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Category: Legislation & Regulation

2018 MHC Legislative Wrap-Up

(First appeared in the June 2018 issue of The Equiery) What do you get when you take 90 days + 47 Senators + 141 Delegates + 3,101 Bills?  You get the 2018 Maryland legislative session! The Maryland General Assembly convened on Wed. Jan. 10 and adjourned on Monday, April 9 – three months of nail biting high drama! It is not easy to pass legislation, and barely 28% of this year’s bills made it through the process; the system is intentionally deliberative – and that is a good thing, as it helps to avert capriciously enacted laws. To read more about the outcome of the session, click...

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ELD Mandate Ag Exemption Extended

Breaking News! U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an additional 90-day extension of the agriculture exemption from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate that affects the transportation of livestock, including horses. To read more about the original mandate, click here for the January 2018 Equiery story: http://equiery.com/holiday-gift-dot-waives-mandate-livestock-haulers-90-days/ Below is the most recent statement from the USDA, posted on March 13, 2018. (USDA – Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for her announcement of an additional 90-day extension of the agriculture exemption from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Agricultural compliance with the mandate would have been problematic for the agriculture industry because the devices do not accurately account for the agricultural exemptions currently provided in the law. The ELD rule went into effect in December 2017, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) granting the agriculture industry an initial exemption that was set to expire on March 18, 2018. With the granting of another extension, the agriculture industry will now have additional time to comply. Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement: “The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities. If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at...

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Holiday Gift: DOT Waives Mandate for Livestock Haulers for 90 Days

The livestock industry (including which includes us!) was relieved to learn that, on Nov. 27, the United States Department of Transportation granted a 90-day waiver from the requirement that to install electronic logging devices in vehicles. The waiver was a welcome holiday gift, as the mandate was supposed to begin on Dec. 18. Between now and March 18, DOT intends to look closely at agriculture’s request for an exemption while developing additional guidance for agricultural and livestock haulers. The waiver was granted in response to a petition last September from the American Farm Bureau, the American Horse Council and several other livestock organizations. In their request, the groups explained their two biggest concerns about the requirement: livestock haulers’ readiness to comply and the effect on the transported animals’ well-being. Drivers who have to use ELDs would be limited to current hours of service rules, which restrict a driver to only 14 “on duty” hours, with no more than 11 active driving hours. Once a driver hits those maximum hour allotments, he must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours, which would be problematic when transporting livestock and other live animals. The petition referenced livestock haulers’ strong commitment to and track record of ensuring the safety of both the animals they’re transporting and the drivers they share the road with.  In addition, livestock haulers often receive specialized training beyond that...

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News from Capitol Hill

Federal Funding for Equine Therapy? This summer, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act” (H.R. 3219) offered by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), a bill that will increase equine therapy funding for veterans by $5 million during FY2018. However, before the equine therapy provision becomes law, House and Senate lawmakers must convene a “conference” to negotiate final legislation for a vote in both chambers, and present the bill to the President for his signature. Your Help Needed To Keep Guest Worker Program The American Horse Council is urging horse people to advocate...

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URGENT: Harvey, Horses & The AHC Survey

Hurricane Harvey…there are horses drowning…why the heck should we care about filling out yet another survey? Because. Because the horrific footage of Harvey’s biblical flooding and the ongoing rescue efforts of people and animals reminds us that the government, run by and for the people, runs on data – NEEDS data in order to assist, help, provide, DO. In order to gather data, citizens – horse owners – need to engage. It is incumbent upon us, as citizens, to participate in data-gathering projects, such as the American Horse Council’s survey. And the participation of Maryland horse people this year...

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2017 Legislative Wrap Up: What Maryland horsepeople need to know

by Jane Seigler, president of the Maryland Horse Council The 2017 Maryland Legislative session has ended. During the 3 month session, 1,200 bills were introduced in the Senate, and 1,661 in the House, for a total of almost 3,000 bills. Each week during session, MHC legislative committee member Kim Egan Rutter scanned all bills introduced that week, flagging those of interest to the horse industry and the broader equestrian community. During our weekly conference call, we evaluated these new bills, discussed and arrived at our position, and determined our lobbying strategy. During the course of the session, the MHC...

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