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Old 03-23-2011, 05:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs down COPY OF: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Here is the link to the Senate bill submitted by Senator Hegar on March 10.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLoo...2R&Bill=SB1480

It provides for a black list of aquatic plants. Nothing specific regarding who would be eligible for permits.

So much for constituent involvement in the legislative process. We offered to participate. Perhaps Sen. Hegar felt that our emails and faxes provided sufficient input from us.

I have not yet read it carefully but will and urge all club members to do so.

I would suspect that TPWD will plan to add all the plants on their earlier rejected list to the legal black list.

This is what I just wrote Senator Hegar tonight:

Senator Hegar:

I was both suprised and distressed to learn of your submission of SB 1480 on March 10 apparently without any consultant to aquatic plant hobbyists who have offered to participate in the development of a more appropriate and effective approach to the regulation of aquatic plants to replace the naiive but good intentioned law requiring a white list. Since I found SB 1480 fairly early in the legislative process I hope we can influence amendments to make it more workable and fair to the citizens of Texas as well as more effective in achieving the purpose.

Please consider initiating several amendments to the bill in the following areas:

1) Provide for aquatic plant hobbyists who keep plants in aquariums in enclosed structures such as houses, condos and apartments either an exception to the rules or the ability to obtain a permit at a nominal cost;

2) Provisions for improved notification and enforcement of removing plants from boats upon leaving Texas waterways and before entering Texas waterways. What occurs today is totally inadequate and is a major source of problems we continue to experience.

3) Require TPWD to use a more reasonable and scientifically appropriate process for evaluating plants to be banned in Texas, including full disclosure of the evaluation process, evaluation results details by plants and the opportunity for public review and comment.

Most sincerely,

Bob Alston


You can write Senator Hegar via the form at the bottom of this link:
http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/se...t18/dist18.htm

Please do so - NOW!!!

Bob
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the bill, but it looks to me like this is the legislation he promised would overturn last year's bill. Notice that all of last year's added rhetoric is scratched out. In other words, all I see here is Senator Hegar turning back the clock two years, which is what we wanted.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

so it looks like he is trying to go in reverse and not forward, and that tpwd is trying to find some loop holes so they can have there way.... or could it be that there just getting started and gearing up for the big pizza party....
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

This is a bit confusing to me. I read:

"(b) A person may not import, possess, sell, or place into
the public water of this state an exotic harmful or potentially
harmful aquatic plant except as authorized by commission rule or a
permit issued by the department. Sounds pretty broad
(c) The commission by rule shall adopt a list of exotic
aquatic plants that may not be imported into or possessed in this
state without a permit.This is the black list.
(d) The commission may enact an emergency rule as provided
by Chapter 2001, Government Code, to add an exotic aquatic plant to
the list of prohibited plants if the plant is determined to be
harmful or potentially harmful. They can add what they want by wording of "potentially harmful".

SECTIONA9.AA(a) On the effective date of this Act, the list
of harmful or potentially harmful plants that was in effect
immediately before the publication of the list of approved plants
required by Section 66.007(b), Parks and Wildlife Code, as amended
by Section 14, Chapter 952 (H.B. 3391), Acts of the 81st Legislature, Regular Session, 2009, is the list of exotic aquatic plants required by Section 66.0072, Parks and Wildlife Code, as added by this Act, and shall be the list in effect until amended by the Parks and Wildlife Department. So does this refer to the list they just compiled but never voted on, or the previous list?



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Old 03-23-2011, 09:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

It does turn back time but adds a provision for algae that is used in some sort of r&d program. I feel this is a lot more manageable compaired to the previous bill. It does have some confusing parts but that's typically in the Texas laws. We asked for the black list and we got it. They made it a living list that can change at any time but that's OK. TDPW still has the necessary power to address any new threats to our state. We doing good.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

so that would be what in joelish. so we now have a black list, or am I confused...
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

It appears that Senator Hegar's office has been working with a lobbyist group affiliated with out pond cousins. Read below:

From: Jim Reaves <[email protected]>
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 10:17 pm
Subject: Re: Senate Bill 1480 - Proposed New Law Governing Aquatic Plants

Please do not get fired up on this right now. We are working with Sen Hegar and he is not trying to hurt the industry. I have conversations daily with his office. Our industry is not being left out. He is the one who helped us out in January, and he is a friend. The approach you are taking right now is a bad idea and it could jeopardize the positive work we are doing. I am not sure if y'all are a member of TNLA, but this is what we do on a daily basis. I am at the Capitol most every day working on issues like this.

I am not trying to push down your enthusiasm, but let us handle this right now. If we need help contacting legislators, I promise I will ask.

Jim Reaves
Director, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs
Texas Nursery & Landscape Association
O: 512.579.3854
C: 254.223.3344

And in case you didn't know anything about the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association:
"The Texas Nursery and Landscape Association's Mission is to Enhance Members' Business Success Through Legislative/Regulatory Advocacy, Education, Networking, and Promotion of Professionalism."

THis is a link to their web site:
http://www.txnla.org/
However, whatever information may be there on this topic is only available to association members ( $90 or more per year).
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

@ Bob - So who is he talking to? Who could "jeopardize the positive work we are doing"? Is he saying he doesn't want anyone to contact Senator Hegar but his organization? I sure wish I knew what this legislation meant. I sure wish I understood what Jim Reaves' goals are. What is he lobbying for?



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Old 03-24-2011, 11:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Reaves works for TLNA, and he is trying to protect their interests. If anything, they want even less control than aquarium hobbyists do.

The email Bob quotes was sent to one of their members (I think), Mary at Dickinson Bros. Mary had sent out an email warning everyone that the legislation is under consideration again. Reaves' email was directed at her, not any of the planted aquarium groups.

Let us be careful not to get upset with the wrong people.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Reeves. He is a paid lobbyist for the association as noted. They deal with terrestrial as well as aquatic plants. I get the impression that our pond "cousins" are a relatively small portion of his association members. He is working on a several legistative initiatives of which SB 1480 is only one.

He really does want us to hold off until he can finish pursuing some things he is and has been working on with Senator Hegar's office. He is not aware of, nor is he interesting in understanding or pursuing the items of interest to us. One exception is that he agrees that TPWD should use the best science available, as I mentioned to him a better method of evaluating aquatic plants for invasiveness is available. Upon reflecting his perspective probably makes sense as he is an employee of an association that does the bidding of its members, of which we are not members and likely no indoor aquatic plant hobbyists are. He just doesn't want us to inflame Senator Hegar such that the Senator may be less cooperative with what Mr. Reeves is doing and the cause overall.

Mr. Reeves does recommend a single letter to Senator Hegar from the club/indoor aquatic plant hobbyiests as a group.

At this point, I do not see any reason we should hold off on voicing our concerns and provisions we think should be addressed and contacting Senator Hegar. However, you should use your own judgement and our club officers can decide for the club as a whole. If you/we pursue our concerns with Senator Hegar, it is probably best to avoid expressing concerns with not being involved in the new process or otherwise appearing aggressive with him (Perhaps I have already done enought of that; I can be the designated "bad cop"). Better to simply factually and respectfully present our position and specifics on what we propose and why.

bob
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