ALCC news center
Businesses can enforce drug-free workplace policy, judges rule Email
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.

Turning a passion for sustainability into a marketing benefit Email
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.

Stingless wasps released in Boulder to target EAB Email
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.

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge launched Email
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.

Top 10 landscape trends for this season Email
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

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 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:

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 for ideas that you can retweet and share.

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

Judges' opinion on Coats v. DISH means employers may keep zero-tolerance policies Email
Monday, June 15, 2015 09:58 AM

Judges issued their opinion today after hearing testimony last September 

Marijuana is legal in Colorado but not federallyOn Monday, June 15, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinions on Coats v. DISH, in which a Colorado man was terminated from his job after testing positive for marijuana use. While the employee was using legally obtained medical marijuana, he was fired under DISH's zero-tolerance drug policy.

A court case held that the termination was legal, as marijuana remains illegal federally. The decision was upheld by an appellate court.

The Supreme Court was asked to decide if the use of medical marijuana is 'lawful' under Colorado's 'lawful activities statute.' Because medical marijuana use is not illegal in Colorado, and Coats was using it with permission from a physician, his lawyers argued that it was therefore 'lawful' use. If the court decided that his use was indeed lawful, then his employer may not fire him for engaging in a lawful activity.

The case was complicated because it was uncertain whether an activity (marijuana use) could be considered lawful activity in a state while it was prohibited according to federal law.

The judges stated:

The supreme court holds that under the plain language of section 24-34-402.5, 14 C.R.S. (2014), Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” the term “lawful” refers only to 15 those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law. Therefore, employees 16 who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law 17 but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute. We therefore affirm 18 the court of appeals’ opinion.

To read the entire opinion, visit

White House Pollinator Task Force unveils national strategic plan Email
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 02:00 PM


White House Pollinator Health Task ForceOn May 19, 2015, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force released its "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees & other Pollinators." This strategy was issued along with a science based Pollinator Research Action Plan. Together they identify what needs to be done to understand pollinator losses, underlying causes, and how to support pollinator health. It also details actions that can be taken to achieve these goals.

Help your clients help out pollinators Email
Written by ALCC   
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 01:11 PM


Pollinator WeekPollinator Week is June 15-21, 2015, and the landscape industry is part of this public initiative. Landscape companies can help consumers make the best decisions for their yards in order to support pollinator health. From building “drinking stations” for bees to using native plants in the yard, there are many things that homeowners can do to make their landscape a welcoming and healthy habitat for bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Sharing this information helps pollinators, makes consumers feel better about their landscape, and gives business owners a marketing opportunity.

We've assembled some facts and resources that companies can share with their customers.

PlantSelect offers resources for pollinator-friendly gardens and beyond Email
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 12:48 PM

PlantSelectPlantSelect® has much to offer for both the Colorado landscape industry and consumers. This spring, they launched a new logo, a new guide to plants that require fewer resources, and an upgraded web site.

Does your team have a heat safety plan? Email
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 12:05 PM

Heat safety plans are vital to worker healthThe State of California has issued new regulations with regards to heat illness prevention, and it is possible that that these regulations may be eventually adopted nationally. With that in mind--and in the interest of the safety of your team--you should familiarize your supervisors and crews with information about safety in the hot summer months.

There are already regulations in place on a federal level from the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Following those regulations and using California's regulations as a guideline can help insure that your business will be in compliance and your employees will be safe.

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