Whatever your feelings may be regarding the role government should play in our lives, there’s no disputing the fact that the pool and spa industry is facing more and more oversight on all levels — local, state and federal.

Some of this regulation has been a step in the right direction (California’s sting operations to catch unlicensed contractors) while in other instances the effect has been harmful (Florida’s much-vaunted solar rebate program running out of money). But at the end of the day, most recent legislation has had mixed results. For example, while VGB was filled with sinkholes and sandpits, it also made a number of pools safer and provided a great deal of work for the pool industry during a down economy.

So I wasn’t too surprised to notice that most of the news stories in this issue are related to regulation of one sort or another.

The cover story concerns a push toward national energy-efficiency standards for appliances and other products, including hot tubs. This would help spa manufacturers, especially larger ones, who would no longer need to reinvent the wheel every time they sell units in states with different requirements.

Energy takes the second spot on our cover as well in a story regarding Arizona’s recently passed efficiency standard. Similar to California’s Title 20, the new requirements affect pool pumps and spas. On a personal level, I agree with one of the people quoted in the story who said that the standard is problematic because it lacks enforcement. If I were a homeowner short on cash, and my service tech said I had to replace my broken single-speed pump with a more expensive multispeed, I could see myself seriously trying to talk him out of it. However, even with those issues, it’s good to see Arizona — a major pool market — helping our industry to be greener.

Finally, we have a story regarding the continuing SVRS drama in Connecticut. The question of whether to require the devices on all new pools, regardless of plumbing schematic, has been a contentious one, with both sides of the argument unwilling to back down. Currently, the issue sits in the state Superior Court. (While I love following the judicial system, especially Supreme Court cases, I have to say that in this instance, I think it’s depressing that this is what’s needed to find a resolution.)

Anyway, the reason I’m going on about these stories is to stress how important it is to follow legislation affecting the industry. These regulations can greatly impact every pool and spa product, process and business nationwide. Being aware of what’s on the horizon, and voicing your opinion to lawmakers, is a crucial investment in our future.