ALCC news center
WOTUS final rule faces multiple lawsuits Email
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 07:58 AM

Sixteen states and a number of state departments and authorities have filed lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the recent Clean Water Act Final Rule (“Waters of the US” or WOTUS). Colorado is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, which claims that the Clean Water Rule affects or interferes with state sovereign authority. It also purports that additional requests related to the rule will create additional burden to state staff.

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6 wishes of a dying landscape professional Email
News
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 04:49 AM

 

Wishes of a dying landscaperIf you die with the most toys and fastest cars, have you succeeded?

Research shows that at the end of your life you will measure your success differently. In any event, dying with the fastest cars won’t get you in to heaven - and there is always someone with a faster car.

Use Jeffrey Scott's “wishes of a dying entrepreneur” as a checklist to make sure your career is giving you the life of your dreams.

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H-2B legislation updates Email
Friday, June 26, 2015 07:58 AM

Below are a few updates on the current happenings with the H2B program & grassroots action needed. Feel free to call Kristen Fefes at 303 757-5611 with questions or comments.

H-2B legislation updatesNew H-2B Rules: Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal 2016 Department of Labor Appropriations bill. No amendments were offered to try to strike the beneficial H-2B language included in the bill. The bill includes language that would:

  • Allow the use of private wage surveys, which are not allowed under the new final H-2B wage rule;
  • Clearly define seasonal as ten months, as opposed to the nine months in the new interim final H-2B comprehensive rule;
  • Prevent DOL from implementing the provisions of the interim final rule related to corresponding employment and the ¾ guarantee;
  • Prevent DOL from implementing the new and burdensome DOL enforcement scheme in the IFR related to audit and the Certifying Officer (CO) assisted recruitment; and
  • Allow for the staggered crossing of H-2B employees.
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DOL proposed rule regarding overtime eligibility for 'white collar' workers Email
Friday, June 26, 2015 07:58 AM

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding overtime eligibility for "white collar" employees:

With this proposed rule, the Department seeks to update the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of nonexempt employees, thus making the executive, administrative and professional employee exemption easier for employers and workers to understand and apply.

The proposed rule extends overtime eligibility for nearly five million workers within the first year of its implementation. The DOL estimates that this change could cost employers an additional $1.2 billion per year. As proposed, the salary threshold would rise from $455 a week (the equivalent of $23,660 a year) to about $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016. Details can be found in a fact sheet issued by DOL.

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Investigation on Herbicide 2,4-D Email
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 07:58 AM

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has issued the following legislative alert regarding a recent investigation of herbicide 2,4-D:

Background

2,4-D, a chemical found in some herbicides used in the landscape industry, was recently reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The group rated 2,4-D as 2B – a possible carcinogen. The 2,4-D Research Task Force responded, saying “the IARC classification of 2,4-D as a '2B – possible' carcinogen is at odds with comprehensive cancer reviews completed by health and safety regulators worldwide.”

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Businesses can enforce drug-free workplace policy, judges rule Email
News
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 07:48 AM

Colorado state capitolA recent opinion issued by the Colorado Supreme Court has big implications in the workplace. The judges upheld the decision of the lower courts in Coats vs. DISH Network in a unanimous ruling on June 15, 2015. [Read the full ruling here.]

In the case, an employee who used medical marijuana—prescribed by a physician and legal in the state of Colorado—was fired under DISH’s drug-free workplace policy. The employee maintains that he used the drug outside of work hours and not on DISH property and felt that he was wrongfully terminated. The court maintained that since marijuana use violates federal law, DISH Network was within its rights to fire him.

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Turning a passion for sustainability into a marketing benefit Email
News
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 06:05 AM

 

Colorado Vista Landscape Design promotes sustainabilitySustainable landscapes and pollinator friendly gardens are a popular topic these days. But for Colorado Vista Landscape Design (an ALCC Sustainable Landscape Partner), it is a way of life that has also become a marketing strategy.

Tanya Fisher, owner of Colorado Vista, has incorporated her passion for water-wise, sustainable habitats into every aspect of her business. By promoting the importance—and the benefits—of wildscaping, xeriscaping, and other sustainable practices, she is helping improve the local ecosystem while gaining new clients.

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Stingless wasps released in Boulder to target EAB Email
News
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 05:00 AM

New Biological Control to Help Manage Emerald Ash Borer in Colorado

Adult Oobius agrili wasp - photo by Debbie Miller, USDA Forest ServiceOver the next five weeks, more than a thousand stingless, parasitic wasps that target emerald ash borer (EAB) – a destructive, non-native tree pest that poses a serious threat to Colorado’s urban forests – will be released in Boulder to help control the borer’s spread.

This week, the interagency Colorado EAB Response Team* is coordinating the dispersal of the first 200 gnat-sized Oobius agrili, which target EAB eggs specifically, at known infested sites. This is the second species of EAB parasitoid to be released in Colorado. In 2014, the team released the stingless wasp Tetrastichus planipennisi, which instead targets EAB larvae developing under the bark of ash trees.

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Million Pollinator Garden Challenge launched Email
News
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 04:11 AM

 

Million Pollinator Garden ChallengeThis month, dozens of conservation and gardening organizations joined together to form the National Pollinator Garden Network and launch a new nationwide campaign – the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Designed to accelerate growing efforts across America, the Network is launching the Challenge in support of President Barack Obama’s call to action to reverse the decline of pollinating insects, such as honey bees and native bees, as well as monarch butterflies.

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Top 10 landscape trends for this season Email
News
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 03:49 AM
Succulents are a hot landscape trend for 2015Landscape pros identify what’s hot for Colorado landscapes and gardens this year

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) has compiled the latest list of landscape and garden trends. ALCC polled landscape industry professionals to find out what Coloradans are doing to maximize their outdoor experience. These top 10 trends for 2015 provide plenty of inspiration as we enter the growing season.   

Top 10 landscape trends for 2015

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Help simplify Colorado sales tax Email
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 03:00 AM

Simplify Colorado Sales TaxALCC has been asked to join the Coalition to Simplify Colorado Sales Tax, which will attempt to change the sales and use tax system in Colorado. Because the sales & use tax audits have been a real pain point for ALCC members in the last few years, this is an issue in which we want some involvement. 

The coalition is hoping to get some data on recent company experience with sales and use tax, and they want to understand the various issues that different industries face.  ALCC encourages members to complete the organization’s survey by this Thursday, June 25.

If you are an ALCC member and prefer to offer your input by phone rather than with an online survey, contact Kristen Fefes at 303 757-5611. She’ll relay your thoughts to the coalition. And if you feel like this isn’t an issue that ALCC should follow, you can reach out and let her know that, too.

The Coalition to Simplify Colorado Sales Tax is a coalition of business owners, trade organizations, and other interested taxpayers. Their mission is “to support Colorado's economy by simplifying the state's overly complex sales and use tax system, which puts a practically impossible burden on businesses. We support reforms to create a simple, fair and predictable system -- without reducing overall revenue for local and state public services.”

To reach the survey, visit https://simplifycosalestax.wufoo.com/forms/simplify-colorado-sales-tax-survey/. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

 
H-2B cap hit again Email
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 10:58 AM

From Laurie Flanagan and Brian Crawford, H-2B Workforce Coalition Co-Chairs:

On June 5, USCIS re-opened H-2B processing after determining that the 66,000 annual H-2B cap had not been met. USCIS then stopped processing most H-2B visa petitions on June 11 after determining that the cap was reached. This latest development makes Congressional action even more essential. You can read the USCIS announcement at: http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/cap-count-h-2b-nonimmigrants.

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2015 Legislative Day on the Hill Email
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 02:00 AM

Legislative Day on the Hill, Washington DCJoin ALCC in DC and talk with your representatives

ALCC is looking for members to join us in Washington, D.C. in July to visit the offices of representatives and senators to discuss the issues that are vital to the future of the landscape industry and to make sure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill.

The congressional landscape is ever changing, and our collective voice can be part of that change. ALCC, as a sister organization to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, works year-round with members of Congress and regulatory agencies to affect positive change for our industry. Legislative Day on the Hill, the annual Washington fly-in, is an opportunity for landscape industry professionals to increase their knowledge about legislative issues that affect their businesses and to participate directly in the political process.

The Legislative Day on the Hill event is free and includes legislative briefings, an address by a key-note speaker, visits to Congressional offices, as well as dinners, receptions, and networking opportunities. No need to research legislators or make appointments for visits; ALCC handles the planning and will register you for events where necessary. You need only review the agenda and join us. To attend with the ALCC/Colorado delegation, contact Kristen Fefes at 303 757-5611 x302. There is no fee to attend any of the events; your only cost is travel/lodging.

Unable to attend in person? You can still be involved via social media. Use the hashtag #landscapeadvocacy to tweet and post messages in support of your industry. Follow @COGreenNOW on Twitter and like www.facebook.com/betterbynature for ideas that you can retweet and share.

Previously on the LAB:
Tweet your legislators
Legislative alert regarding Clean Water Act Rule

 
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