Good Morning,

Over the last two weeks, the Birds and Bees bill that would eliminate the use of Imidacloprid in NYS, has been moving very rapidly thru the NYS Senate. It was slated to be the main topic of conversation on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee agenda next week. The ag and green industry alliances worked swiftly to organize a coalition letter under the guidance of Jeff Williams, Director of Public Policy for the New York State Farm Bureau. This was followed by a zoom meeting with the Senate Majority Environmental Team that was held on Tuesday.  Due to the work of these partnerships, the bill will not be on the Senate EnCon agenda next week. This does not mean that the bill is dead, it may very well move out of the EnCon agenda elsewhere in the Senate. However, this is a very positive development and it demonstrates the importance of joint efforts on the part of various ag and green industry associations throughout New York State. 

Thank you to Todd Vandervort and the Vandervort group for organizing this zoom, and to NYSTA Government Relations Co-Chair Bob Nielsen for taking part in a coalition zoom meeting with the Senate Majority Environmental Team. Turfgrass and ornamentals in NYS continues to be somewhat of an afterthought amongst legislators, but I believe the perception is changing. The importance of sustainable green space, the implementation of BMPs, and turf's impact on New York State's economy continues to be a driving force in end all decision making. Our demonstration and everyday use of BMPs in turf and landscape is more important now than ever before, as is the need for industry to submit letters and voice opposition to bills when they arise. These letters are many times pre-drafted and it take less then 5 minutes to open the link and submit pre-drafted opposition. Legislators pay attention to these things, it's as simple as strength in numbers. Many times, they do not realize the significance a bill may have on our industry and the ag industry unless they hear from us and are presented with the facts. 

A majority of this legislation is drafted in regions south of Albany that undervalue their green space and agriculture in New York State. But when bills do get drafted and start to pick up momentum, red flags go up when we voice our concerns to legislators in areas that would be negatively affected by bad legislation. 

The New York State Assembly and New York State Senate has an aggressive environmental agenda in the coming years guided by the New York State Climate and Community Leadership Protection Act. Take a look through this website, https://climate.ny.gov/

Although it is aggressive, there are some good aspects that will help protect clean air and water in New York State. What concerns me looking through this document is that there’s no highlights of our parks, athletic fields, and golf courses in New York State!  As professionals in this industry, we need leadership inclusion and we must have a willingness to work together with our counterparts. Your voice matters, continue to take action when called upon!

Thank you,

Tom Kaplun

NYSTA Government Relations Co-Chair  

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