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  • October 19, 2023 2:19 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    The House State and Local Government Committee has held hearings reviewing the occupational licenses in the state.  The purpose is to determine if the state is "license happy" and burdening businesses.

    The committee continued its review with a hearing on September 20 where they heard testimony from several agencies and boards, including the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  ODA staff testified about a number of license/certifications the department administers, include the commercial applicator license.  On October 17, the committee took testimony from the public on these respective licenses and OhioPLANT submitted written testimony in support of the commercial applicator program.  You may read the testimony here.  

  • October 12, 2023 3:27 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    The Bexley City Council held a third reading of the proposed "Mosquito Contractor" ordinance at their October 10th meeting.  When the measure was called, the city attorney informed the council members that OhioPLANT's legal arguments, provided in testimony at a prior council meeting, were correct and that the ordinance was preempted by the state's pesticide law. 

    OhioPLANT's lobbyist, Tony Seegers, had testified at the September 26 council meeting that the Ohio Department of Agriculture has the sole authority to license and regulate commercial applicators under Chapter 921 of the Ohio Revised Code.  Under the law, local governments are explicitly prohibited from requiring commercial applicators to register with them.  The law also prohibits local governments from regulating the operations of commercial applicators in their jurisdiction. Additionally, the pesticide preemption language OhioPLANT successfully lobbied to become law last year also was cited in the testimony as new authority to prohibit such an ordinance.  (You can read about this new preemption statute, here.)

    After the city attorney informed the council that OhioPLANT's arguments were right, the council voted to withdraw the proposed ordinance and no longer consider the issue.

  • September 28, 2023 3:48 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    OhioPLANT, through its member the Ohio Pest Management Association, learned that the Bexley City Council was considering an ordinance that would have required commercial pesticide applicators conducting a treatment for mosquitoes to first be registered with the city before performing work.

    “Mosquito Control Contractor”, as used in the ordinance, would be defined as "any person or firm engaged in the lawful application of airborn pesticides intended for mosquito control."

    Additionally, the ordinance would require a "mosquito control contractor" to provide 24 hours (changed from 48) advance notice in writing to all adjacent property owners prior treating for mosquitoes at a property.  The written notice could be an email if the adjacent property owner agreed to email notification.  The ordinance also would have required the written notice to contain an estimate time of application, the chemicals being applied, the method of application, and any other information the "contractor" deemed relevant.

    OhioPLANT's lobbyist, Tony Seegers, testified at the September 26 Bexley City Council meeting for the second reading of the ordinance.  He explained that the proposed ordinance is preempted by state laws for commercial pesticide applicators and therefore would be invalid if passed.  OhioPLANT will continue to monitor the situation to see if the city council continues with the ordinance.

    You can read the testimony here.

  • January 20, 2023 3:03 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    Governor Mike DeWine appointed State Representative Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester) as the new Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture on Friday.

    Rep. Baldridge had just begun his third term in the House.  Prior to being elected as a state representative, he served four terms as Adams County Commissioner and two terms as a Wayne Township Trustee. 

    Mr. Baldridge operates his family's livestock and crop farm, Baldridge Farms, a seventh generation family farm.

    "Brian knows the industry and is passionate about promoting Ohio agriculture," Mr. DeWine said in a statement. "He also shares my vision for making needed improvements to the Ohio State Fairgrounds."

  • January 17, 2023 7:03 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    OhioPLANT successfully amended language into House Bill 507, sponsored by Rep. Kyle Koehler, that preempts local governments from banning or regulating the sale, purchase, storage, distribution, use, or application of a registered pesticide on private property and private property open to the public (golf courses). HB 507 was passed by the General Assembly in December and signed into law by Governor DeWine on January 6. It will take effect around April 6.

    The need for this amendment was brought to OhioPLANT’s attention by one of its members, Ryan DeMay, President of the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation, who informed OhioPLANT that an out of state environmental extremist group called Beyond Pesticide was lobbying a suburb of Columbus to ban pesticide on its property. Like many of these types of groups, Beyond Pesticide will lobby local governments to enact ordinances to carry out their agendas. In this case, Beyond Pesticide advocates that local governments adopt their model municipal resolution/ordinance to ban the use of pesticide on local government property, such as metro park ball fields or city buildings for example. However, it is their model resolution that, in addition to local government property, bans pesticide use on private property with an unworkable exception, along with the information from Ryan DeMay of their action in the Columbus suburb, that caused OhioPLANT to act. To protect its members and the public from being robbed of the use of pesticides, OhioPLANT drafted the preemption language and went to work in the summer.

    OhioPLANT developed the legislative strategy to move the preemption language and identified HB 507 to be the vehicle for the amendment. Rep. Koehler supported our idea and language and graciously gave the green light to amend his HB 507, which had passed the House and was in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. OhioPLANT’s lobbyist met with the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, securing support for the amendment and of Senator Bob Peterson to carry the amendment in committee. Ohio Turfgrass Foundation lobbyists also spoke with members of the House and Senate about the importance of this issue.

    The Senate Agriculture Committee amended the language into HB 507 and favorably voted the bill out on December 6 with the full Senate passing the bill the next day. After the House concurred with the changes to HB 507, it was sent to Governor DeWine. However, there were other amendments that had been added to the bill that caused doubt if Governor DeWine would sign the bill or possibly veto it. An oil and gas amendment had been added in committee and there was immense pressure from environmental groups, along with the press, to veto the bill. Groups also raised questions with the Governor’s office about the preemption language harming the environment and the Governor’s H2Ohio program.

    OhioPLANT addressed the water quality issue with two memos to the Governor explaining why this was not an issue. Most importantly, OhioPLANT’s lobbyist called the Governor and texted his personal cell to tell him how important the preemption language was to our industries and that a veto of HB 507 because of the oil and gas amendment would harm other groups like OhioPLANT who were counting on HB 507’s passage. OhioPLANT’s lobbyist spoke to the Governor in person at an event on January 3, again reiterating the need for the preemption language to head off groups like Beyond Pesticide. Thankfully, Governor DeWine signed the bill into law later that week.

    This is a major win for our members and demonstrates the importance of OhioPLANT and how members bringing issues to light can result in legislative success. OhioPLANT thanks Rep. Koehler, Senator (now Representative) Bob Peterson, Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Sen. Tim Schaffer, the members of the Senate and House who voted for HB 507, and Governor DeWine.

  • December 01, 2022 5:03 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    OhioPLANT held its first annual meeting under the new name of OhioPLANT and the first annual meeting since before the pandemic.

    Lonnie Alonso, former long term chair, was honored for his years of dedicated service leading the organization.  It was well deserved.  OhioPLANT Chairman, Don Sutton, talked about how OhioPLANT reorganized to its current structure and its bright future.

    Senator Bob Peterson spoke to the group about OhioPLANT's pesticide preemption legislation and gave some insight on what we could see from the new General Assembly.

    Dan Kenny, Chief of ODA's Division of Plant Health, and Kirk Hines, Chief of ODA's Division of Soil and Water, also presented.  Dan updated the attendees on the expanded federal rule for pesticide certification and training. 

    Kirk spoke about Governor DeWine's H2Ohio water quality program.

    Attendees also heard from a panel discussing statehouse issues.  The panel, Brandon Kern, Ohio Farm Bureau Senior Director of State and National Policy, Ann Aquillo, Owner of Ann Aquillo Consulting, and Tony Seegers, President of 1803 Consulting, LLC and lobbyist for OhioPLANT, talked about the election and what we can expect from the new General Assembly and Gov. DeWine's second term.

  • November 10, 2022 12:53 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    WHAT: OhioPLANT Annual Meeting

    WHEN: Thursday, November 17 from 10 am to 2 pm

    WHERE: Jefferson Country Club, 7271 Jefferson Meadows Drive Blacklick, Ohio 43004 


    10- 10:30 am

                Greetings and remarks from OhioPLANT Chairman, Don Sutton

    - Discussing the coalition that formed to make OhioPLANT;

    - Overview of the past year, where we are, and what the future looks     like.

    - Fiscal status

    10:30- 11:00 am

                State Senator Bob Peterson

    - Discussing the election, lame duck in the legislature, and what he                     sees for next year

    11:00- 11:30 am

                Dan Kenny, Chief of the ODA Division of Plant Health 

    - Discussing Ohio’s pesticide certification and training program, the     changing federal requirements and what changes are expected to                         Ohio’s program.

    11:30- 12:00 pm

                Tony Seegers, OhioPLANT lobbyist

                    - Legislative Update

    12:00- 12:15 pm

                Break/ Lunch begins

    12:15- 12:45 pm (lunch continues)

    Political panel discussion with:

     - Ann Aquillo, former Director of Government Affairs with Scotts, 

     - Brandon Kern, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of State and National   Affairs, 

     - Nick Blazer, Government Solutions Group and contract lobbyist for the   Ohio Soybean Association

    - Moderated by Tony Seegers

    12:45- 1:00 pm


    1:00- 1:30 pm

                Kirk Hines, Chief of the ODA Division of Soil and Water Conservation 

                     - Discussing the H2Ohio program

    1:30- 2:00 pm

    Member discussion

    - Industry updates from members, OhioPLANT membership drive, and                     the Green Industry Day at the statehouse in 2023.

  • November 10, 2022 12:50 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    2022 State of Ohio Election Results

    Ohio House and Senate

    It was a historic election night for statehouse Republicans as the party is set for the most favorable margins they have enjoyed in decades when the 135th General Assembly begins in January.

    In the House, the Republicans may have a 68-31 supermajority, a gain of four seats.  The word “may” is important as Republican Ronald Beach has a small lead over incumbent Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) in the 5th District.  One unexpected blow to House Democrats was the loss of Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), the No. 2 Democrat in the House to Republican Challenger Jim Thomas.

    The GOP in the Senate has a majority not seen since 1951 with the defeat of Democrat Sen. Tina Maharath of Canal Winchester by challenger Michele Reynolds.  The GOP is poised to start the new General Assembly at the beginning of the new year with a 26-7 majority.  

    Statewide Offices

    Gov. DeWine easily beat his Democrat opponent, Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, 63 percent to 37 percent.

    Attorney General Dave Yost, State Auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Treasurer Robert Sprague also won their reelection bids.

    Ohio Supreme Court

    Justice Sharon Kennedy won her election against her Democrat opponent to take over the Chief Justice seat from the retiring Chief Justice, Maureen O’Connor.

    Republican Justices Pat Fisher and Pat DeWine, son of Gov. DeWine, both won reelection to their seats.

    This was the first Supreme Court election where the candidates for justice had their party designation next to their names on the ballot.

    State Issues

    Issue 1, a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that requires judges to consider public safety when setting monetary bail, was approved by voters.  Issue 2, the second proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution on the ballot was also approved by voters.  It bars local governments from enabling non-citizens to vote in local elections.

    U.S. Senate

    Republican JD Vance won his bid over Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman.

    U.S. House

    Democrats picked up a House seat with Democrat Greg Landsman beating incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati).

    Current State Representative Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) won her bid to fill the seat left open by Tim Ryan’s U.S. Senate bid.

    Here are the results in the other U.S. House races:

    • 2nd District: U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) defeated Democrat Samantha Meadows.
    • 3rd District: U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Blacklick) defeated Republican Lee Stahley.
    • 4th District: U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) defeated Democrat Tamie Wilson.
    • 5th District: U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) defeated Democrat Craig Swartz.
    • 6th District: U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) defeated Democrat Lou Lyras.
    • 7th District: Republican Max Miller defeated Democrat Matthew Diemer for the seat currently held by the retiring U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ashland).
    • 8th District: U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) defeated Democrat Vanessa Enoch.
    • 10th District: U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (R-Dayton) defeated Democrat David Esrati.
    • 11th District: U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Cleveland) defeated Republican Eric Brewer.
    • 12th District: U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) defeated Amy Rippel-Elton.
    • 14th District: U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-Chagrin Falls) defeated Democrat Matt Kilboy.
    • 15th District: U.S. Rep. Mike Carey (R-Columbus) defeated Democrat Gary Josephson.
  • September 26, 2022 2:09 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    The OPARR Board voted at their September 23 board meeting to change the name of the organization to, “Ohio PLANT" with the tagline "The Coalition of Pesticide, Landscape, Agriculture, Nursery, and Turf Professionals”.  The idea for a name change has been discussed over the last few years to reflect a growing membership of partners representing nurseries, landscape and lawn care, and golf courses.  It was not an easy task to agree on a name that stayed true to OPARR’s original and continued core mission to represent pesticide and fertilizer applicators while respecting the new industry associations that joined over the last couple of years.

    After much debate, the board believes the new name will reflect the growth of the organization while continuing its original mission.  A larger voice carries more weight at the statehouse and Ohio PLANT will remain your advocate.

    A new logo and website will be forthcoming.

  • January 05, 2022 4:08 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)
    • NOTE: This article is not presenting a position on the use of vaccines or vaccine mandates.


      After several weeks of discussion, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) finally released its 490 page emergency rule (or Emergency Temporary Standards “ETS”) mandating all employers with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing (at the employers’ expense).  This was one of several vaccine mandates rolled out by the Biden Administration, with the others being for healthcare workers and federal contractors. 

      OSHA’s proposed rule purportedly left the door open to apply the mandate to all employers at a later date.  However, the rule was stopped before it went into effect.  Employers and states filed lawsuits across the country against OSHA’s rule and on Nov. 12 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying the rule’s enforcement.  As a result of this ruling, OSHA suspended “activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS [the emergency rule] pending future developments in the litigation.”

      Because of the multitude of lawsuits in the federal district courts across the country, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation conducted a lottery to determine which of the thirteen circuit courts would hear the consolidated cases, picking our very own U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the Sixth Circuit covers Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee).  All the challenges to the OSHA ETS were consolidated and heard before a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.  Unfortunately, on December 17 the Sixth Circuit dissolved the stay put in place by the Fifth Circuit allowing the OSHA mandate to proceed.

      Immediately after the decision, two hours in fact, a broad coalition of 26 trade groups filed the first of several emergency appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting a stay pending the Court’s review.  In turn, OSHA granted employers extra time to comply with the requirements- January 10 to develop compliant procedures and February 9 to begin testing.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Friday, January 7 along with another appeal of COVID vaccine requirements for healthcare workers.  You can listen to the oral arguments before the Court on January 7, here.

      Ohio Vaccine Mandate Update

      The Ohio House of Representatives was considering legislation to do the opposite of the OSHA proposal.  House Bill 435 was introduced to prohibit employers from requiring a vaccine.  It also prohibited the use of vaccine passports to deny entrance into a business or a building owned by the state or local government or service from a business or state or local government.  The bill failed to garner support and stalled in committee in mid October.

      However, HB 435 has been reincarnated in a new bill, HB 218.  Originally drafted to temporarily extend bar hours and exempt bars from a statewide curfew, that language was replaced with nearly identical language from HB 435 in the House Commerce and Labor Committee on Nov. 18 and passed by the committee and the House that same day.  It currently is being heard in the Senate General Government Budget Committee.  The bill has been roundly opposed by many business trade associations as an infringement on employers’ internal management and operations.  Others have said the bill does not go far enough to prohibit vaccine mandates in the workplace.

      For employers, HB 218 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee receive a vaccine, drug, biological product, or a form of genetic immunotherapy that utilizes “messenger ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, or any other genetic vaccine technology and for which the United States food and drug administration has not issued a biologics license or otherwise granted full approval”.  So far, only Pfizer’s vaccine has been issued a biologics license and under the bill, can be required by employers.  For purposes of the bill, an emergency use authorization by the FDA (what all the COVID vaccines originally were authorized under) is not a biologics license nor full authorization by the FDA. 

      Under the bill, if an employer requires a COVID-19 vaccination that has been issued a biologic license, like the Pfizer vaccine, the employee may satisfy the employer’s vaccination requirement by either taking the vaccine or taking a COVID-19 vaccine available under an emergency use authorization.

      HB 218, like HB 435, provides employees the ability to seek an exemption from the vaccine for:

    • ·      Medical contraindications; 

    • ·      Natural immunity;

    • ·      Reasons of conscience, including religious convictions.

    The bill also creates a cause of action for unlawful discriminatory employment practice if the employer violates the provisions of the bill summarized above.



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