The Importance of Our SPARs
The State Policy Affairs Representative (SPAR) program is a comprehensive grassroots network that leads all advocacy efforts for industry state organizations in the states. This system involves NPMA’s public policy team working in unison with state-level member advocates to coordinate state-level policy efforts. Organizing pest professionals to influence the policy-making process is a deeply effective tool for ensuring officials consider the perspective of their constituents. This collaboration allows the industry to maximize resources and expertise and continues to drive success for our industry.
A SPAR’s role is to be both a policy leader and representative for the industry when facing legislative and regulatory challenges. SPARs stay plugged in on areas of interest by attending stakeholder meetings, engaging with legislative and regulatory leaders, and leveraging their network to gain and share information. SPARs also serve as the liaison between their state association’s board and NPMA. SPARs keep board members informed on state legislative and regulatory activity, provide updates on state-level legislative and regulatory activity, and work with their Board and NPMA to develop robust advocacy strategies.
Through NPMA’s and our SPARs’ close relationships with state lead agencies, we are optimistic that common sense will prevail, leading to sensible and fair regulations that protect our industry and our customers.
Eastern SPAR Highlight: The Connecticut SPAR, Anthony Giovanni, protected the state’s industry from two simultaneous bills that would ban two commonly used products by professionals: SGARs and neonics. Anthony organized messaging campaigns, attended each hearing to testify in opposition to the proposed legislation, and was able to secure an amendment that carved out industry use. Ultimately, these bills did not make it out of committee before the session adjourned. Anthony’s hard work delayed the process by opening more conversations, which was able to protect Connecticut’s members from overly burdensome legislation.
Western SPAR Highlight: Jim Steed, one of our two California SPARs, played a pivotal role in advocating and educating California stakeholders on our industry, the safe and effective uses of rodenticides in the state, and the importance of retaining access to vital pest management tools, like diphacinone. Jim advocated tirelessly throughout California’s nearly yearlong legislative session, attending meetings, testifying in committee, leading writing campaigns, and engaging with stakeholders across the nation. Jim’s efforts set a wonderful example of how SPARs can directly shape legislative and regulatory action in their states through practice, persistence, and patience.