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Category: Legislation & Regulation

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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Racing Rocked Annapolis

By Tom LaMarra (originally published on tharacing.com, the official website for the national Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association). The Maryland racing industry’s efforts to educate lawmakers and present a unified front paid off during the 2017 General Assembly session that ended April 10. The Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act contained several provisions that, had they passed, would have shifted money from the Purse Dedication Account, which is funded by a percentage of video lottery terminal revenue at the state’s six casinos. On the table was a recommendation for the industry, not the state, to pay about $2.5 million for Maryland Racing...

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The 2017 Maryland Legislative Session enters final phase

Yesterday, March 20, 2017, the first official day of spring, was – in the Maryland legislature – also “Crossover Date.” Crossover date is a big deal! For a bill to pass and become law, it must be approved by both chambers. If a bill fails to “cross over,” it is most probably dead for this session. Please note the equivocation on that: “most probably.” As with every rule, there is an exception: a bill could still be resurrected via “Rules.” But for a bill sponsor to do that, he or she is using up a chit, so they will...

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