This year the NJLCA, in partnership with other interested associations, made great progress in moving favorable legislation forward!
On the state level, we were lucky to have Senator “Kip” Bateman in our corner. He recently introduced The Snow Removal Liability Limitation Act (S.3121). The law, if enacted, would basically nullify hold harmless provisions in snow removal contracts. It is hoped that such legislation will reduce snow plow insurance premiums over time by not permitting property owners to unreasonably shift all liability to the snow plow contractor. I personally think tort reform would be the best solution to this problem, but that does not appear likely in NJ. Accordingly, we are looking for support of this legislation because it is expected to provide some relief and “move the ball forward”.
On the federal level, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (HR758) passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 241-185. The bill now moves onto the Senate. This bill would change Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and make it mandatory for federal judges to impose sanctions on plaintiffs and plaintiff ’s attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits. It is hoped that a change to the FRCP will result in the states adopting the same changes soon thereafter which is often the case.
Also on the federal level, President Obama recently signed into law an omnibus spending bill for 2016 that includes several beneficial H-2B provisions that will exempt H-2B returning workers from the 66,000 annual cap; allow the use of private wage surveys; clearly define “seasonal” as ten months; and more. Lawmakers who fought and voted for these changes should be applauded because they faced a great deal of criticism from anti-immigration and labor groups.
It is very important to understand that bills do not magically become laws. Although many of us travelled to Trenton, NJ and Washington, DC, our work has only begun and we really need your help and that of others to make things happen. Please contact me to help strategize how you can help our efforts through sending letters, making announcements, and otherwise spreading the word! Thanks to everyone who has helped in these efforts including Jody, Gail, and Maria. Special thanks to the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and Kevin Gilbride for all its efforts and for proposing the model legislation set forth above.
Kenneth F. Cerullo, Esq. is the President and an Owner of The Commercial Agency, Inc. in Park Ridge, NJ along with his brother Steve. He is also a Co-Founder of the New Jersey Agents Alliance (NJAA). Ken currently serves as the Legislative Chairperson for the NJLCA and can be reached by email at [email protected] or (201) 391-1324.
President’s Message Continued ment, clean and paint the interiors of your enclosed lawn maintenance trailers, and wax and detail your hard-working trucks. Make sure you do an inventory and assess all trailers and trucks to check whether all preventative maintenance and repairs have been completed, so when the spring weather hits you are ready for service. Take the opportunity to schedule training on new equipment and proper landscape practices. Schedule safety meetings to prepare your crews and always maintain safe work environments.
Lastly, there’s never a bad time to reach out to your customers! During the course of a busy season, either in Landscape or Snow, we don’t often have the opportunity to personally talk or write to our clients and let them know how much they matter. Follow up and make sure they are pleased with the services you have rendered and let them know about other services you may provide.