On the move

Forward progress was made recently at the state level with regard to ASCA-backed bills. Executive Director Kevin Gilbride shares news from the “land of Lincoln,” as well as updates on where legislation stands in other states.

One of the ASCA’s main initiatives is working with state and federal governments to ensure fairness in the laws.  Sometimes this means supporting existing legislation, other times is means creating our own.  Many of you are aware the ASCA has been working on legislation that would disallow a property owner or manager from passing their liability on to the snow contractor. 

This would mean if a property owner provides you a contract in which they only want service at a 2-inch snow depth, and they are going to make the call when too salt, an indemnification clause that makes you responsible for “any and all, actual or alleged claims for personal injury.”  This proposed legislation levels the playing field. It makes the property owner responsible for themselves, and the snow contractor responsible for themselves. 

Let me make this clear: the bill does not release responsibility or liability.  If the snow contractor errs and someone gets hurt, then they are responsible.  If the owner doesn’t call for service, then the property owner is responsible.  It’s fair, common sense legislation.  And it is beginning to move…

This past week I was privileged to be in Springfield, Ill., providing testimony to the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 2138, The Snow Removal Liability Limitations Act.  Nearly a year ago, a group of 15 Illinois snow contractors and I were in Springfield to get this bill introduced.  We had 20 meetings over a 7-hour period.  We met with Illinois congress people, senators and their aids.  At the end of the day, we had a sponsor in the assembly and a sponsor in the senate.  This hearing was the next “publicly seen” step in the right direction.  Behind the scenes, Illinois contractors continue to meet with their representatives in their home offices.  Our sponsors of the bill were both Republicans.  These other meetings brought us co-sponsors from the other side of the aisle, as well..  So now, this co-sponsored legislation was heard by committee.

The hearing went great. I was fortunate to answer a few questions, and the committee moved ahead, unanimously passing the bill in committee and recommending it to the senate floor.  It is now up to the senate majority leader to determine if and when it will be heard on the floor.

Illinois contractors, you need to reach out to your senators to educate them on this legislation.  We have position statements here at the ASCA, feel free to call the ASCA offices and request those.

This same legislation is also making progress in Michigan.  House Bill 5230 in Michigan is scheduled for committee hearing on March 15th or 22nd.  We will be there to testify.

In Pennsylvania, House Bill 1672 is in committee and we are awaiting a hearing date, as we are on New Jersey Senate Bill 3121.

We have many more states in which we are making progress, and if you want your state involved, I encourage you get involved.  Call me (216/393-0246) and I’ll get you on the team.