This March, National Pest Management Association members and staff will once again climb Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to introduce the pest management industry to the 115th Congress. This is a special Legislative Day not only because we have the newly sworn-in 115th Congress, but it also marks NPMA’s 30th Legislative Day. Following the historical 2016 election, we have Republican-controlled executive and legislative branches, which presents new opportunities to promote the pest management industry and advocate for issues important to us.
During Legislative Day, pest management professionals have the golden opportunity to meet with their members of Congress to discuss the critical issues that affect the industry, and this makes a significant impact. “Walking into your elected official’s office and making the issue local and emotional is probably the most powerful tool one can use to successfully advocate for an issue,” explains Andrew Bray, NPMA director of public policy. “We’re going to have face-to-face meetings on the House side and on the Senate side with actual representatives and senators to talk about how the pest management industry protects public health throughout their districts back home.”
NPMA members will primarily be talking about legislation and regulations that could affect the pest management industry. “As an industry we’re really expanding out to other issues beyond pesticides,” Bray remarks. “The pest management industry is an economic engine that protects people, property and businesses throughout the nation, but we want to make sure legislation and regulations are enacted that help the industry continue to grow and also create jobs.”
Bray adds that it’s crucial for NPMA members across the nation to get involved in the legislative process. “Legislative day is the single most impactful event for our legislative success, it enables our message to be conveyed by constituents that matter and opens the door for the public policy team to follow-up and push important legislation.” Here are hot topics NPMA members will hash out on Capitol Hill in March:
PROTECTORS OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Since the onset of the Zika virus public health crisis last winter, NPMA has worked to raise awareness about the valuable service that the pest management industry provides and has positioned NPMA as a subject matter expert on mosquitoes and public health pests and has become a resource to Congressional offices. At Legislative Day last year, Zika was our top issue, and it will continue to be a primary theme emphasizing the vital service our industry performs to protect constituents in your elected official’s home state or district.
NPMA worked closely with elected officials on both sides of the aisle this past year to pass $1.1 billion in funding to aid in combatting the Zika Virus. The funding will be allocated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will go towards vaccine research, healthcare needs and mosquito control efforts. The funding will be made available to states in need of additional resources, and this appropriation allows both federal and state governments to enter into public/private contracts with these funds, which is favorable language for the pest management industry. As an industry, we need to ensure that these funds are being properly allocated and highlight our role in mosquito treatments that reduce the transmission of the Zika virus.
Aside from the Zika virus, we will continue to talk about other known but not as publicized dangerous and deadly diseases transmitted by pests and solidify the pest management industry as protectors of public health.