The California Spa & Pool Industry Education Council (SPEC), kicked off its 2009-2010 membership campaign last week at the Pool Industry Expo in Monterey, Calif. The SHARK Campaign, described so because of its hard-hitting message, “Bad Laws are Like a Shark in Your Pool or Spa,” reminds industry members that it takes just one bad law to harm an entire industry.

The goal of this year’s campaign is to double membership to combat a number of legislative measures now on the table in California that could have a potentially detrimental affect on the aquatics industry.

Water and the ongoing drought will be one crucial issue, noted John Norwood, president and CEO of SPEC. “Water has been the major topic of debate this year in the legislature. Local entities are under a mandate to adopt water conservation initiatives that meet or exceed state standards …” he said. “Unfortunately, the definition of water feature in this mandate includes pools and spas. Resolving this issue will be the chief focus of SPEC in the next legislative session. Without oversight of the California Legislature, detrimental laws can be passed and you wouldn’t know it until it’s too late — it is easier to stop them than to change them once they are law.”

Another issue is the state’s plan to deal with budget deficits. “The California Legislature is poised to find new sources of revenue for the bankrupt state,”stated Mike Geremia, chairman of SPEC Board of Governors and president of Geremia Pools in Sacramento. “Without the advocacy action of SPEC, this can result in significant increases in the cost of doing business. Furthermore, with added, burdensome regulations, the industry could become severely crippled.”

According to SPEC, to continue its successful representation of the pool and spa industry in California, membership must include companies that specialize in pool and spa retailing, service, renovation, building, aquatic facilities and other commercial pool operations, in every California legislative district. Additionally, equipment manufacturers and distributors from across the country are needed.

“The first line of defense to stop bad legislation or regulation starts here in California. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in California does not stop here, but is picked up by legislators and regulators across the country,” contends Norwood. “The Shark stops here,” he says, in reference to the campaign message.