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Irrigation Association State Affairs Indiana Presentation(02 15-2011)

Irrigation Association State Affairs Indiana Presentation(02 15-2011)



The Irrigation Association is creating an impact on the Federal, state, and local level. The EPA's WaterSense program could provide an opportunity for you to grow your business. The Irrigation ...

The Irrigation Association is creating an impact on the Federal, state, and local level. The EPA's WaterSense program could provide an opportunity for you to grow your business. The Irrigation Association's certification programs can separate you from your competitors. On the state level, new laws and regulations are being introduced that could impact how you do business.

Locally, some communities are considering licensing laws.

Are you ready? ? ?



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    Irrigation Association State Affairs Indiana Presentation(02 15-2011) Irrigation Association State Affairs Indiana Presentation(02 15-2011) Presentation Transcript

    • State Affairs Lobbying: A Plan for 2011
    • Why is it effective for MEMBERS to build relationships with elected officials at the state level? Rule #1: “ National association lobbyists are a bunch of DC beltway guys!” - Gary Swan
    • What does this mean? Here come the feds! This is not the most effective way to do state affairs lobbying.
    • The most effective lobbying involves your hands-on efforts and intel, at the state level. Business owners, state association and affiliate staff, and industry volunteers KNOW BEST what is going on in their state, and THEY are in the best position to build relationships with elected officials.
    • So, how important are you to your state Senator or Representative?
    • Let’s take a look at a … POLITICAL INFLUENCE MODEL: AVERAGE VOTING DISTRICT Source: Penn State
    • That’s why the IA is kicking off the new legislative coordinator program.
      • Each State needs a Key IA Member Point of Contact.
      • Coordinators will be in regular contact with IA staff.
      • Coordinators will work to recruit volunteers and involve more of our members in advocacy efforts.
      • Coordinators will provide advice and information regarding proposed legislation and regulations in their state to the IA government affairs staff.
    • What issues are at the top of our state affairs list? # 1 issue: State Licensing.
    • A few words about licensing for irrigation contractors … 1.) Licensing is the best way to ensure proper practices and training in the industry.
    • Licensing Works.
      • Nothing else comes close to taking responsibility for industry quality and professionalism through a licensing program.
      • This does ensure that the consumer has a quality, professional option when they are looking for irrigation work on their property.
      • And, it allows good contractors to distinguish themselves as stand-up professionals who know what they are doing and have been adequately trained.
      • But, there are potential pitfalls that must be addressed …
    • Licensing Concerns ...
      • 1.) Licensing is only as good as the enforcement system beneath it.
      • Consider an example from Pennsylvania …
      • Licensing of massage therapists:
      • passed the legislature in 2008
      • only 200 massage therapists have become licensed since then
    • Licensing Concerns ...
      • 2.) Education is a key component of any successful new licensing program.
      • You must take the responsibility for this in your state assocation: don’t count on the government to do it for you.
      • The consumer needs to know that the licensing exists, and this process takes time.
    • Licensing Concerns ...
      • 3.) Education of the industry must take place as well.
      • A state association must take on the mantle of industry education to help contractors know what is required of them. And, they must reach out with helpful tips and information.
    • Reasons to pursue licensing in your state:
      • 1.) If you don’t do it, the state will do it for you.
      • 2.) If it’s based on sound certification systems, like the IA’s, it can really help you to increase industry professionalism.
      • 3.) There are other models for licensing than just enforcement-based systems.
    • Which states have licensing already on the books, for irrigation contractors? … all require an Irrigation Contractor License.
    • What about variations on strict license requirements? You must operate your business under the oversight of a master plumber. You must register your business with the state. Competency is not tested. Other states may have registration or non-competency certification … we are still researching to find out.
    • What states are considering licensing irrigation contractors? Board – The Florida Irrigation Contractors' Licensing Board. Restriction of Trade – No person shall engage in the practice of irrigation construction or contracting, use the designation 'irrigation contractor,' or advertise using any title or description that implies licensure as an irrigation contractor unless the person is licensed as an irrigation contractor. Education or Training – three years on the job, or two years education plus one year on the job Fee – posting of surety bond or letter of credit. proposed legislation
    • What happened in North Carolina?
      • Irrigation licensure passed the North Carolina legislature, based upon recommendations and standards produced by the Irrigation Association.
      The passage of North Carolina’s program brought increased revenue into the Irrigation Association, based on the use of the IA’s examination. North Carolina’s program is similar to the program proposed in Florida.
    • What states are considering licensing irrigation contractors? proposed legislation proposed legislation proposed legislation
      • We watch out for:
      • Excessively high fees in a down economy;
      • Lack of proper standards or competency testing;
      • Legislation drafted by state committees without industry input;
      • Registration requirements with no disciplinary or investigation mechanism, and insufficient funding
      proposed legislation
    • What is the Pennsylvania draft bill? Title Protection Model: Licensing without a new state board or new state system … how do you accomplish this, and what are the benefits? Pennsylvania proposes to obtain the state’s seal of approval for three existing industry-led certifications:
    • What is the Pennsylvania draft bill?
    • What is the Pennsylvania draft bill? So, you take the existing industry-maintained certification program, and add the state’s seal of approval. What does this entail? 1. State association control : under the PA proposal, PA maintains control of the title as the state devolves power to the association – referred to as the “certification organization” in the draft legislation. 2. Oversight from the State : the state maintains disciplinary and credentialing functions.
    • What is the Pennsylvania draft bill? 3. Full licensure : once a candidate passes the test, he or she becomes licensed as a state-accredited professional, by paying an additional fee to the state. 4. Lower cost to the contractor : the PA proposal entails no more than $100 per year for contractors to become licensed. This is important for small contractors trying to get into the business in a down economy. 5. Solid buy-in for IA certification : the approach ties state licensing, and flexibility through state association control, to the IA certification program – for life.
    • What other issues are on our state affairs list? GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS
    • Let’s take a look at Green Infrastructure Investments. Green Industry Jobs Pay! (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • Green Infrastructure jobs need support from state and federal policymakers. American’s city tree infrastructure -- our urban forests -- is under immense stress and strain. Media outlets have noted that in the past few decades Washington has lost half its tree cover; San Diego's is off about a quarter; the cover in cities in Michigan, North Carolina and Florida has fallen to about 27% of what it once was; Chicago and Philadelphia are just 16%. Ed Macie of the U.S. Forest Service has stated, "Urban deforestation compares with what's going on in the world's rain forests." (Time Magazine, 2007)
    • Restoring Green Infrastructure in our cities and communities reverses these trends. What we manufacture, design, install and maintain solves environmental problems!
    • February 15, 2011 33
    • February 15, 2011 34
    • February 15, 2011 35
    • State Lobbying for Green Infrastructure Projects begins the old fashioned way: political sophistication, and your willingness to put skin in the game. February 15, 2011
    • Survey of IA Contractors Survey conducted December, 2010 and January, 2011
      • 253 contractors from 37 states and Alberta, Canada responded.
    • General Business Climate: What are the top issues impacting your business? The economy is #1, competence and professionalism #2.
    • General Business Climate: How has your business dealt with the recent economic downturn? ?
    • Market Conditions: Over 90% of respondents said that the business climate will be THE SAME or BETTER in 2011. (50% feel it will be the same)
    • Market Conditions: “ In some areas it was impacted as it created a cutthroat bidding scenario …” “ Well, actually... down in revenue, up in profits. That's really not so bad after all is it?”
    • Residential irrigation purchase decisions are driven by:
    • IA Certifications and customer awareness:
    • Water Use:
      • A little less than half (46 percent) report that water availability issues have impacted the way their company operates.
      • Contractors report a divide in whether customers are concerned about water use when purchasing an irrigation system. More than half (57 percent) report customers are rarely concerned, but a third (34 percent) report frequent customer concerns.
    • At the time of purchase, customers are concerned about the amount of water the irrigation system will use.
    • Water restrictions: specific hours or dates.
    • Interestingly, the surveys showed that while six percent more contractors in 2011 report that water availability issues have impacted the way their company operates, the number of contractors expecting the impact in coming years has decreased slightly since 2010: Water Availability 2010 2011 Impacting now 40 percent 46 percent Impact in 2011-2013 60 percent 52 percent Impact in 2014 and beyond 84 percent 79 percent
    • Professionalism of irrigation contractors:
    • Licensing and Certification:
      • Almost 40 percent report that IA certifications influence commercial customer purchasing decisions.
      • An enormous 91 percent of contractors believe that irrigation installers should be required to pass a formal assessment of competence as a condition of offering such services to the public.
    • Licensing and Certification:
    • Licensing and Certification:
      • Nearly three in five (58 percent) indicate they are required to register with the state government; of those, more than half report there is a test to demonstrate competence.
      • Just over half (51 percent) are required to register with their local government, but only 29 percent of that sub-group report a testing requirement.
    • Permitting and Inspections:
    • Demographics: Most contractors have a revenue of less than $250,000 per year.
    • Additional Demographics: Which best describes the portion of irrigation revenue attributed to SERVICING EXISTING IRRIGATION SYSTEMS? 2011 survey 0-25% 25% 26-50% 30% 51-75% 25% 76-100% 20% 2010 survey 0-25% 35% 26-50% 37% 51-75% 10% 76-100% 18.5%
    • Additional Demographics: Number of employees at peak operating months: 2011 2010 Average: 31 Average: 66 Number of year-round employees: 2011 2010 Average: 18 Average: 40
    • Additional Demographics: Does your company offer health care? 2011 2010 Yes: 48% Yes: 66% No: 52% No: 44% How big of a concern is health care? It’s a real concern: 69%
    • Other issues: independent contractors
    • Other issues: independent contractors
    • What happens next? Let’s work together, and make a difference.