La Niña is going strong, and powder season is upon us. The OIA government affairs team is hard at work prepping to monitor legislative sessions across all 50 states and the federal government. Our work in government affairs allows us to make sure that OIA members have a seat at the table amidst important policy decisions and resource allocation happening in every state. Our job is to amplify your voices, promote our shared values, and ensure that our elected officials are making decisions that prioritize the health of the industry, outdoorists, and the environment. In 2023, I will be keeping a close watch and weighing in on state-level legislation diminishing barriers to the outdoors, staying apprised of important sustainability policies that will impact our industry, leading the movement to create more outdoor recreation offices, and encouraging lawmakers and governors to make long-term investments in recreation and the planet. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or want to learn more! Rebecca Gillis State & Local Government Affairs Manager
Policy HighlightsMassachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation In early December, former Governor Charlie Baker’s (R-MA) Administration announced the establishment of the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation, which will be located in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretariat. This marks the creation of the nation’s 18th office of outdoor recreation. The new Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation could be a powerful catalyst in unlocking further economic power of the industry across the state. Our next step is to stay in contact with recently-inaugurated Governor Maura Healey (D-MA) to communicate the importance of outdoor recreation offices. We will also encourage her to name a full-time, fully staffed director to take the helm of the newly created office. PFAS legislation continues into 2023 In October, OIA worked with members and technical experts to provide an education session with timely and pivotal updates on legislation and regulatory efforts across the country pertaining to PFAS. Many of these pieces of legislation are having and will continue to have sizable impacts on the outdoor industry. The education session had high attendance and provided timely information for members. The ongoing interest and passage of legislation around PFAS across the states is not expected to slow down in 2023. The sustainability and government affairs teams at OIA are working hand-in hand to ensure that our members have access to up-to-date education about the legislative and regulatory landscape. Most recently, we supported Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) in ensuring that impacted members of both MOB and OIA have extensions for onerous PFAS reporting requirements in this coming year as the state continues to work through clarifying regulations and finalizing rulemaking. If you have questions about PFAS or how OIA can help you better understand how PFAS regulations will impact your business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trail Mix – More Updates, Resources, and OpportunitiesOIA to seize opportunity to engage with new governors The United States will see nine new governors take office in 2023. Many of these states are homes to outdoor recreation offices, outdoor business alliances, or both. In partnership with individual state-level stakeholders, OIA will send each new governor a letter after their inauguration highlighting the impact of the outdoor recreation economy in their home state. Governors and executive branches are important partners at the state level. Not only do governors sign state-based legislation into law, but they also make important decisions via executive orders, budget priorities, and through setting cabinet agendas. Governor turnover will occur in 2023 in Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Arizona, and Nebraska. Stay tuned for opportunities to engage with these newly elected administrations in partnership with OIA’s government affairs team. Midterms The government affairs team at OIA hosted an education session on major takeaways from the midterms in early November. The session highlighted major policy issues and opportunities at both the state and federal levels that our team will be focusing on in 2023. The post-midterms webinar provided OIA the opportunity to chat about outdoor policy in 2023. Here are a few highlights from the state level:
- In 2023, there will be a sizable number of newly elected legislators across the U.S., which means that the outdoor industry has an opportunity to develop new allies across statehouses throughout the country.
- A major state-level opportunity for 2023 and the following years will be advocating for funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These historic federal spending bills will have an enormous amount of funding available to states for many things that we care about, including outdoor recreation infrastructure, climate mitigation measures, environmental justice, and grants and incentives for decarbonization across the American economy. The more investment we can secure, the more leverage we will continue to have to build stronger and sustainable recreation-based communities and ensure that the industry can flourish for decades to come.
- Other areas of focus for state policy will include a continued focus on establishing fully funded and sustainable offices of outdoor recreation and a push to create state-based outdoor equity funds across the nation.