Chapter Resources

GRL case studies

Government relations liaisons have played a proactive role in recent years in dealing with legislative and regulatory issues within their state. Here are couple of case studies to show chapter and government relations liaison involvement at the state level.

Case Study 1 - Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England (GCSANE)

In early 1997, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England (GCSANE) learned an onerous posting and notification bill was pending in the Massachusetts Senate. Chapter members immediately rallied to oppose the measure, SB 1062 - The Pesticide Disclosure Act of 1997.

The GCSA of New England took the lead in getting the bill amended to exempt golf courses from the overly burdensome provisions in the bill. Chapter members testified against the bill at two legislative hearings, wrote letters, made phone calls and produced a position statement with help from the GCSAA government relations department. A representative from Senator Lois Pines' (the bill's sponsor) office said the golf courses were one of the most vocal groups to voice opposition for the measure.

The following is a list of actions the chapter government relations liaison and the chapter leadership took to oppose the bill:

 

Arthur Silva, CGCS at Belmont Country Club in Belmont, Mass., and GCSANE government relations liaison, contacted GCSAA's government relations department for assistance. GCSAA helped the chapter develop a position statement outlining problems with the bill. Position statement in hand, GCSANE initiated a grassroots lobbying campaign.

   
 

Silva and Robert DiRico, CGCS at Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, Mass., and GCSANE president, mailed chapter superintendents the position statement, a summary of the bill and a roster of the legislative committee members. Chapter members were strongly urged to work with their club officials and members on letters and calls to state senators to alert them to the legislation, explain the bill's shortcomings and to ask them to vote against the bill.

   
 

In addition to GCSAA, the chapter enlisted the help of allies in the golf community and the pesticide users industry. Silva and DiRico convinced the Massachusetts Golf Association and area club managers and owners to circulate the position statement and join the campaign to defeat the measure.

   
 

GCSAA continued to advise GCSANE's leadership by providing information on preparing for a legislative hearing and by identifying other strategies to defeat the bill. Chapter members testified against the bill at two separate legislative hearings.

   
 

As a result of the actions by the GCSANE and others, golf course provisions in the bill have been drastically amended from the original version with the most onerous ones being removed. The chapter was successful in eliminating a 48 hour mailed prenotification requirement for golf courses and removing a perimeter posting requirement for golf courses.

Although the burdensome and unreasonable provisions affecting golf courses have been removed from the bill, Silva, DiRico and GCSANE continue to oppose the bill in support of others in the green industry. Most recently, Silva, alerted to a letter of support for the bill in a local newspaper, sought GCSAA assistance in drafting a letter of response to submit to the newspaper's editorial page.

Case Study 2 - NY superintendents act to defeat anti-pesticide bills

More than 40 bills on pesticide use were again before the New York State Legislature in 1998. Many of the proposals were similar or identical to legislation that had been introduced again and again over the past five years.

Bills ranged from banning the use of some golf course pesticides, to attempts to overturn the state's preemption law by allowing local governments to pass their own ordinances regarding pesticide use, to burdensome posting and notification requirements.

The GCSAA government relations department launched a grassroots campaign to educate lawmakers and defeat the pesticide use bills. The alert, sent out through a mailing and posted on the home page of GCSAA Online, asked superintendents to take action and contact their state legislators and tell them about the importance of keeping pesticide use options available for maintaining healthy turf. A list of bills and bill summaries, a sample letter and information on how to identify and contact state lawmakers was included in the mailing so members could act quickly.

Superintendents throughout the state responded by writing, calling and e-mailing their lawmakers. Scott Gallup, superintendent at Capitol Hills at Albany, in Albany, New York, and a chapter government relations liaison for the Northwestern GCSA, mailed personalized letters to more than 50 lawmakers in the New York Legislature. Gallup used tools found in the government relations section of GCSAA Online to locate lawmaker contact information for each of his chapter's members.

Gallup says it is extremely important for superintendents to get involved when a legislative action is pending in their state. "It's vital for us to personally communicate with lawmakers if we're going to have any chemical tools to use in the future," said Gallup. "If we don't respond to our lawmakers, they'll think that we don't care about the issues. Legislators need to hear from us before it is too late."

Anti-pesticide groups have been very active during the legislative session and are working hard to ban the use of all pesticides. Gallup says golf course superintendents need to step up to the plate and let lawmakers know their side of the story. "Lawmakers just aren't getting enough of our side of the story. They put their e-mails and letters in a pile and whichever pile is higher often determines their vote. We've got to get personally involved in protecting the resources we need to do our jobs."

 

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advancing their profession, and enhancing the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf.

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