As president of the International Professional Pond Companies Association (IPPCA) I am pleased to announce the defeat of pending legislation in the State of Texas that would potentially impact the entire Water Garden Industry.
On Wednesday 1-26-11 Senator Glenn Hegar of Texas announced his rejection of the states proposed “white list” for plants. This well meaning but incomplete list of pre approved plants was the work of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and was ordered by Texas State Legislation in order to deter the spread of invasive plant species. Senator Hegar correctly identified many previously unforeseen pitfalls for several businesses including the water garden industry.
By allowing only pre approved plants this proposed white list would have jeopardized the livelihoods of water garden and plant nurseries all across the state. By instantly criminalizing unapproved plants the law would force countless businesses financial ruin while leaving the approval process in the hands of politicians and those unfamiliar with our industry. Ultimately Senator Hegar possessed the foresight to send the invasive plant issue back for further review.
During the consideration period for this bill Senator Hegar and his staff were petitioned by experts from diverse groups and businesses who immediately saw the flaws of the pending legislation. Rolf and Anita Nelson of Nelson’s Water Gardens of Texas were instrumental in the efforts to provide the state of Texas with accurate information and bring the potential damaging effects to their attention. In addition to the Nelson‚s our industry was represented by the rallying skills of Tom Graham who helped let the rest of the nation know about the repercussions should this law go into effect. Numerous others supporters joined the cause including members of the IPPCA who contacted state legislatures voicing their concerns.
The issue of what plants can and cannot be sold in Texas is just a small part of the ongoing actions of local and state lawmakers across the country as well as that of the Federal Government itself. At this time the IPPCA has been or is currently representing our industry in legislation issues concerning plants, fish, and construction issues in California, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Georgia, Maine, Florida, and Idaho with the states of Maryland and New York also eyeing the same „white list‰ strategy we just avoided in Texas.
The IPPCA invites all organizations and companies in Water Garden and Green Industries to set aside their business rivalries and join together in an effort to stem off current and future legislation that will negatively impact us all. From contractors, dealers, and distributors, to industry organizations, importers and manufacturers it is time for the creation of a national legislative task force. This task force must confront the growing legal issues that will arise and guide our industry and our lawmakers in positive directions that protect our interests and those of our customers.
Your voice can and does make a difference. To keep our industry strong and growing, please pick up the phone and call me at 706-865-0220 today.