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MAPPS Tracks State Capitals

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Friday, December 14, 2012

Members of MAPPS enjoy an extraordinary benefit that keeps them abreast of legislation in all 50 state legislatures that affect their business.

Since 1999, MAPPS has engaged the firm MultiState Associates, Inc. ( to monitor legislation in every State House. This early warning system provides private geospatial firms an ability to know about every bill introduced that could pose an opportunity or threat to their professional practice.

Using web-based technology and human intelligence in every state capitol, Multistate can identify any legislation with key words important to the MAPPS membership, such as mapping, surveying, photogrammetry, geospatial, geographic system, etc.

Once a bill has been introduced, a notice is sent to MAPPS staff, including a link to the text of the legislation and the key word. The MAPPS staff analyzes the legislation to determine its relevance to the membership. Notice of the bill’s introduction is often sent to key MAPPS member firm principals in that state. Additionally, bills are listed in Capitol Coverage, an electronic newsletter published twice a month, an exclusive benefit to MAPPS members that highlights the aforementioned state legislation, Federal legislation, procurement opportunities and relevant geospatial news.

Recently, the MAPPS-MultiState Program worked to perfection. A bill in the New Hampshire state House of Representatives was pre-filed for the 2013 session. While the text of the bill is not yet available, the short title was a warning bell, "prohibiting images of a person's residence to be taken from the air.” Upon being notified of this potentially harmful legislation, MAPPS staff contacted the bill’s sponsor. The state representative promptly responded, indicating the bill had not yet been drafted and that it was not intended to impact the legitimate business of aerial surveying, photogrammetry or remote sensing. Lines of communication between MAPPS and the state representative are now open and we are now in discussions on drafting a bill that accomplishes both our objectives.

In some cases, when MultiState informs MAPPS that a hearing on an important bill is scheduled, MAPPS staff will alert members in that state in an effort to deploy a firm principal to the capitol to testify. When a bill to include photogrammetry as the practice of land surveying, without a grandfather provision for experienced and qualified practicing photogrammetrists, was introduced in South Dakota several years ago, a principal of Horizons, Inc. (Rapid City, SD) was alerted, drove to the state capital of Pierre, and told lawmakers the bill would legislate him out of business. The bill was immediately amended to remove all references to photogrammetry. When a similar proposal was offered in South Carolina, MAPPS engaged Multistate to retain a lobbyist who was successful in immediately putting the brakes on the bill until an equitable grandfather provision could be added. Today, as a result of the MAPPS intervention, dozens of photogrammetrists are licensed to practice in South Carolina.

With the growth of state chapters in MAPPS, the Multistate system is an added arrow in the association’s quiver to keep members alert, aware and engaged in state level activities. Political intelligence is important to successful business, and MAPPS helps its members know how the landscape may be changing in their state.

In an economy where you are counting every dollar, it is good to know you can count on MAPPS.

Tags:  Aerial  Geospatial  Privacy  State Legislation  State License 

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