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Pennsylvania may end tax on lawn care

A bill introduced by Pennsylvania state Rep. Larry Curry (D-Montgomery) would remove the Pennsylvania state sales tax from lawn-care services. The bill passed the state House on June 7. As of this writing, the Senate version awaits further action.

Curry noted that his bill would eliminate unfairness resulting from youths, and others not in compliance with the law, not charging sales tax for cutting grass and trimming shrubbery.

Pesticide school bill compromise

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Stakeholders recently agreed on federal school-pesticide legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.). The measure is attached as an amendment to the Better Education for Students and Teachers Act, and represents a compromise between anti-pesticide groups and green-industry organizations.

The amendment would require states to develop school pest-management plans, which school districts would be required to implement. Under the Torricelli amendment, state plans would, at the least, prohibit the application of pesticides in any room that is occupied. They also would prohibit applications within 24 hours of the treated area being used by students and staff.

The amendment also forces schools to post signs notifying that pesticide applications have occurred and to notify parents of the school pest-management plan and that parents have the right to notification prior to pesticide applications.

At this writing, the bill was bound for a House/Senate conference committee to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions.

Gasoline prices — finally some good news

The Energy Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, reports that gasoline prices are coming down as expected this summer due mainly to increasing inventories. Gasoline “islands” of higher prices may remain in cities or regions where special formulations are required. However, prices generally should remain stable or lower through the summer, reducing the price shock felt by all during the past year.

OPEDA and ESA merge

On June 1, 2001, the Outdoor Power Equipment Distributors Association (OPEDA) and the Engine Service Association (ESA) merged to form the Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association (OPEESA). This action was taken by vote of OPEDA and ESA members to combine the key distributors of equipment and engines into one association. The first meeting of OPEESA will take place at the International Lawn, Garden, and Power Equipment Expo in Louisville, Ky., this July.

PPEMA to cease operations

The Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association (PPEMA) has voted to cease operations as of Dec. 31, 2001. PPEMA has been operating for 45 years, originally as the Power Saw Manufacturers Association. The name was changed in 1982 to better reflect the organization's growing scope. Overlap with the mission of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, in addition to growing emission-compliance costs for manufacturers, were cited as primary reasons for the decision to disband PPEMA.

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