Clean water rule injunction limited to 13 states Email


Image by Blake Richard Verdoorn

On September 4, the recent judge's decision regarding the Waters of the US (WOTUS) Clean Water Rule was revised. The ruling judge clarified that the injunction on enforcing the rule would be limited only to the states that filed a lawsuit requesting the injunction. Previously, it was believed that the injunction would be applied nationwide.

The thirteen states where the injunction will be upheld are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

EPA's clean water rule halted Email


Image by Blake Richard VerdoornA North Dakota federal judge on Thursday blocked the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineer's rule clarifying the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act, calling the measure "exceptionally expansive."

Hours before it was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a temporary injunction after 13 states, including Colorado, took legal action to stop the rule. 

The decision was met with controversy, as the judge said that the injunction should apply to all states. EPA, however, said that they ruling should apply only to the 13 states named in the lawsuit. They planned to enforce the rule in the remaining states beginning Friday, August 28.

WOTUS Congressional call-in day Email

old telephoneThe National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has organized a call-in campaign to urge Senators to "support the bipartisan bill S 1140, and urge the EPA to listen to their co-regulator, the Army Corps of Engineers, about the serious flaws" in the Clean Water Rule (aka Waters of the US or WOTUS).

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet is a key figure in this regulation, so Colorado constituents are vital to the success of the campaign. His Denver metro office can be reached at 303-455-7600 (Toll Free: 866-455-9866). 

The following is a Legislative Alert from NALP:
WOTUS District Call Day: Thursday, August 27th

Colorado Drought Response Portal Email

Coloradans often face water use regulationsThe Colorado Water Conservation Board maintains a web site for Colorado homeowners and landowners that helps identify rules and regulations regarding water use. Colorado's Drought Response Portal offers information about snowpack, reservoir conditions, and drought status. Colorado residents can also use the portal to connect with their local water utility and find out if there are any water restrictions in affect for their community.


How will the proposed rule updating exempt employee status affect your business? Email

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is conducting a survey to learn how landscape businesses would be affected by the Department of Labor's proposed rule change regarding exempt employee status.

The following is a Legislative Alert from NALP:

Help Stop the Detrimental Proposed Changes by the Department of Labor that Could Change the Exempt Status of Overtime Pay to $50,440

Please participate in this survey to help us respond to the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed devastating changes to the white collar exemptions to federal overtime pay requirements.

Currently, a person must satisfy three criteria to qualify as “exempt”:
1.    They must make a salary;
2.    That salary must be more than $455/week ($23,660 annually);
3.    Their “primary duties” must be consistent with managerial, professional or administrative positions as defined by DOL.

In the proposal, DOL is considering raising the minimum salary threshold to $970 per week ($50,440 annually); an increase of more than 100%. We need your help in collecting data about how this will impact your business. This information will help us provide comments to the federal register notice so we can document with data its impact to the industry as a whole; they will also need to hear directly from the businesses that will be affected. This data will help answer the Department’s questions regarding the current primary duties test used to determine whether an employee's primary responsibilities exempt them from overtime.

Please complete this survey before August 27, 2015.

Thank you,
Tom Delaney, NALP director of government affairs

Previously on the LAB:
Help request an extension to comment period on DOL Proposed Overtime RuleSubcommittee discusses Proposed Overtime Rule
DOL proposed rule regarding overtime eligibility for 'white collar' workers

Upcoming H-2B Final Wage Rule Webinar Email

H-2B visa program
From an email sent today from the H-2B Ombudsman:

The National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) is sending this e-mail to all survey contacts we’ve identified as those who have submitted H-2B surveys to our office within the past year.  This email is pertaining to the upcoming H-2B Final Wage Rule Webinar scheduled for August 21, 2015. Survey standards will be the focus of the webinar briefing.
The Department will host a public webinar to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule, in effect as of April 29, 2015. The webinar briefing is scheduled for August 21, 2015, from 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight time. There is no pre-registration for the public webinar. The webinar will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the date specified.  For further information and instructions, please see the Department’s H-2B Final Wage Rule public webinar announcement located on the Department’s website at:
Ombudsman Program
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Department of Labor
[email protected]

Colorado law is clear: no reimbursement for medical use of marijuana Email

The Colorado Supreme Court opinion in June regarding Coats v. DISH Network LLC reinforced employers’ rights regarding zero-tolerance drug policies. That decision helped clarify rules regarding marijuana use by employees. 

However, a recent case in New Mexico found that an employer is required to reimburse an employee for medical marijuana deemed “reasonable and necessary” to treat a work-related injury. This leaves some employers wondering if such a case could be brought up in their own business.

Similar cases will likely not be an issue in our state. Colorado’s medical marijuana code clearly states that “no governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider shall be required to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.” It also states that “nothing in this section shall require any employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place” [Col. Const., Art. XVIII § 14 (10)(a)]. 

This code, along with the Coats v. DISH opinion, make the current rules quite clear that medical marijuana, even if prescribed for an injury covered by worker’s compensation, does not fall under the claim.

Previously on the LAB:
Judges' opinion on Coats v. DISH means employers may keep zero-tolerance policies

Help request an extension to comment period on DOL Proposed Overtime Rule Email

Contact DOL and legislatorsPlease help us by requesting an extension to the comment period on the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed rule on exemptions to overtime pay requirements under the FLSA. We urge you to contact DOL and request a 60-day extension to the current comment period that ends on September 4. We need the additional time to provide accurate, comprehensive comments on the proposal's potential impact.

Subcommittee discusses Proposed Overtime Rule Email

The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), recently held a hearing on the Department of Labor’s proposed changes to federal overtime rules. The hearing explored the impact the proposal would have on employee choice and opportunity, as well as the significant costs it would create for the nation's job creators. [video of the hearing after the jump]

Day on the Hill recap Email


Colorado landscape professionals visited Capitol HillRepresentatives of ALCC joined other members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) visited Washington, DC last week for the landscape industry’s annual Renewal & Remembrance and Legislative Day on the Hill. Nearly 450 professionals participated in the Renewal & Remembrance day of service at Arlington National Cemetery, and nearly 100 of those participants were on hand the next day to meet with legislators.

Landscape professionals visit Capitol Hill today Email

US CapitolToday, landscape professionals from across the nation have gathered in Washington, D.C. "to visit the offices of representatives and senators to discuss the issues that are vital to the future of the industry and to make sure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill." This initiative, known as Legislative Day on the Hill, is organized by National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

A delegation from ALCC has joined the group to represent the Colorado landscape industry. Issues to be addressed include:

          • Comprehensive Immigration Reform
          • The H-2B Program
          • Seasonal Employee Healthcare
          • Waters of the United States
          • Pollinator Stewardship

You can follow the effort on Twitter by following NALP (@the_nalp) and the hashtags #landscapeadvocacy #nalpadvocates. You can also check for updates on NALP's page on Facebook.

ALCC will follow up after the event with an update about member participation in DC.

Previously on the LAB:
2015 Legislative Day on the Hill

Quick H-2B update Email

H-2B visa program
This week, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The bill includes the language below that would create an H-2B returning worker exemption for fiscal year 2016, which begins on October 1.

SEC. 561. Section 214(g)(9)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(9)(A)) is amended by striking ‘‘2004, 2005, or 2006 shall not again be count- ed toward such limitation during fiscal year 2007.’’ and inserting ‘‘2013, 2014, or 2015 shall not again be counted toward such limitation during fiscal year 2016.’’

To supporters of this H-2B legislation: We will have a long way to go to preserve this language in a final appropriations measure later this year, but this is a very important first step. Please continue your H-2B outreach to lawmakers.

Who’s an employee & who’s an independent contractor? Email

Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell. 

Earlier this year, an unsuccessful bill came before the Colorado Legislature that would have simplified the test to determine whether a person was an independent contractor or employee. Senate bill S.B. 15-269 would have repealed current standards related to the determination of independent contractor status under the Employment Security Act (unemployment insurance, or UI) and established a multifactor test to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor for the purposes of UI.

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