Each new year brings new resolutions, new business plans, and new changes in laws and regulations. Congressional districts are another thing that is also changing.
There are 435 congressional districts and each one contains approximately 600,000 people. Every 10 years, after the United States Census, the House of Representatives is reapportioned in order to provide proportional representation to the states. States can gain, lose, or maintain their number of representatives. All states, even those that did not gain or lose districts, still must redraw district boundaries in order to match internal population shifts.
Districts are generally drawn up by the partisan majorities in state legislatures in a process called gerrymandering — that is, the act of redrawing district lines to influence elections to favor a particular party or candidate. While the Voting Rights Act strongly protects against racial gerrymandering, manipulating the lines to favor a political party is common. Contact your state legislature to check on your congressional district.
New laws and regulations
A new year also brings new laws and regulation, some being proposed and some going into effect for the first time. We all need to stay abreast of any bills a state may introduce that could have a negative impact on you or your business. In order to achieve the desired outcome for these bills, we all need to be involved and make sure each and everyone’s voice is heard and takes some action. Taking action usually involves you contacting your elected legislators to give them your opinion on the proposed legislation.
It can be a phone call, a visit to your legislator’s office, or sending a form letter from PLANET’s Web site or from your state association. If you have participated in this process in the past, thank you, and we need you to remain vigilant. If you haven’t, instead of asking you to make this a New Year’s resolution (we all know what happens with those), we’ll just ask that when the call goes out, pick up the phone or take a minute to send a letter.
One of the key issues this year has to do with fertilizer (nutrient) bills that could include blackout dates when you can’t apply fertilizers (this has happened in three states in the past year) or that call for banning pesticide use in parks or on school grounds. If you think this does not affect your current applications, understand that it is only the first step by those opposing your business activities. The next step is commercial and residential property pesticide bans. Please be active in these critical issues and encourage others, including your employees, to be involved in legislative action. We will also be watching the ever-increasing over-reach of regulatory agencies on the federal level as we saw last year with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor.
As author, radical, and inventor Thomas Paine said, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.” Let’s be intentional about hanging together, and let’s make it a good business year!
Article provided by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). For more information, visit www.landcarenetwork.org