Press Releases
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May 6, 2019

AHC WASHINGTON UPDATE

Copyright © 2019 American Horse Council
Permission to pass on the AHC Washington Update to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.


The American Horse Council is a non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC that works daily to advocate for the social, economic, and legislative interests of the United States equine industry.

Feds Plan to Accept Petitions for 30,000 “Supplemental” H-2B Visas Beginning Wednesday, May 8

The American Horse Council (AHC) has received advance notice of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) planned, formal announcement on May 8 to issue 30,000 “surplus” H-2B visas for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.  As you recall, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 passed in mid-February authorized federal regulators to effectively double the number of H-2B visas awarded during a given year, which immigration statutes currently cap at 66,000.  In late March, DHS released a notice announcing its intent to release 30,000 H-2B visas above the statutory cap, subject to conditions to be included in an upcoming rule from the agency.  Finally, on Wednesday, May 8, DHS is expected to formally publish its final rule in the Federal Register.  Please see a copy of the below notice distributed to select congressional offices outlining the agency’s next steps: 
  
Starting on the expected date of May 8, 2019, eligible petitioners seeking additional H-2B workers can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-3 with their petition. Details on eligibility and filing requirements are available in the final rule and on the Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2019 at USCIS.govNote that the rule is expected to be published and effective on May 8, 2019. USCIS will begin accepting petitions after the rule is published.
Below is an excerpt from a formal announcement expected from DHS and the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding the work permits.  Please note that the supplemental visas are restricted to returning workers:

Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor will publish a joint rule making available an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for Fiscal Year 2019. These supplemental H-2B visas are available only to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2016, 2017, or 2018), and availability is restricted by prioritizing only those businesses who would suffer irreparable harm without the additional workers.

DHS then pivots to their ongoing pitch to congress to address worker shortage issues through more comprehensive immigration reform:

The DHS continues to urge lawmakers to pursue a long-term legislative fix that both meets employers’ temporary needs while fulfilling the president’s Buy American and Hire American executive order to spur higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers …. The truth is that Congress is in the best position to establish the appropriate number of H-2B visas that American businesses should be allocated without harming U.S. workers. Therefore, Congress – not DHS – should be responsible for determining whether the annual numerical limitations for H-2B workers set by Congress need to be modified and by how much, and for setting parameters to ensure that enough workers are available to meet employers’ temporary needs throughout the year.

To view a “pre-publication” version of the final rule, please see the following link:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-09500.pdf.  As details unfold related to practical considerations emerging from the final rule, AHC will share information that members might find helpful in moving forward with supplemental work permit petitions. 

As a reminder, AHC will be conducting a panel discussion featuring congressional leaders on labor issues on Tuesday, June 11, in Washington, D.C., as part of the association’s annual meeting.   To learn more about guest worker visas and broader immigration policy developments, please contact AHC’s Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

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May 3, 2019

AHC WASHINGTON UPDATE

Copyright © 2019 American Horse Council
Permission to pass on the AHC Washington Update to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.


The American Horse Council is a non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC that works daily to advocate for the social, economic, and legislative interests of the United States equine industry.

AHC Applauds Congressional Attention to Equine Transportation Concerns

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Representative Greg Pence (R-IN) re-introduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act of 2019 (H.R. 2460).This important bill which directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a working group that will examine Hours of Service (HOS) regulations and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations and identify obstacles to the safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of livestock and other perishable agricultural commodities.
 
The American Horse Council (AHC) has worked closely with the DOT since 2017 to provide clarity and specificity on the applicability of ELD regulations for the benefit of law enforcement and horse owners alike. Those efforts are continuing to with the goal to achieve permanent exemptions from mandatory ELD regulations, for the sake of horse health and welfare. Information on these efforts can be found at https://www.horsecouncil.org/resources/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/ .
 
“Horses can be neither transported nor regulated like more traditional, non-perishable goods,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “This working group is important to resolve the current issues facing the industry, as well as preventing controversial regulatory action in the future.”
 
Also this week, the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (TLAAS) was brought forward by co-sponsors Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Jon Tester (D-MT). This follows the January introduction of TLAAS (H.R. 487) in the House by Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL).  Both bills would require that DOT:

  • Provides that HOS and ELD requirements are inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 300-air miles from their source. Drive time for HOS purposes does not start until after the 300-air mile threshold. 

  • Exempts loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time.

  • Extends the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time.

  • Grants flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting against HOS time.

  • Allows drivers to complete their trip – regardless of HOS requirements – if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point.

  • Ensures that, after drivers completes their delivery and the truck is unloaded, the driver will take a break for a period that is five hours less than the maximum on-duty time (10 hours if a 15-hour drive time).

    Please contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org for more information.

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What Rescue Groups and Pet Adopters Need to Know Before Moving Pets from an Out-of-state Disaster to Wisconsin


Release Date: September 19, 2018
Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

Click on the link below to view this news release from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

DATCP NEWS RELEASE (PDF)

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JANUARY 13, 2017

AHC Washington Update

USDA Announces Final Horse Protection Act Rule

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced final regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The HPA was passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” horses that was occurring in some sectors of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industry.

Please click on the link below to read the entire article on the AHC's website.

USDA Announces Final Horse Protection Act Rule

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NOVEMBER 17, 2016

AHC WASHINGTON UPDATE
Copyright © 2016 American Horse Council

Permission to pass on the AHC Washington Update to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.


Congress Passes National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act 

Today, the Senate passed the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (H.R.845 S.1110). This follows House passage of the bill earlier this fall.  The bill, introduced by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many National Forests, including equestrians. 
The American Horse Council, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Wilderness Society were significantly involved in the creation and passage of this bill.

The AHC is pleased Congress has approved this important legislation.  The AHC would like to thank Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) for their leadership and work to pass this bill.

The bill directs the Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails.  It will also provide outfitters and guides the ability to perform trail maintenance activities in lieu of permit fees.   Additionally, the bill will address a liability issue that has discouraged some national forests from utilizing volunteers and partner organizations to help perform trail maintenance and will direct the Forest Service to identify and prioritize specific areas with the greatest need for trail maintenance in the national forest system.

In the current fiscal environment it is unlikely Congress will appropriate additional funds to directly address the trail maintenance backlog. This bill will help improve trail maintenance without the need for additional funding. 

The President is expected to sign the bill into law in the near future.

View Article on AHC Website

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Recreational Trail Aids (RTA) Program

This is a federal program administered in all states. Municipal governments and incorporated organizations are eligible to receive reimbursement for development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses.

Legal Transportation of Horses Across State Lines

WHC would like to share this important information with you courtesy of TheHorse.com. Please click here to access this excellent article.

Attention All WHC Members

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Great News for WHC Members!

Did you know that if you are a member of the Wisconsin Horse Council (WHC), you are also eligible for the American Horse Council's (AHC) Advantage Plan?


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