2017 Accomplishments

Published the National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) in conjunction with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state animal health officials. The goals of the NEHP are to protect the health and welfare of the U.S. equine population, facilitate the continued interstate and international movement of horses and their products, ensure the availability of regulatory services, and protect the economic continuity of business in the equine industry.
• Ensured favorable tax provisions for the equine industry in the Tax Cuts and Jobs act of 2017 passed at the end of December: cutting corporate tax rates, reducing most individual tax rates, doubling the estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million, and a 20% deduction for “pass-through” entities such as partnerships, sole proprietorships and S corporations. Additionally, an increase in Bonus Depreciation from 50 percent to 100 percent for both new and used property acquired and put into service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023; and the Section 179 Deduction increased from $500,000 to $1 million for new and used property, and the phase-out threshold for the deduction has been increased from $2 million to $2.5 million.
• Working with other racing industry organizations, secured a change in the new IRS “Winnings” rule, which changed federal withholding and reporting requirements for pari-mutuel winnings.  The new rule arises from a notice of proposed rulemaking issued in late 2016, on which the equine industry submitted comments, laying the groundwork for the new regulatory flexibility.  The tax rules will effectively exempt large numbers of winnings from the federal definition for “amount of wager.”  The new threshold effectively exempts a large number of bets from triggering the imposition of a 20 percent withholding on winnings, thereby reflecting a consumer trend toward “exotic wagering pools” in modern betting.
• Collaborated with other members of the livestock industry to address the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate to request that the Department of Transportation (DOT) grant a one-year enforcement delay followed by a waiver and limited exemptions from compliance with the December 18, 2017 implementation date for the Final Rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Hours of Service (HOS). The AHC also published two brochures to clarify both the ELD and Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements.
• Continued to advocate for H2-B Visa cap relief by encouraging cap relief in the FY2018 Appropriations bill, as well as the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities (SEASON) Act (H.R. 2004) and the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792).
• Worked with members of Congress on the “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (RNR)” (S. 1633, H.R. 3400), legislation that expands the scope of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245), signed into law in late 2016.  While the RNR focuses on streamlined permitting to access public lands, the bill includes provisions that would authorize the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to promote the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.
• Advocating for an amendment within the FY2018 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill that would fund equine therapy for veterans
• Introduction of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in the House by Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR). The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses. The bill currently has more than 275 sponsors in the House.
• Promoting the Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention Program within the context of the 2018 Farm Bill.
• Promoting the Foot and Mouth Disease Prevention Program within the 2018 Farm Bill.
• In 2017, the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) sent out 315 alerts reporting on 404 total outbreaks/cases.
• Overall totals for the EDCC:
         o 694 alerts posted since April 2015
         o 897 outbreaks reported since April 2015
         o 3,447 addresses on the EDCC email alert subscription list
         o 4,590 following on Facebook
• Time to Ride hit a major milestone by successfully introducing over 120,000 new horse enthusiasts to the equine industry through over 1,500 hosts throughout the country.

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