ALCC LAB
H-2B visas suspended by presidential order Email
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:00 AM

Yesterday, the president signed a proclamation suspending entry of all foreign workers through the end of the year, including H-2B workers not directly employed in the food supply chain. ALCC is disappointed in this development and understand the impact it will have on Colorado landscape companies. Please see the H-2B Workforce Coalition’s statement on this order.

Despite tremendous unemployment following the pandemic, our industry and others continue to face a labor shortage. Landscape companies, in some cases, are being forced to turn down consumers due to a lack of labor.

We are working on a news story to highlight the impact of this order and promote the availability of jobs in Colorado’s landscape industry. We are also working with the National Ski Areas Association, hospitality industries, and NALP to promote available jobs.

ALCC is working hard to advocate for our industry and for the jobs of Americans who rely on the help of H-2B workers. We are following this situation closely and will do our best to help close the workforce gap and keep our industry going. I, along with other industry professionals, intend to have a Zoom meeting in July with the staff of key federal representatives in lieu of the annual July fly-in to support landscape industry advocacy.

 
ALCC CEO update, June 2020 Email
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 01:00 PM

Good morning, After two months of frequent communication regarding the pandemic and its effects on our industry, we’ve been staying quiet as the flow of information/changes from governments has slowed and our members are busy in the field—many with their busiest spring in memory. Now, as businesses are re-opening and the economy is working to establish a “new normal” for operations, I want to update you on some of the projects ALCC has been working on during this time.

While many companies are as busy as ever, we recognize that the industry still has a work shortage, which has been exacerbated due to challenges around the H-2B guest worker program. Next week we plan to begin a media campaign about the tremendous opportunity in the landscape industry, especially for displaced workers affected by the pandemic. Our public relations team is working to place stories around the state about our members who are looking to hire and about the challenges that you continue to face despite high unemployment in the state.

We are also rebooting our programs and events to fit the new environment. To support hiring and training, ALCC has converted the Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) Colorado program to an online format. The first program was offered June 10 and was successful. We plan to continue to offer the online version of the course in order to reach more professionals around the state. The Landscape Industry Certified Technician (LICT) program has been online since January and is available to experienced professionals statewide.

Additionally, the long-anticipated hands-on training program, developed by NALP with support from ALCC and other state organizations, is moving forward with planned programs for August and September. That training program will, of course, be offered in-person, likely at a location along the Front Range. We will share details on this program as they are confirmed.

Our annual golf tournament is moving forward, though it will look slightly different from previous years as we take all of the necessary precautions to meet municipal guidelines and ensure the safety of participants.

We are also looking further into the future as we plan for ProGreen EXPO 2021. Large-scale events like ProGreen are planned well in advance, and we are working with our event planning team to anticipate what a conference and trade show will look like next year. We continue to explore ways that we can offer our members the networking and information-sharing events that are valued part of ALCC membership.

We invite your input, suggestions and questions as we all adjust our operations in light of the ongoing pandemic and the changing economy.

Warm Regards,

John

John McMahon | Chief Executive Office
Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

 
Legislative update from ALCC June 12, 2020 Email
Friday, June 12, 2020 12:00 AM

I am checking in with ALCC members to update you on the status of legislation that affects the Colorado landscape industry. There have been a significant number of changes at the state capitol in light of COVID-19 and protests. We asked our lobbyists to provide an update on the current legislative session, which you will find below. After a two-month recess amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the state’s General Assembly reconvened on May 26th to address pending legislation—amid a $3.3B budget shortfall. 

Our partners in GreenCO and GreenCO’s lobbyists have been working overtime to nurture relationships and move our agenda forward in the new communications and legislative environment. 2020 is a key election year in our country and in our state. Not only is it a presidential election, but all of the House of Representatives and just over half of Senate in the Colorado General Assembly will be up for grabs. The Senate is getting much attention as the split is 19-16 in favor of the Democrats, and the Republicans will look to take back to the majority. It is expected that there will be more ballot initiatives proposed than usual, including Paid Family and Medical Leave.

GreenCO lobbyists and legislative committee members will interview Colorado’s candidates for House and Senate in order to make decisions on whom to support and endorse. If you are interested in participating in these interviews, please contact John McMahon at [email protected]. As the elections grow closer, we will reach out to our members to help us with contributions so we can support the candidates that we plan to endorse.

Due to the state budget shortfall, we have seen most bills with a negative fiscal impact to the State and many controversial bills postponed indefinitely. There is expectation that many of those bills will be revisited in future sessions. However, new legislation related to the pandemic and its economic impact have been introduced. With the introduction of these bills as well as bills that were still in the process prior to the recess, the business community has built a large coalition to address these measures as they are moving quickly through the process.

Below is an update on proposed legislation that is or would impact the landscape industry and related businesses:

Passed and sent to the Governor:

HB20-1023 State Address Data for Sales And Use Tax Collection: Concerning certain address database systems used for sales and use tax collection.

Will pass:
HB20-1022 Sales And Use Tax Simplification Task Force:
Concerning the sales and use tax simplification task force, and, in connection therewith, extending the task force, modifying the task force's duties, and removing the requirement that the task force undergo an evaluation by the department of regulatory agencies prior to the task force's repeal.

Bills still in process:

  • HB20-1415 Whistleblower Protection Public Health Emergencies: Concerning a worker’s rights in the workplace for conduct related to a principal’s actions during a public health emergency.
  • SB20-205 Sick Leave For Employees: Concerning the requirement that employers offer sick leave to their employees.
  • SB20-207 Unemployment Insurance: Concerning unemployment insurance.

Bills postponed indefinitely:

  • HB20-1180 Protect Pollinators Through Pesticide Regulation: Concerning the protection of pollinators by restricting the use of certain pesticides.
  • HB20-1195 Consumer Digital Repair Bill Of Rights: Concerning a requirement that a manufacturer of digital electronic equipment facilitate the repair of the equipment by providing persons other than authorized repair providers affiliated with the manufacturer with the resources needed to repair the equipment.
  • SB20-216 Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19: Concerning the creation of presumptions related to an essential worker who contracts COVID-19 for purposed related to workers’ compensation.
  • SB20-189 Local Government Pesticide No Preemption: Concerning provisions that preempt a local government’s authority to regulate the use of pesticides within the local government’s jurisdiction.

To see all the bills GreenCO is tracking and learn more about the positions they have taken regarding legislation, please refer to the Bill Tracker.

I invite you to share your thoughts on pending legislation and upcoming elections so that we can better represent ALCC members in the process of legislative advocacy. I also invite you to get involved by communicating with your representatives. It is impossible to understate the impact of a single phone call to your legislators’ office. In order for them to serve their constituents, they need to know about your concerns.

You can reach me via email or at 303 757-5611 if you would like to discuss this email or any of ALCC and GreenCO’s advocacy efforts.

Warm Regards,

John

John McMahon | Chief Executive Office
Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

 

 
President signs into law major modifications to PPP loan forgiveness (2) Email
Friday, June 05, 2020 12:00 AM

Today the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 was signed into law.

H.R.7010 - Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 passed the House on May 28 and was approved by the Senate on June 3. A summary of the bill:

This bill modifies provisions related to the forgiveness of loans made to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program implemented in response to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019).

Specifically, the bill establishes a minimum maturity of five years for a paycheck protection loan with a remaining balance after forgiveness. The bill also extends the covered period during which a loan recipient may use such funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for forgiveness. The bill raises the non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount from the current 25% up to 40%.

The bill extends the period in which an employer may rehire or eliminate a reduction in employment, salary, or wages that would otherwise reduce the forgivable amount of a paycheck protection loan. However, the forgivable amount must be determined without regard to a reduction in the number of employees if the recipient is (1) unable to rehire former employees and is unable to to hire similarly qualified employees, or (2) unable to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with federal requirements or guidance related to COVID-19.

Additionally, the bill revises the deferral period for paycheck protection loans, allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts. Recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program's expiration to begin making payments.

The bill also eliminates a provision that makes a paycheck protection loan recipient who has such indebtedness forgiven ineligible to defer payroll tax payments.

Lastly, the bill is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO) and the Senate PAYGO rule.

Read the full bill text.

Read more about the act at Forbes.com.

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
Congress approves bill to modify PPP loan forgiveness Email
Thursday, June 04, 2020 12:00 AM

Confused about PPP loan forgiveness? Help may be on the way. A bill approved by Congress Wednesday evening could provide some flexibility on loan forgiveness and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

H.R.7010 - Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 passed the House on May 28 and was approved by the Senate on June 3. A summary of the bill:

This bill modifies provisions related to the forgiveness of loans made to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program implemented in response to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019).

Specifically, the bill establishes a minimum maturity of five years for a paycheck protection loan with a remaining balance after forgiveness. The bill also extends the covered period during which a loan recipient may use such funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for forgiveness. The bill raises the non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount from the current 25% up to 40%.

The bill extends the period in which an employer may rehire or eliminate a reduction in employment, salary, or wages that would otherwise reduce the forgivable amount of a paycheck protection loan. However, the forgivable amount must be determined without regard to a reduction in the number of employees if the recipient is (1) unable to rehire former employees and is unable to to hire similarly qualified employees, or (2) unable to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with federal requirements or guidance related to COVID-19.

Additionally, the bill revises the deferral period for paycheck protection loans, allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts. Recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program's expiration to begin making payments.

The bill also eliminates a provision that makes a paycheck protection loan recipient who has such indebtedness forgiven ineligible to defer payroll tax payments.

Lastly, the bill is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO) and the Senate PAYGO rule.

Read the full bill text.

Read more about the act at Forbes.com.

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
Safer at Home updated, extended through June 30 Email
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 12:00 AM

On June 1, 2020, Governor Polis signed an Executive Order extended and updating the Safer at Home guidance for Colorado. The updated program is known as  Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors. It includes updated guidance on outdoor recreation including playgrounds and swimming pools. Draft guidance is included, and the public is invited to give input on this guidance. Final versions of this guidance will be issued June 4.

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
New OSHA webpage with COVID-19 guidance for construction Email
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:00 AM

Today's announcement from OSHA:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. The guidance includes recommended actions to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Employers of workers engaged in construction (such as carpentry, ironworking, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning/ventilation, utility construction work, and earth-moving activities) should remain alert to changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability. In response to changing conditions, employers should implement coronavirus infection prevention measures accordingly.

The webpage includes information regarding:

  • Using physical barriers, such as walls, closed doors, or plastic sheeting, to separate workers from individuals experiencing signs or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus;
  • Keeping in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limiting the number of workers in attendance, and using social distancing practices;
  • Screening calls when scheduling indoor construction work to assess potential exposures and circumstances in the work environment before worker entry;
  • Requesting that shared spaces in home environments where construction activities are being performed, or other construction areas in occupied buildings, have good air flow; and
  • Staggering work schedules, such as alternating workdays or extra shifts, to reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time and to ensure physical distancing.

Visit OSHA's coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
Watch the webinar: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and your Colorado landscape business Email
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 12:00 AM



The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and your Colorado landscape business webinar was hosted by ALCC and presented by  Maarten Warnaars, Barrett Business Services, Inc. and recorded on Thursday, May 21.
 PPP is not easy for any business, especially with the new PPP guidelines released earlier last week. The webinar is complimentary to all ALCC members and is $15 for non-members. To learn more about ALCC membership contact Tammy DiFalcoBe sure to follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid

Click here to access the full PPP webinar link

*You will be asked for your contact information before receiving the link. If you are an ALCC member, you must be logged in to view the link. If you are not a member, please provide your information. Forgot your login and/or password? Click here to retrieve your username or here to retrieve your password. 

 
Question about face covering requirement for outdoor work Email
Thursday, May 21, 2020 12:00 AM

Recently, a member posed a question to ALCC regarding state mandates regarding face coverings. While one statement says that masks are to be worn indoors but not necessarily outdoors, the public health order states elsewhere that all essential businesses are to wear masks--with no specification regarding indoors vs. outdoors. The landscape company that approached ALCC noted that "wearing a mask in 90-degree weather is becoming hazardous to their health" and asked for our help in getting clarification regarding essential workers who work outdoors. 

In speaking with our lobbyists, who are closely following health orders and executive orders and related regulations, we received the following guidance:

Here are a few lines that would relate to the public health order for landscaping. If outside and six feet apart, masks are not required. Only when dealing directly with customers or interactions with others inside six feet and for safety reasons.
  • Maintain six-foot distancing from other employees and customers
  • Adhere to all general rules or guidance on social gathering limitations when working in the field, including in someone’s business or personal home
  • Require gloves and face coverings or masks for any in-person interactions or work being done in third-party homes or office spaces
  • Require service providers to stay home if showing any symptoms or signs of sickness or if they have had contact with a known positive case
  • Provide estimates, invoices, and other documentation electronically (no paper)
  • Seek contactless payment options (whenever possible)

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
Free COVID-19 testing now available, Governor Polis announces (May 18) Email
Monday, May 18, 2020 11:00 AM

Colorado Governor Polis announced today that those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested for free (no co-pay). Learn more and find a testing site near you at covid19.colorado.gov.  

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
H-2B support letter sent to President today Email
Friday, May 15, 2020 04:00 PM

ALCC signed onto a letter sent to President Trump today by the H-2B Workforce Coalition. The letter stresses the need for seasonal workers in order to sustain America's seasonal businesses and the American workers who rely on those businesses. It also presents data that supports the need for H-2B temporary workers and demonstrates that unemployed Americans are not pursuing those seasonal jobs; rather, they expect to return to their positions when restrictions are lifted and the economy reopens. 

See a copy of the final letter that was sent today.

I will continue to share information on this situation as it becomes available. Please reach out if you have questions or have H-2B information to share. 

Follow the latest news on our blog or at www.alcc.com/covid.

Share your ideas, resources, etc. with landscape industry peers at [email protected].

 
HEROES Act up for House vote today (May 15) Email
Friday, May 15, 2020 12:00 AM

The House of Representatives will vote today on HR6800, Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act.

Bill summary:

This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.

Read more...
 
PPP continues to evolve, new rules issued Email
Written by ALCC   
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 12:00 AM

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) seemed to be a welcome relief for employers affected by the pandemic. But as the program has evolved, and high-profile recipients have drawn scrutiny, the program may not be as attractive for some small businesses. 

News of a little-used whistleblower law coming into play may have made some companies hesitant to apply. As eligibility for PPP funds is questioned and audits of recipients have been promised, companies that are unsure of their eligibility under changing guidelines may fear that employees could invite scrutiny. The False Claims Act (FCA), also known as the Lincoln Law, allows employees or whistleblowers to sue the company and receive a portion of the fraudulent claim as a reward. 

The IRS issued a notice on April 30 stating that forgiven PPP loans would mean that companies could not take tax deductions for salaries, rent, and other payments made with PPP funds.

The rules around PPP loan forgiveness seem to be changing regularly, making many employers unsure. ALCC recommends that employers maintain a close relationship with their lender and continue to monitor their eligibility for PPP amid changes to the rules.

 

 
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