GCSAA Government Relations Update

This content was passed along in an email from John Kotoski from River Run:

In April, I had the opportunity to visit golf course superintendent Jeff Sexton at the Evansville Country Club, and in true April fashion, it rained almost the entire time I was there. Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8th) was the special guest at the Tri-State chapter meeting and Jeff was able to show Congressman Bucshon his course under water and explain to him how the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule would affect his course. Congressman Bucshon spoke at the chapter meeting and fielded questions from chapter members for about an hour. I enjoyed my time out on the course with Jeff and Congressman Bucshon. If you are having events or meetings with your Member of Congress that you need assistance with, please let me or your local field staff representative know about them and we will try our best to get someone out to your event.

We have had a lot of meetings here at headquarters, and I have had a chance to see a few of you in the building. If you are ever at headquarters, please feel free to ask the front desk to give you elevator access to the 4th floor and that is where you will find me. As always, I want to help you make the most of your Ambassador experience.

Lastly, a quick ankle update. I’m out of the walking boot and walking upright on my own. One month of physical therapy and I may be able to walk a full 18 holes.

If you need assistance, please contact me at kseymour@gcsaa.org or (785) 832-3612.

Kaelyn Seymour, Grassroots Ambassador Program Lead

WOTUS Update

GCSAA continues to focus on the EPA’s proposed rule to redefine a “Water of the U.S.” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The rule is at the Office of Management & Budget getting final review. EPA would like to see it go final in June. Many on Capitol Hill know this and are doing what they can to slow down the process. On April 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced and passed out of committee the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732). On April 30, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee unveiled their companion anti-WOTUS bill, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140). Both bills aim to force the agencies to go back to the drawing board with stakeholders to come up with a better rule before the end of 2016. Please reach out to your federal lawmakers today using our House and Senate action alerts!

We also have some new resources to help you better understand the impact of the WOTUS rule on your golf course and communicate your concerns about the rule. First, in advance of National Golf Day, our department hosted a 30 minute WOTUS maps webinar which shows you how to use EPA-USGS maps to see what waters at your property will come under federal jurisdiction. Second, the Waters Advocacy Coalition has developed a fresh set of WOTUS talking points, especially targeted toward conversations with Democrats. Many Congressional Democrats we met with on NGD told us they want EPA to finalize the rule and then they’ll weigh in to help if it is as bad as we and others say it is. These talking points address why it is important for Congress to act now rather than wait until the rule goes final.

Lawmaker Leave Behinds

Lawmaker leave behinds have been sent to all Ambassadors now. If you have not received anything in the mail, please contact the Government Relations department and we will get them to you. If you aren’t sure, each packet is supposed to contain a folder, WOTUS and H-2B Congressional one pagers, and a condensed version of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda. You should receive two leave behinds for your two touches with your Member of Congress. We are in the process of working with Golf 20/20 to provide you the four page Executive Summary of your state’s economic impact study too. I hope this helps you in your endeavors on meeting with your Member of Congress or his or her staff.

May Ambassador Training

The May Ambassador training event will be held on Wednesday, May 20, at 10:00 a.m. central. After our inaugural Advocacy Bootcamp, we heard that you are looking for more tips on how to make your initial contact with your Member of Congress. This session will cover best practices for scheduling your first meeting. We will use case studies from our Ambassadors that have had successful first meetings and then hear from our DC lobbyist the perspective of a Capitol Hill staffer as the recipient of the meeting requests. We will ensure that we have enough time to get as many questions answered as possible. This should be an interactive session, so come prepared to talk and have your questions ready.