From: Sherry Loudermilk []
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 12:17 PM
Subject: URGENT - Contact your Senator about HB 1281

NOTE: This is the bill about not allowing local governments
to over-ride State water restrictions - TC

"HB 1281" will retain the same name/number as it moves through the Senate, so please begin your phone, fax, email and in person contacts with your Senators today! 

These personal communications REALLY matter - please act now!

Personalize or use the attached letter as a guide to contact your Senators today.

House Bill 1281 has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. Contacts with members of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee by their constituents are especially important.  If you live or your business is located in the District of any of these members, please contact them immediately. 

The Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee (District Counties listed):

·Senator John Bulloch (Chairman) (404) 656-0040: Counties -- Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchel (Pt.), Seminole, Thomas (Pt.)


·Senator Ralph Hudgens (404) 656-4700: Counties -- Barrow, Clarke (Pt.), Elbert (Pt.), Jackson (Pt.), Madison, Oglethorpe

·Senator Lee Hawkins (404) 656-6578: Counties -- Hall, Jackson (Pt.)

·Senator Greg Goggins (404) 463-5263: Counties -- Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Clinch, Coffee, Cook (Pt.), Echols, Lanier, Pierce, Ware


·Senator Bill Heath (404) 651-7738: Counties -- Bartow (Pt.), Haralson, Paulding (Pt.), Polk

·Senator Nan Orrock (404) 463-8054: County -- Fulton (Pt.)


·Senator J.B. Powell (404) 463-1314:  Counties -- Burke, Emanuel (Pt.), Jefferson, Jenkins, Richmond (Pt.), Screven, Washington, Wilkinson


·Senator Ed Tarver (404) 656-0340:  County -- Richmond (Pt.)  


For contact information for these Senators:

Below is a Letter to personalize and send to Senate Ag Committee:

Georgia's Urban Agriculture Industry respectfully requests your support of HB 1281, which would provide a mechanism for permitted water providers to either relax state imposed restrictions or to become more restrictive than state provisions upon approval from Georgia EPD, the State's water permitting authority.   


The ability for local government to further restrict State mandated outdoor water use rules without EPD approval has been detrimental to the economy and especially harmful to the urban agriculture industry, which includes landscapers, retail garden centers and nurseries. Since the summer of 2007, local government decisions to further restrict or completely remove the ability for landscape related businesses and their customers to use water has resulted in the losses of over 35,000 jobs and $3 billion to the urban agriculture industry. 


Time and time again, local water providers took action on industries that utilize outdoor water uses for their businesses, tightening restrictions without industry input into the economic consequences of such actions. This legislation is needed to bring fairness and balance to establishing local water restrictions.


Imagine being the owner of a landscape company who works in 10 different counties that includes over 35 municipalities.  With 61 separate water providers in metro-Atlanta alone, it is virtually impossible to keep up with changes in the rules - particularly since most localities do not have the information readily available for industry access or even provide for industry input in the decision making process.


While growers and farmers may still be able to produce plant materials, the inability for consumers to utilize outdoor water - even minimally - has crushed their interest in purchasing plants or installing landscapes.  The continued unchecked actions by local government to change watering rules will further erode consumer incentive to purchase plants or initiate landscape installation contracts.


We recognize the seriousness of the drought and that local governments must ensure that their citizens have water for drinking, public health and safety.  We can be a partner in that effort. This bill maintains local government authority to initiate action while protecting the interests of businesses that rely on our water resources. Having the State EPD involved in the decision making process just makes sense. 


The spring planting season will be upon us in a few short weeks, we need help and we need it now. This legislation provides the right mechanism for good decision making. I ask for your support of HB 1281.