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July, 26 2018
House Appropriators Score Win for Horse Industry, Advance H-2B Visa Cap Relief!
On July 25, the House Appropriations Committee convened a mark-up for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). By voice vote, the committee approved an amendment that exempts returning workers from the 66,000 statutory cap imposed on the H-2B guest worker visa program, providing much needed H-2B visa cap relief advocated by the horse industry and its allies. The amendment, offered by Congressional Horse Caucus Members Rep. Andy Harris, MD (R-MD) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), among others, applies to workers who have received guest worker visas during the previous two years. Additionally, the provision also establishes a visa allocation system that disburses work permits on a quarterly basis. Lawmakers believe that the quarterly system will create more flexibility for employers whose labor demands do not align with the semi-annual allocation system, whereby DHS awards permits on April 1 and October 1. The horse industry and its allies in the H-2B Coalition fight for a variety of flexibility measures, including a straight-forward increase in the visa cap, or generous exemptions from the statutory cap, such as those for returning workers.
Pointing to another flexibility measure, Rep. Harris (R-MD) released a statement explaining the importance of a provision that allocates visas on a “proportional” rather than a “winner take all” basis. Under this provision, DHS would award a portion of all timely, requested visas to all applicants, even in the event that “the higher limits authorized by [the] amendment are not enough to satisfy all the needs in a given year.” To view a copy of Rep. Harris’s statement, please click here: https://harris.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-appropriations-committee-approves-harris-language-repairing-h-2b-visa.
While the House spending bill advances the goal of effectively raising the H-2B visa cap, the Senate version of the bill doesn’t address the H-2B visa issue, setting up an item to be negotiated during a House and Senate conference. Although lawmakers intend to finalize their spending measures before the current FY ends on September 30, this is a deadline that Congress rarely meets. As in years past, Congress may pass a series of “continuing resolutions” to fund the federal government. AHC will keep you posted on developments related to the H-2B measure as the FY2019 appropriations process moves forward. To view a copy of the three-page amendment, please click here: https://www.horsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/HARRMD_037_xml-offered-2-1.pdf.
If you’d like more information related to the guest worker issue, including ongoing grassroots outreach from the horse industry, please contact Bryan Brendle at email@example.com or 202-296-4031.[post_title] => House Appropriators Score Win for Horse Industry, Advance H-2B Visa Cap Relief! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => advance-h-2b-visa-cap-relief [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-26 13:28:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-26 18:28:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/?post_type=washington-report&p=3683 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => washington-report [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3682 [post_author] => 2199 [post_date] => 2018-06-29 17:03:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-29 22:03:40 [post_content] => June 29th, 2018 Senate Acts Quickly to Move Farm Bill, Advances Some Animal Health Priorities Following through on a commitment to pass a farm bill prior to the Fourth of July recess, on Thursday evening, June 28, the Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042) by a vote of 86 to 11. Unlike the House version of the bill that narrowly passed by a two vote margin on June 21, the Senate bill moved forward with strong, bipartisan support. Fortunately for the horse industry, the Senate package resembles the House version by addressing many of the sector’s top animal health priorities. Highlights include authorization of a new National Animal Disaster Preparedness and Response (NADPR) program; support for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN); and creation of the National Animal Health Vaccine Bank that will focus on risks posed by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). With respect to authorization of animal health programs, a preliminary review shows that the Senate bill more closely aligns with horse industry priorities than the House bill. For example, the Senate bill authorizes $30 million each year to fund the NAHLN, matching the request from the horse industry and its partners. Although the bill doesn’t authorize specific dollar amounts for the NADPR and the vaccine banks, it creates flexibility by “authorizing sums as necessary” to implement the programs. AHC will continue to review the senate version of the bill for provisions that could impact the industry, including programs administered by the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service that could help develop international markets for the sector. Now that each chamber has reported its respective bill, Congress will convene a House and Senate Conference Committee to negotiate a final package to send to the White House for enactment. AHC is already reaching out to congressional negotiators to underscore the industry’s priorities as the legislation moves forward. For more information related to farm legislation and related advocacy, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at 202-296-4031. To view a copy of a summary of the bill, please click here: https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/2018-farm-bill [post_title] => Senate Acts Quickly to Move Farm Bill, Advances Some Animal Health Priorities [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => senate-acts-quickly-to-move-farm-bill-advances-some-animal-health-priorities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-08-21 02:07:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-21 07:07:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/?post_type=washington-report&p=3682 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => washington-report [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3984 [post_author] => 2955 [post_date] => 2018-10-24 14:52:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-24 19:52:00 [post_content] => AHC Announces Topic for 4th Quarter Webinar Webinar to focus on State Equine Liability Law The American Horse Council (AHC) will conduct its fourth quarter webinar for 2018 examining the legal landscape that characterizes diverse state equine liability laws. The hour-long session will feature two nationally recognized practitioners of equine law, Julie Fershtman, Esq. and Milton Toby, Esq. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 14, at 3:00 pm ET. According to the 2017 economic impact study analyzing the horse industry, more than 30% of U.S. households include equine enthusiasts among their ranks. Nearly two-thirds of this group – or more than 17% of U.S. households - includes individuals who are active participants in equine activities making them subject to liability waivers. The waivers can take the form of written contracts and/or signage placed on an equine property and may limit the rights and responsibilities of riders and property owners engaged in equine activities. Because equine liability law is a state matter, the $122 billion U.S. horse industry is subject to a patchwork of disparate laws and regulations that vary across jurisdictions. Ms. Fershtman and Mr. Toby will help us navigate the legal maze, identifying common threads that cross state lines, and analyze nation-wide legal trends impacting the equine sector. Julie Fersthman is a shareholder in the Michigan-based law firm of Foster Swift. Her law practice covers all equine breeds and disciplines and serves stables, industry professionals, associations, trainers, and show management. Highly experienced in handling a variety of disputes involving the equine sector, Ms. Fershtman has served as special out-of-state counsel on equine-related lawsuits in 18 jurisdictions across the country. Milton Toby is an attorney and award-winning author based in central Kentucky. For the last decade, he has taught courses in equine commercial law, regulatory law, and federal income tax for the equine industry program in the University of Louisville’s College of Business. A noted thoroughbred racing historian, Mr. Toby has written about high profile racing disqualification controversies and horse theft. The webinar is open to both AHC members and non-members—we encourage everyone to attend! The webinar lasts approximately one hour, and will allow for Q&A at the end of each speaker’s presentation. To register for the webinar, please contact Dennis Martinez at DMartinez@horsecouncil.org. We look forward to having you join us on November 14. [post_title] => AHC Announces Topic for 4th Quarter Webinar! 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