Mid-Year Legislative Update

Mid-Year Legislative Update

ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride reports in from the legislative front lines and provides a picture of progress in a number of states.

June 7, 2019

It’s my pleasure to report that the momentum on the legislative front is strong and continually moving our initiatives forward in various snow states.

The ASCA’s model legislation -- “The Snow Removal Liability Limitations Act” -- continues to make progress and gain acceptance on various fronts. This legislation disallows parties to use hold-harmless agreements and indemnification clauses to pass their liability onto another party. More simply stated, a property owner cannot give you a three-inch trigger and then make you liable for a slip-and-fall incident that occurs with only an inch of snow on the ground. Already enacted into law in Colorado and Illinois, there the laws are working to benefit contractors’ best interests. Bolstered by those successes, we continue to make progress in many other snow states.

The Bay State is first on the radar. Our bill was introduced this year by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. ASCA member Mike Weiss, president/owner at Weiss Snow & Landscape Co., and I made our first visits to the state house three years ago. Since we now have our bill introduced, we have been communicating with state legislators through face-to-face meetings, letters and emails. That communication is working, and we will be in Massachusetts on July 9th to testify in support of the legislation. The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, where the bill is assigned, informed us last week that they are going to hear the bill. This is the first step in getting the bill moving forward and is an exciting next step on legislation in a state that needs it dramatically.

Our bill has been met positively here passing the state house unanimously. We are hopeful to have more news on this soon as their legislative session concludes this week.

New Jersey
Our bills are numbers Assembly Bill 3968 with the companion bill in the state senate is S665. We have had success here, then were stalled. New Jersey contractors should look for some information soon on a legislative event taking place in Trenton. We are planning to head back to the state capital to meet with committee members to get this bill back on track.

New York
Our bill was introduced as Assembly Bill 4489. Like New Jersey, we are in first stage of planning to head to Albany to kick start this bill in the state assembly. New York members, please stay in touch as we will need voter participation.

Whether by design or circumstance, the wheels of change at the state level often turn slowly. It’s important to keep this in mind when frustration sets in that progress is not being achieved at a fast-enough pace. While it is not our wish, sometimes legislation takes more than one introduction to gain traction and support within the state assembly.

What does grease the wheels of progress is voter support – that means you. When called up, please be ready to throw your support and voice behind our legislative initiatives in your state. It is a strategy that has worked well for us in other states and is the core of grassroots initiatives like ours.

If you want to get more involved in legislative matters in your state, I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions or for guidance (kgilbride@ascaonline.org). Together, we will make a difference and a better snow and ice management industry.