Posts Tagged ‘issue management’

WHAT’S IN THE WATER? State Agriculture Officials Look at Innovation, not Regulation, to Protect Water Quality

February 7, 2013

By Stateside Associates

At this week’s National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Policy Conference, water policy issues took center stage among environmental concerns impacting the sector.  While NASDA is no stranger to water quality – a long-standing priority for farmers and regulators alike – what stood out at this meeting was the focus on innovative policies that minimize regulatory challenges and enhance water quality.

In particular, discussion focused on voluntary approaches to water quality protection.  While many aspects of today’s farms are regulated by the Clean Water Act as “point sources,” runoff from fields and pastures generally falls outside this definition.  To help address this issue, states have been looking at ways to promote the use of voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) for agricultural lands.  While the BMP concept itself is not new, some states are incentivizing participation in BMP programs by coupling participation with a presumption of compliance with state water quality requirements.  States following this approach reported that farmers are embracing the concept because of the certainty the program creates.  Some of the BMPs available include multi-cropping, new tillage practices and the use of advanced technologies to “right size” fertilizer application.

Building on this concept, some states reported they are also exploring the use of voluntary contracts between the landowner and state to provide even longer term certainty, so long as applicable BMP requirements are met.

Yet, while innovative programs are underway in some states, regulatory challenges remain.  In particular, meeting attendees discussed U.S. EPA’s May 2013 deadline to comply with a new Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirement for farms.  This requirement, which calls for certain farms with above or below ground oil or oil product tanks to prepare SPCC plans, has raised questions about the exact reach of the rule.  In particular, the rule requires a plan from farms that could “reasonably be expected to discharge oil to navigable waters of the US or adjoining shorelines, such as lakes, rivers and streams.”  While some guidance is provided regarding what this means, questions remains over exactly which farms are covered.  At the meeting, NASDA members indicated an interest in seeing rule implementation delayed to allow time to address these issues.

These were just a few of the environmental topics taken up at the meeting, but they illustrate the work being undertaken by state officials to meet increasing global food demands in an environmentally responsible manner.

NASDA will next meet in September at its Annual Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina.

To view a complete list of Groups that have upcoming events visit http://www.stateside.com/groups/groups-schedule-by-organization/.

New Association of Clean Air Agencies

January 23, 2013

By Mark Anderson, Senior Vice President

The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) has been created as an association of state and local clean air agencies. This new association is a separate organization from the longstanding National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA).

AAPCA is being staffed by Batelle Corporation and is expected to have its first meeting in March in Columbus, Ohio. The initial 16 member states of AAPCA are Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. In 2013, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will be members of both AAPCA and NACAA. The remaining states are no longer members of NACAA. Ohio local air agencies are expected to also become part of AAPCA in 2013.

Discussions about the formation of the organization and the separation of a number of states from NACAA began in the fall of 2011. These discussions were initiated because of the dissatisfaction by some of the states over positions on federal policy promoted by NACAA.

***

Mark Anderson is Senior Vice President working at Stateside Associates managing the Regulatory Services Division. He advises clients on engagement strategy and directs educational and “grasstops” campaigns directed at governors and regulatory officials. Mr. Anderson also has created issue advocacy coalitions and facilitates work group meetings of state and federal stakeholders addressing environmental issues.

Stateside Associates

 

STATE ELECTIONS: Trend Setters or Busters?

November 5, 2012

By Constance Campanella, President and CEO

Tomorrow’s election will touch every American as citizens elect a President, US Senators, Members of Congress, Governors, Attorneys General and more than 6,000 state legislators. The state ballots will also include more than 150 questions–initiatives and referenda–addressing a vast array of public policy issues.

Stateside Associates will be reporting about all state election results beginning Election Night. Our Top News memo will highlight the major races and outcomes. Maps and Charts will bring the new line-ups into focus and the State Election Guides will present results for all the races on a state-by-state basis.

You can access all of these resources by clicking www.stateside.com/state-information/elections-2012 or just visit www.stateside.com and the Election Results pop-up box will direct you to the information you seek. All resources will be updated continuously until the last vote is counted.

Clients of our firm are welcome to contact us for additional information and updates. And, we are still taking reservations for post-election presentations.

DOWN BALLOT TRENDS

Today, we thought we would highlight down ballot races that are important to state government relations professionals. Trends are poised to be sustained or arrested in contests for legislative majorities, Governor and Attorney General, while ballot questions put many of America’s thorniest issues in the hands of the voters.

STATE LEGISLATIVE MAJORITIES

In 2010, 22 state legislative chambers changed majority control–a high water mark. All were lost by Democrats whose majorities succumbed on Election Day and afterwards with party switches.

Contributing to the historic nature of 2010, 1,765 new legislators took office–the most ever for any election prior to decennial re-districting. With 2012 being the post-redistricting election year, that record number could be matched or topped, yielding the least experienced cohort of state lawmakers in US history. Some have projected that almost half of all state lawmakers may have two or fewer years of experience as the 2013 sessions convene. Opportunity? Threat? You decide.

Thirteen (13) Chambers Close Enough to Switch in 2012

There are thirteen state legislative chambers in play in 2012 in which the majority is five seats or fewer. For those chambers a switch of three seats would change the balance of power. There are also several other chambers with slightly larger spreads in which each political party thinks they have a chance to take control.

In the South, Republicans are making a strong push to take control of the Arkansas House and Senate. Arkansas is the last state in the region still to have Democratic control of either chamber. Republicans are looking for a southern sweep while Democrats hope Arkansas will prove that they can still compete in the South.

In Wisconsin, Democrats took back control of the state Senate over the summer as a result of several recall elections. However, the control was on paper only as the Legislature had adjourned until 2013 before the last round of recall elections that caused the change. Odds are in favor of Republicans regaining control of that chamber tomorrow.

The Alaska Senate and the Oregon House are tied currently, so both parties are looking for that decisive last seat in order to gain control. Republicans have a one seat majority in the Colorado House and Democrats have single seat majorities in the Nevada Senate and Iowa Senate.

While New York State is dominated by Democrats with a 2:1 party registration advantage, Republicans have controlled the State Senate for most of the last four decades. And, while many had predicted that Republicans will hang on again this year, will Hurricane Sandy–which devastated New York City and Long Island–affect the outcome?

Other states where a change in party control is possible include: Minnesota (both chambers), Maine (both chambers), New Mexico (House), Washington (Senate) and Colorado (Senate).

ATTORNEYS GENERAL

From a low point of just 14 a decade ago, Republicans have made capturing these offices a major priority and it has paid off. Excluding the non-partisan AG’s, Republicans and Democrats each hold 24 Attorney General offices. Watch the open seats in Washington, Pennsylvania and Montana to learn if the Republican march to the majority will be sustained or stalled.

Coincidentally, two nail-biter Governor races feature state Attorneys General. Montana’s Steve Bullock (D) and Washington’s Rob McKenna (R) are in open seat races that are too close to call. And, while very popular as AG’s–both are poised to be succeeded by candidates of the opposite party in races also too close to call.

GOVERNORS

There are 29 Republican Governors and 20 Democratic Governors.  Rhode Island Governor Chafee is an Independent. Eleven races dot the map in 2012 with three of those too close to call.

In addition to the aforementioned Washington and Montana races, the third nail biter is in New Hampshire, where Presidential candidate ground-games may pull a gubernatorial candidate to victory.

BALLOT QUESTIONS: TAXES

New Hampshire CACR 13, Michigan Proposal 5 and Washington Initiative 1185 (links to full text below) are ballot questions designed to limit the legislature’s ability to raise taxes. New Hampshire’s prohibits the General Court from enacting any tax on a person’s income. New Hampshire does not have an income tax right now and there are no plans to implement one. Washington’s would require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue, which includes repealing tax exemptions and any tax increase. Michigan’s ballot proposal requires a two-thirds vote for any bill imposing additional taxes or increasing the taxation base and also allows statewide initiatives to approve tax increases (similar to California).

www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_MI_Alliance_for_Prosperity_399443_7.pdf

www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2012/CACR0013.html

https://wei.sos.wa.gov/agency/osos/en/press_and_research/ PreviousElections/2012/General-Election/Documents/I-1185_complete_text.pdf

While we cannot call this next proposal a potential trend-setter (after all, NO state looks to California for fiscal guidance), California Proposition 30 is Governor Jerry Brown’s (D) plan to raise revenue and stem the fiscal hemorrhage that has defined California for more than a decade. The plan calls for raising the top rate income tax from the current 9.3% to a maximum of 13.2%. The measure also imposes a “temporary” state sales tax increase of 3.45% for four years.   And, there are many other tax-raising provisions with the funds dedicated to education and local public safety services.

vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/30-title-summ-analysis.pdf

BALLOT QUESTIONS: UNIONS

California Proposition 32 prohibits both labor unions and corporations from donating to candidates and candidate-controlled committees.  It also prohibits using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.

vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/32-title-summ-analysis.pdf

Two Michigan questions are drawing national interest as both would represent boosts for labor unions.

Michigan Home Health Care Amendment: Would give home health care providers limited collective bargaining rights.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_Citizens_for_Affordable_Quality_Home_Care_399442_7.pdf

Michigan “Protect Our Jobs” Amendment: Would make collective bargaining a right for public and private workers.

www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_Protect_Our_Jobs_399440_7.pdf

For a free, complete list and links to state ballot questions, please email stateside@stateside.com.

Hope you enjoy Election Day 2012. With some help from Starbucks, pizza and aspirin, we’ll see you on the other side.

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Constance Campanella is the Founder, President and CEO of Stateside Associates. A veteran of 30 years of state and federal issue management experience, Ms. Campanella managed Stateside’s growth from a one-person firm to what one trade publication has called, “a behemoth in state lobbying.”


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