The NPMA’s Liz Grier, left, and Courtney Brooks welcomed attendees at the Capital Hilton hotel. Signage made it convenient for attendees to show their support for vetted charities helping those in the Ukraine. Photo: PMP Staff
Pest management professionals (PMPs) and manufacturer representatives met up at the Capital Hilton hotel in Washington, D.C., March 13-15 for the first three days of the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) Legislative Day event.
Turnout was nearly back to pre-pandemic days as educational sessions, keynote addresses, committee meetings and networking receptions were well-attended.
Like last year, the Capitol Hill visits with state representatives were held online because the U.S. Capitol and House and Senate offices remain closed to the general public, a move that took place two days after the Legislative Day event ended in 2020.
Because the closures still stand, the NPMA partnered again this year with Soapbox, a company that created meeting schedules and provided an easy-to-use platform to coordinate talking points and contact information for PMPs making virtual Capitol Hill visits on March 16 with their representatives.
The purpose of Legislative Day, now in its 38th year, is to meet with Congressional representatives in their offices on Capitol Hill and explain the issues that are having an impact on the pest control industry.
This year, the NPMA asked PMPs to focus on two issues:
- Pesticide preemption. This is an important issue in the pest control industry, because without it, pesticides can be regulated at the local level. As a result, PMPs would be required to keep track of a patchwork of regulations that may differ from one municipality to another. The NPMA contends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state lead agency have the technical expertise and resources to best evaluate whether a pesticide is safe and effective, as opposed to municipalities. Pesticide preemption currently is in effect in 46 states; however, several states have pushed for its repeal. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) is introducing a bill that would ensure pesticide preemption nationwide. For their Capitol Hill visits, PMPs were asked to see whether their representatives would be interested in co-sponsoring this bill.
- Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA). If passed in its current form, this bill would repeal pesticide preemption in the 46 states that currently have it, allow citizen petitions to designate pesticides as “dangerous,” and immediately suspend in the United States any pesticide that has been banned or suspended in Canada or the European Union. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the bill in November. It is co-sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Attendees were given handouts with frequently asked questions and details about these issues to put PMPs at ease as they met with their representatives.
Legislative Day sponsors included MGK and Control Solutions Inc.; Strategic Sponsors BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience and Syngenta; and Premier Sponsor FMC.
Next year, Legislative Day will take place March 12-14.
The Professional Women in Pest Management’s (PWIPM’s) meeting and networking event was sponsored by ServicePro, and open to men and women. Photo: PMP Staff
On July 4, 2021, the NPMA renamed its PestVet of the Year Award the David Cooksey PestVet of the Year Award, in honor of David Cooksey, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, former member of the NPMA PestVets Council, and CFO of McCall Service in Jacksonville, Fla. With family in attendance, his brother John recalled David’s dedication to the pest control industry and thanked the NPMA for the special honor. Photo: PMP Staff
Catching up with one another was a common occurrence, as last year’s Legislative Day was a virtual event. Photo: PMP Staff
As part of PestVets’ Operation Gratitude, attendees wrote letters of support and thanks to active servicemen and women. The letters will be included in care packages. Photo: PMP Staff
During the Welcome Reception, held the evening of the first day, the American Originals Fife & Drum Corps entertained the crowd with patriotic tunes in celebration of our nation’s history. Photo: PMP Staff
During the keynote luncheon, Ashley Amidon, VP of public policy for the NPMA, is flanked by writer and docuseries host Jennifer Palmieri and former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) as she moderated a lively — and civil — discussion about the upcoming midterm elections. Photo: PMP Staff
Dr. Stan Cope, VP of products and technical services for Catchmaster manufacturer AP&G Co. and retired U.S. Navy Captain, was on hand to receive his 2021 David Cooksey PestVet of the Year Award. The honor was announced last year, but because Legislative Day was a virtual event due to the pandemic, he was recognized this year, too. Photo: PMP Staff
From left, Rentokil’s Linda Sykes, Sprague Pest Solutions’ Leila Haas, and Economy Exterminators’ Greg Canning shared their human resources expertise as they participated in a panel discussion, “How to Attract Talent in a Tight Labor Market.” It was moderated by Western Pest Services’ Lisa Weidmaier (not pictured). Said Canning, “Every person in your company is a recruiter.” Photo: PMP Staff
To ensure meetings with representatives run smoothly, a session covering the issues Legislative Day attendees were asked to discuss with their representatives was held. From left, Kevin Schultze of Soapbox, the platform that members use to conduct schedule and organize their meetings; Ashley Amidon, VP of public policy for the NPMA; and Bonnie Rabe, managing director of government relations for Rollins Inc. and chairperson of the NPMA’s Public Policy Committee; listen as an attendee asks a question about the virtual meetings schedule. Photo: PMP Staff
The afternoon keynote presentation featured Michael Smerconish, host of the SiriusXM podcast “The Michael Smerconish Program” as well as CNN’s “Smerconish.” He encouraged attendees to keep an open mind and get their news from a variety of sources instead of the same places all the time. “Do yourself a favor and change the channel. Whatever channel you are watching, you can come back to it. Just change it,” he said. Photo: PMP Staff
Scott Steckel, Plunkett’s Pest Control, is serving an extended term as NPMA president because of the pandemic. Photo: PMP Staff