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Welcome to, your online resource to the latest news & information for the green industry in Pennsylvania.



PennDOT Implements New CDL Exam

HARRISBURG – PennDOT began implementing new federal CDL skill test requirements this past June 15. If you or your employees are prepping for the CDL, be sure that you have the new skills test materials. While it has not yet been implemented in Pennsylvania, be aware that the new federal regulations require that when you take your CDL skills test, whether you take it in a vehicle with a standard shift or an automatic transmission will matter. If you take... (more)

Crack-Down on Truck, Trailer Rules Continues

HARRISBURG – PLNA continues to receive reports from members that police are not letting up on their enforcement of truck and trailer regulations. A PLNA member reported in July receiving a $1,000 fine for having one of their employees drive a truck and trailer combination that exceeded the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds without a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Members are reminded that the truck and trailer weights... (more)

State Budget Impasse Drags On

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania heads into its second month without a budget and state spending authority, but a solution to the impasse is not in sight. Although the Democratic governor and Republican state legislative leaders have had meetings during July, they are still taking occasional pot shots at each other in the press. Hopes rose that a compromise agreement could be reached in late July when the governor’s chief of staff Katie McGinty resigned to... (more)

STARS Act Simplifies Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Ayotte (R-NH) along with Sen. King (I-ME), and Sen. Blunt (R-MO) introduced the "Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality" or STARS Act in the Senate- S.1809. The Senate STARS Act reflects H.R. 863, introduced mid-February in the House of Representatives. The legislation could to a certain extent simplify and streamline Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance. This bill would modify the ACA to define a "seasonal employee" ... (more)

Governor Vetoes Republican State Budget

HARRISBURG – After weeks of a political standoff, the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a budget on June 30 that Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, quickly vetoed. So as of July 1, the budget process is back to square one and the Commonwealth does not have the authority to pay its bills. Although the Republicans control both houses of the General Assembly, they don’t have the votes necessary to override the veto. Leadership from... (more)

 Redding Agrees to Allow Alternates on Plant Committee

HARRISBURG – For the past two years, PLNA has been working with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on an updated Noxious Weed Law. The new draft legislation is now called the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Law. PDA released a "final draft” of the legislation in March, but there was still one issue outstanding that bothered PLNA: public members of the Controlled Plant Committee, which has the power to list plants as controlled or noxious, could... (more)

AmericanHort Launches the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

COLUMBUS, OH – On June 3, 2015, the National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN), an unprecedented collaboration of national, regional, conservation, and gardening groups, launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. This is a strategic effort to promote and protect the needs of pollinators in North America. In the fall of 2014, AmericanHort and seven other organizations were convened to propose public/private sector efforts to help restore... (more)

 Grow Wise, Bee Smart™ Website Launches

WASHINGTON, D.C. and COLUMBUS, OH - The Horticultural Research Institute, the research affiliate of AmericanHort, today announced the launch of the Grow Wise, Bee Smart™ website. This resource is a key component of the Horticultural Industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, which was created to provide leadership and guidance to the industry on pollinator health. The site serves as the communications hub for the latest research... (more)

 H-2B Language Advances in Senate, House

US Capitol

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As a co-chair of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, AmericanHort and allies are seeking to address some of the current threats to the H-2B program via the appropriations process. On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal 2016 Department of Labor Appropriations bill. The bill includes language that would allow the use of private wage surveys, which are not allowed under the new final H-2B wage rule... (more)

Bill Introduced to Exempt High Tunnels from Storm Water Management Act

high tunnelLANCASTER – Some townships in Lancaster are requiring that high tunnels constructed within their jurisdictions be subject to storm water planning and engineering requirements. These requirements can cost the nursery or farm constructing the high tunnel thousands of dollars. In response, Rep. David Zimmerman (R – Lancaster) has introduced HB 1103 that would exempt high tunnels from the planning and regulatory requirements of the Storm Water... (more)

State Budget Process Grinds… Slowly… Forward

HARRISBURG – Work on the state budget is moving at its usual snail’s pace to meet the June 30 deadline. Like a college student who procrastinates writing that term paper until the night before it’s due, the General Assembly won’t get serious about moving budget bills until the middle of June. But this year is a bit different than previous state budgets. First, without significant cuts or new taxes, the budget has a $2 billion hole. How to fill that hole is the primary... (more)

EPA, Army Corps to Publish Final “Waters of the U.S.” Regs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a year of controversy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced on May 27 that they will publish as final their proposed regulations to define the term “Waters of the U.S.” This action comes just weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Protection Integrity Act (H.R.1732) by a vote of 247-155. Twenty-four Democrats voted with Republicans... (more) 

White House Releases Federal Pollinator Health Strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House released its Federal Pollinator Health Strategy created by a Pollinator Health Task Force it established in June 2014 in response to the serious decline of pollinator populations in the United States and around the world. The White House report takes a fairly balanced view on the causes of reduced pollinator numbers. The science suggests multiple factors for the decline in bee health, including parasites, diet and (more)

PLNA Supports Bill to Improve Riparian Buffers

Riparian BufferHARRISBURG - The PLNA Government Relations Committee voted to throw its support behind a bill that would repair the damage done to state riparian buffer requirements by Act 162 passed last session by the General Assembly. Act 162 removed the requirement that 150 foot riparian buffers be maintained along high quality and exceptional value streams in Pennsylvania. The new bill, SB 560, was introduced by Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery County) and requires... (more)

 PLNA, FFA Plant Forest in House Chamber

Arbor Day

HARRISBURG - PLNA and FFA transformed the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives into a forest of white pine seedlings on April 22, Earth Day, to celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day. This year, PLNA members Strathmeyer Forests and Henry Molded Products donated the items for the annual Arbor Day event. Strathmeyer's seedlings were planted in Henry Molded Products recycled/recyclable pots with the help of the Pennsylvania... (more)

Lowe's to Ban Neonics

Bee HivesMOORESVILLE, NC - In April, Lowe’s announced that they will be phasing out neonicotinoids (neonics) in their garden centers. Lowe's said it will phase out neonics in shelf products and plants by the spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available. Lowe’s follows Home Depot who announced last year that they would require their growers to label plants treated with neonics, while they looked into phasing out plants treated with neonics... (more)

H-2B Hits 2015 Cap

ImmigrationWASHINGTON, D.C. - The roller coaster that is the H-2B program slammed into a brick wall on March 26, 2015 when the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the -mandated cap of 66,000 visas for fiscal year 2015 ending September 30, 2015 had been reached. Now that spring is hard on us, many landscape contractors who had been banking on H-2B workers to deliver promised projects will find themselves short of help... (more)

Yet Another E-Verify Bill Introduced


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Senate Judiciary Committee chairman has introduced a mandatory E-Verify bill. This follows a House bill called the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147) introduced in February by Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Either bill, if passed, would devastate the agricultural workforce in this country. For background, see PLNA e-News April 1, 2015. But it appears that the House bill has been stopped dead in its tracks by a... (more)

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PLNA e-News

7/29/2015 » 8/1/2015
Woody Plant ID - Conifers

Weed Walkabout - Allegheny County

8/6/2015 » 8/7/2015
Pennsylvania Community Forestry Conference

Statewide Landscaping Field Day

Summer Weed Walk - Erie