing them. Their contributions will never go unnoticed and they will be missed.

    3-    Robert "Bob" Alan Paxton, 62, of Bedford passed away on August 13, 2018. Bob opened his business, New England Lawn Irrigation, which grew successfully until his retirement in 2017. Bob was a former Presidents of the IANE.

    4-    David Hock, 64, of Manchester died surrounded by his loving family and friends on November 24, 2018 as a result of a sudden illness. He was born on February 23, 1954 in Manchester to the late Edward and Marion (Shatz) Hock. Dave attended Manchester schools and graduated from UNH in 1974. He was co-owner of Landscape Plus for over 19 years and owner of NH Irrigation since 1986. He took great pride in his work and was widely respected by his customers and peers. It brought him great joy to work side by side with his son Chris and for many years with his good friend Mark Germana. Dave was one of the founding fathers of the IANE and a former President.

    Sincerely,

    Peter Roberto
    IANE President

  • December 20, 2018 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Thank you to all who attended the IANE Annual Meeting held on December 13th at X1 Boston.  At this event, IANE voting members elected a new Board of Directors and approved the IANE By-Law amendments.

    Congratulations to the recently elected IANE Board of Directors:

    President:  Peter Roberto - Shady Tree Landscaping Inc.
    Vice President: Tim Preston - Wisteria & Rose
    Treasurer: Bob Barbati - Atlantic Irrigation
    Clerk: Charles R. Williams, III - Rainscape Lawn Sprinklers, LLC
    Director: Bryan Sanderson - Northeast Nursery

    To view an outline of the amendments that were voted on, click here.

    To view the newly revised By-Laws, click here.

    We would like to thank our sponsors of this event:


    We would also like to thank our speakers for the day:

    David Asadoorian, CPA who discussed how the tax law changes are going to affect the contractor's business and personally. Click here to view a PDF of his presentation
    Manufacturer Panel discussed controller technology
    Moderator: Chris Pine of C. Pine & Associates
    Panel: Ernie Drougas, Hunter Industries
    Joe Keteltas, The Toro Company
    Kyle McNerney, Smart Water Management


    On behalf of the IANE Board of Directors, we would like to wish you all a happy holiday season!

    Julie Heston
    IANE Association Manager

  • December 04, 2018 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    At this year's annual meeting on December 13th the IANE membership will vote on the following proposed Bylaw amendments.  The main purpose of amending the bylaws was to reduce the number of board members needed and to take away the need to have board members from each region.

    Please click here to review the proposed bylaw amendments

    *Changes are marked in red.

    Thank you,

    Julie Heston, Association Manager

    Irrigation Association of New England


  • October 05, 2018 1:21 PM | Anonymous

    Below please find an update of some issues of interest from the Green Industry Alliance.

    Water Conservation Standards
    As Vandana Rao announced at the September meeting of the Water Resources Commission, the updated Massachusetts Water Conservation Standards have been published. The standards document is available on this page:
    https://www.mass.gov/service-details/details-on-the-2018-massachusetts-water-conservation-standards

    Financing Sustainable Water Workshop
    The Alliance for Water Efficiency is holding a workshop on building sustainable water rates on Wednesday, November 14th, hosted by the MA Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  Attached please find the Save the Date flyer that provides an outline of what they will be discussing.    It runs all day (8:45AM-2:30PM) at the Sharon Community Center and registration is required. 
    Click here for more information

  • August 07, 2018 12:08 PM | Anonymous

    The Legislature is working its way through a large set of conference committees to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of the big policy developments for 2018 and the two-year term.  Formal sessions end on midnight Tuesday, July 31st and the rush is on to rack up some legislative accomplishments.  A final FY19 budget was sent to Gov. Baker on July 18th and he returned a few dozen line item vetoes along with several policy matters that were sent back with suggested changes.  The Legislature is likely to override the vast majority of these and each requires a two-thirds majority, roll call vote in both branches to be overridden.  While the majority party has plenty of votes to get over this hurdle, timing will play a bigger factor in the eventual outcome.  All override votes must start in the House so they set the pace and with several conference committees still in negotiations, the House could put the Senate in a difficult position by delaying action on these and forcing the Senate into a race against the clock.

     

    The Legislature has reached agreement on several matters including an environmental bond bill (H.4835) that has been engrossed by the House and should receive a similar vote by the Senate today.  You may recall there were a couple of pollinator protection-related amendments filed during the Senate debate, but those were withdrawn and therefore not part of the final package.  The stand-along bill (H.4041) remains before the House Committee on Ways and Means and the advocates continue to push for a favorable report.  If that does not happen before July 31st, which we do not expect, then it is dead, along with all the other bills that could be deemed controversial.

  • July 27, 2018 12:36 PM | Anonymous


    Irrigation System Renovation Training

    Thursday, September 6th - 8 am - 4 pm

    Rain Date: Friday, September 7th, 8 am - 4 pm

    Location: 69 Geraldine Road, Cotuit, MA

    Cost: $119 per company representative

    Click here for more information

    Irrigation Installation Training with Chris Pine

    Wednesday, September 12th

    (Rain Date is Thursday, September 13th)

    Location: 570 Lowell Street, Peabody, MA

    Cost: $119 per person (lunch included)

    Click here for more information

  • July 23, 2018 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    July 12, 2018

    The high level of legislative activity continues and today the Senate is debating an Environmental Bond bill (S.2591) and close to 300 amendments have been filed.  The majority of these seek funding for local projects but there were a few policy issues as well.  The bill has already been through the House so we expect this will join a growing number of conference committees that the Legislature hopes to resolve before the close of session on July 31, 2018.  Nothing we need to take action on but wanted to send around just so you are aware of what’s happening – list below and text attached.

    A#                 Title                                                Sponsor
    129    Commission to Protect Pollinators    Lewis
    176    High Efficiency Irrigation System - Gannon Golf Course    Crighton
    183    Pesticide Enforcement                             Gobi
    211    Pollinator Protection                             Eldridge
    274    Trees in the City                                  Collins

    We will keep you informed of the outcome of these amendments and next steps for this bill.

    DEP Stakeholder Meeting
    We just received word from the DEP that they are scheduling the next stakeholder meeting for Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 10AM at their office at downtown crossing (One Winter Street, Boston).  We should regroup on this after July 31st to make sure we have done what they asked us to do.


  • June 29, 2018 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    Below please find a brief update of recent activity at the State House and insight into what it all means from the Green Industry Alliance/BCB Government Relations.

    Legislative Environment
    The Legislature will cease formal sessions for the 2017-2018 term at midnight (or around there) on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.  After this date, the House and Senate will continue to meet twice each week for informal sessions until the newly and re-elected legislators are sworn-in on the first Wednesday of January 2019.  During these sessions, only matters deemed non-controversial can advance and any single member may object to any matter, blocking it form moving forward.  So, anything that will be debated or that requires a roll call vote must be done prior to midnight on July 31st.

    With the deadline looming, the Legislature has kicked into high gear and the House and Senate have passed several matters that are now being negotiated in conference committee, including: the FY19 budget, short-term rentals (AirBnB), data breach, red flag/ERPO (gun ownership), veteran benefits, health care cost containment and civics education.  The next tier of issues includes another package on opioid abuse prevention and treatment, wage theft, raising the age to purchase tobacco and clean energy.  The hundreds of smaller issues still pending can fight to move ahead but not if there is even a moderate amount of disagreement.

    Plenty of votes here once the branches reach agreement and enough things to tout on the campaign trail from leadership’s perspective, so while the Senate may continue to pass a lot of crazy proposals, the House isn’t likely to budge and move off their list of priority issues.

    Click here for a legislative tracking report is attached for your information – lots of issues included to give context.

    Grand Bargain Passes
    Three ballot questions got rolled into one bill that was engrossed and enacted by the Legislature last week and Governor Baker is expected to sign the bill into law before July 2nd.  The package includes provisions to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over the next 5 years while reducing the time-and-a-half premium Sunday pay over the same period, establishing a permanent sales tax holiday, and establishing a new paid family and medical leave program.  Proponents of the sales tax reduction and the paid leave questions have agreed to pull their questions but the Raise Up coalition is still discussing its plans on minimum wage and could still submit their signatures and appear on the November ballot.  That will, of course, carry a significant amount of political grief form the Legislature, but this group was very upset about the reduction on premium Sunday pay and they could go forward despite the recent actions.

    These two links below are documents that provide further details on the changes.

    Proposed Ballot Initiatives

    2018 Ballot Compromise Legislation


    GIA Priorities
    Proponents of legislation to restrict the use and require additional notifications related to the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides (H.4041) continue to push aggressively for the advancement of the bill that remains pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.  They have held events in and around the statehouse over the past few weeks and have activated their grassroots efforts – pushing information about retailers like Costco and Kroger that are taking steps on their own to limit the sale and use of these products.  And, of course they have a blog that shows some “studies” that paint a troubling picture about MA hives.  The Vice Chair of the Committee, Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)  has been a strong advocate internally, pushing back against this legislation and given the timing, we are fialry well positioned but funny things can happen during these closing weeks of the session.  If you have a moment, please check to see if you State Representative is on the HWM Committee https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/H34 and if you see them listed, send them a quick note expressing your concerns with this bill and suggesting it might be preferable to have DAR conduct an analysis before passing legislation.  If your Rep is not on the Committee, please send emails to the Chair and Vice Chair – emails available using same link.

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