Happy New Year! We hope your holiday season was joyful and that you’re ready for your company’s best year yet.
Here at Total Landscape Care, we’re turning over a new leaf to start 2017. I’m retiring to spend more time with family. TLC’s associate editor, Jill Odom, has been named editor of the magazine and assumes her new responsibilities today.
You’ll see me around, as I’ll continue to write for Total Landscape Care for a couple of months on a part-time basis. As usual, we’ll be mostly looking forward in January’s coverage: We’ll talk about sprayers and spreaders and preparing for spring, while checking on how the snow and ice management companies are doing.
And then there’s Donald Trump’s inauguration on the 20th, which demands continuing coverage of government relations and landscape industry advocacy in a Trump administration.
We won’t pretend to know what a Trump administration is going to do, but some facts bear repeating; for example, Trump’s choice for labor secretary has long opposed the Obama administration’s new overtime rule, which was halted by a federal district court injunction not long before it was due to take effect Dec. 1. The Department of Labor has asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the injunction, but it seems likely that a Trump Labor Department and GOP majority in the Senate and House would quash the rule if necessary and come up with a phased-in replacement.
Other policies in the nation’s capital that could change significantly under Trump include the H-2B program. Many of the landscaping industry’s largest companies – along with more of the midsize and smaller companies than you might think – depend on the visiting foreign worker program. Of all the H-2B program’s critics, few have been more vocal than Trump’s choice for attorney general, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama.
Still, the industry’s trade group, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), is confident H-2B will survive. They’re aware that Trump’s resort properties (like hotels and resorts nationwide) also depend on H-2B to hire and retain an adequate number of dependable workers. America’s seafood industry is another major employer of H-2B workers, who are classified as “non-immigrants” and remain in the country only when they’re working or soon will be. So the program has its supporters in Congress.
I’m glad I’ll be keeping my hand in a few more weeks. The landscaping industry is a fascinating business to cover. My best of luck to Jill Odom. She has been making me look good for a long time now and she appreciates a beautiful landscape as much as I do.
David Rountree has served as editor of Total Landscape Care since April 2015.