While the goal of those attending NPMA’s 2013 Legislative Day remains the same — to raise awareness with their legislators about issues impacting the pest control industry — what’s different about this year’s event is that there are real opportunities to make inroads thanks to a new-look Congress.

The 113th Congress includes a U.S. House of Representatives with one-third of its 435 members having less than three years experience. In 2010, 96 freshmen were elected, followed by the victorious campaigns of 84 newcomers last November, totaling 180 new members the last two election cycles. The Senate has seen similar turnover, with 12 new senators being elected in 2012 on top of 13 freshman senators that won election in 2010. Also, many of the House members elected in 2010 and 2012 will soon chair key subcommittees that have jurisdiction over issues that impact the professional pest management industry.

We have an increased opportunity to establish relationships with people who will, in just a few years, hold major positions of influence,” said Gene Harrington, director of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association.

Harrington added that there also is a generational shift in Congress. Long-serving members such as Ted Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Bob Dole and Daniel Inouye are gone. In fact, only one member of Congress (Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.) served in World War II.

“It’s a new day for Legislative Day, too,” said Harrington. “For those who attended Legislative Day in the past and were frustrated by their visits, they should know that there truly are opportunities with this Congress, but Bob [Rosenberg, NPMA executive vice president] and I can only do so much. We really need Legislative Day attendees to extend our [reach] to places we don’t have the time and ability to get to, and establish relationships.”

In addition to developing these relationships, Legislative Day attendees will be raising awareness about the following issues impacting the pest control industry…

Sulfuryl Fluoride Food Uses.

Legislative Day attendees — specifically those involved in fumigation work — will again be making their representatives aware of what NPMA and others believe is U.S. EPA’s misguided proposed order cancelling the food uses for sulfuryl fluoride,

The product has come under attack from the activist group FAN (Fluoride Action Network), which has waged a lengthy campaign to remove sulfuryl fluoride usage in food-processing facilities, and in January 2011 EPA announced it was taking steps to begin a phased-down withdrawal of sulfuryl fluoride. But even U.S. EPA acknowledges that sulfuryl fluoride contributes no more that 2-3 percent of the public’s exposure to fluoride.

Harrington said that this issue is essentially in a “holding pattern,” as EPA is in the process of reviewing comments…

Title of article, [Legislative Day] New Congress, New Opportunities