By Bill Stapleton, Choice Car Wash, NECA Intern Liaison
In 2008, the Mass DEP proposed a bill that would have had dire financial consequences for car wash owners in Massachusetts, potentially putting many out of business, or causing extreme undue hardships. The New England Carwash Association (NECA) was never directly informed of the contents of this bill or the drastic impact it would have on the industry in Massachusetts and potentially, in neighboring states. Fortunately, then- President Paul Vercollone learned of the bill when searching the web, just in time to alert NECA’s Board.
Upon receiving and reviewing the proposed bill, NECA hired a lobbyist to assist us in delaying and amending the proposed regulations. They were able to secure an extension for further public comment. Using the lobbyist as a conduit, the NECA was able to work closely with DEP to help make the new law more reasonable for the professional car wash industry.
This situation reinforced the need for us to be more proactive in the future, and not be caught off guard. As a result, NECA felt that it would benefit its members to create a legislative monitoring program. It was clear that using the lobbying firm’s monitoring services would have been prohibitively expensive, but we needed regular on-line monitoring. Our solution was to hire an intern to work in concert with grassroots initiatives by members.
To keep us informed about the legislative actions of all of the states represented by NECA (MA, NH, RI, VT, ME), we are enlisting the assistance of members from each of the five states. They, along with our Board of Directors, will provide information and identify possible concerns on local and state legislation to our newly hired Legislative/Regulatory Monitor. The Intern has already begun regularly screening the websites of the five states, DEP and EPA. He will report any significant findings or concerns to the NECA Committee. This will allow us actively address state legislative proposals, and report items of concern to our members for their local action, as well as help the Board make decisions on whether professional lobbying assistance is needed.
For more information, to contact the committee or to get involved, please contact Bill Stapleton at 508-641-7614.