ASA’s advocacy efforts are set to take off in a new direction. We are expanding our ability to impact government regulations and their impact on our industry and your business. Seeing the challenges continually placed on our manufacturers and small businesses within our industry and beyond, ASA’s leadership has approved plans for ASAto bring our advocacy programs beyond the Washington Beltway and engage in Sacramento, Calif.

As you know, California and the regulations that come out of the state capital dramatically impact the way you do business. In fact, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that many of the distributors in California have employees spending an inordinate amount of time monitoring which products no longer meet the ever-changing laws passed each year. The time that could be better spent growing a business, instead is spent avoiding fines and penalties. And as Hirsch Pipe & Supply’s Bill Glockner said in the 2015 Supply House Times Distributor Roundtable: “Being based in California, it seems like we’ve had a permanent obsolescence team. Every year there is some new legislated issue that we have to manage around and some chunk of our inventory likely will become obsolete because of it. We are afraid to guess what is it going to be next? I feel like our legislators believe they know more about the materials needed in plumbing products than manufacturing experts or research scientists.”

In February, I traveled to California and spent the day in the Sacramento State House meeting with many of your elected leaders. For those used to traveling to ASA’s Washington Fly-in, I can assure you of the relative ease in navigating around just one legislative building, as opposed to six in Washington, D.C.

It was uplifting to identify so many allies that I was able to connect with. In meeting after meeting I was pleased to hear how encouraged they are that small business owners are beginning to engage, particularly as it relates to water. In fact, when I shared with one staffer the practical realities and unintended consequences of the oft-maligned Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Actand the millions of dollars’ worth of inventory that was tossed aside by many of our members, her reaction spoke volumes. “Those are stories we needed to hear to try and stop this from moving forward”.

ASA and many of your elected leaders need your help. For the first time in recent memory, we are asking you to come to Sacramento on June 15 and 16 and support our efforts to begin educating your state senators and general assembly on the issues you are facing. We believe that this is the key missing link in challenging the outlandish regulations being promulgated in Sacramento. This is just the first step of what ASA is working to offer in California as we begin to lead our members in fighting for common-sense regulations. Many of you may have heard that ASA is moving toward becoming fully engaged in codes and standards with the hiring of a code engineer.  Some of the focus of this new position will be to support our advocacy efforts in California. But it begins with you helping us with this first step and what’s to come to Sacramento. 

We may have lost the battle on lead in plumbing, but we will never be in that position again. The time is now to build the relationships needed to help us win the battles of the future in order to prevent more aggressive water conservation measures from being implemented. If we don’t establish these relationships today, our industry will continue be threatened tomorrow. Join us in Sacramento and take a stand for the PHCP-PVF industry!

Finally, one hidden benefit. Did you know that California legislators are term-limited? Whether they serve in the Assembly or Senate, they can only serve a maximum of 12 years. Perhaps one positive out of the state that’s been known to wreak havoc in so many other ways? Eliminating legislators for life. By not having to constantly look over your shoulder for fear of defeat at the ballot box, California legislators have proven they’re interested in getting things done. It’s our responsibility to ensure that they get it right.