ALCC LAB
2nd draft of Colorado Water Plan released Email

The Colorado Water Conservation Board has released the second draft of a proposed water plan for Colorado. View the latest draft at www.colorado.gov/pacific/cowaterplan/july-2015-second-draft-colorados-water-plan

CWCB welcomes public input through September 17, 2015. ALCC and GreeenCO will also review the plan and make comments during this time.

Colorado's Water Plan timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading:
Colorado's Water Plan 

 
WOTUS final rule faces multiple lawsuits Email

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.

Read more...
 
H-2B legislation updates Email

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.
Read more...
 
DOL proposed rule regarding overtime eligibility for 'white collar' workers Email

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.

Read more...
 
Investigation on Herbicide 2,4-D Email

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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Help simplify Colorado sales tax Email

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

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

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

 
Judges' opinion on Coats v. DISH means employers may keep zero-tolerance policies Email

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 https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2013/13SC394.pdf

 
Tweet your legislators Email

 

TwitterTwitter has become a powerful tool for communications between legislators and their constituents. It allows citizens to communicate directly with their congressperson, city council, or other government officials about important and evolving issues. Grassroots efforts on Twitter can support advocacy efforts and affect change.

Interested in participating in advocacy from your computer or smartphone? It's as easy as opening your Twitter app.

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Thousands of unused H-2B visas are now available Email

On June 5, 2015, USCIS will reopen the congressionally mandated fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap and will accept Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting new H-2B workers with an employment start date between April 1 and September 30, 2015.

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EPA proposes new label restrictions for pesticides Email

New proposal from Environmental Protection Agency

EPA has posted to the Federal Register a document entitled “Proposal to Mitigate Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products, Notice of Availability.” There is will be a 31-day comment period, ending June 29, 2015 on this proposal for changes to pesticide labeling.

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Legislative alert regarding Clean Water Act Rule Email

BREAKING NEWS: Call for advocacy efforts

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), of which ALCC is a member, issued the following legislative alert in response to the recently released Clean Water Act Rule:

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