Legislation - State and Federal


* Click HERE to find out who your current Legislators are.

* Horses Have Road Rights Pamphlet - WI State Statutes (PDF)

* WHC 2017 Economic Impact Study Results Brochure for Wisconsin (PDF)

* AHC National Results - 2017 Economic Impact Study (PDF Infographic)

* AHC Wisconsin Results - 2017 Economic Impact Study (PDF Infographic)


Previous Study Results:

Wisconsin Equine Economic Impact Study Results Brochure 2008 (PDF)

Complete Wisconsin Equine Economic Impact Study Results 2008 (PDF)




AHC Washington Update...

January 10, 2020

Congress Includes Horse Industry Priorities in Massive
FY2020 Spending Bill

While controversy surrounding impeachment proceedings dominated headlines at the end of 2019, federal lawmakers managed to pass a $1.4 trillion spending package to finance government operations through September 30, 2020.  Fortunately for the equine sector, the appropriations law includes provisions consistent with industry advocacy, ranging from support for Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) programs to a continued ban on enforcement of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate on the transportation of livestock.    Below is a summary of highlights from the 700-page spending law that benefit the sector, reflecting policy outcomes that support many industry priorities:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) – Congress recommends that agency officials devote $1.5 million for EAT, a funding level consistent with the FY2019 budget. 
  • DVA, Adaptive Sports Program - The new law devotes substantial new resources to the Adaptive Sports Program – an umbrella program covering EAT - with a $16 million appropriation.  This is an increase from $9 million for FY2019 and could potentially expand the pool of resources from which EAT facilities could draw.
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS), H-2B Guest Worker Visas – The new law authorizes DHS to effectively double the number of H-2B guest worker visas issued in FY2020, which federal law currently caps at 66,000.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT), Electronic Logging Device (ELD) – The new law continues the ban on funding enforcement of the ELD mandate for livestock carriers.
  • DOT/ Recreation and Trails Program – Congress authorizes a study to quantify how much money non-highway recreation contributes to the Highway Trust Fund. The study will leverage efforts to dedicate more funds to maintain recreational trails.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment – The bill allocates $8 million to support veterinary student debt relief.
  • Extension of Certain Expiring Tax Provisions – Consistent with ongoing industry advocacy, the new law applies three-year depreciation for racehorses two years old or younger placed in service before 2021. This credit expired at the end of 2017 and applies retroactively through 2020. 
  • Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) – The new law repeals the UBIT – a tax applied to non-profit groups and associations - for certain employee fringe benefits. Known as the “church tax,” this was an unpopular provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 
  • DVA, Whole Health Initiative (WHI) – Lawmakers have allocated $63.6 million to WHI, an umbrella program that supports a variety of therapies that promote mental health for veterans.  Congressional allies are moving legislation that clarifies eligibility of EAT in a study measuring the impacts of various therapies on veteran mental health.

Other items that impact segments of the horse industry include the following:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Horse Protection Act (HPA) – The law supports HPA implementation with $1 million for FY2020, an increase from $705,000 in FY 2019;
  • USDA – The law continues the longtime ban on the inspection and slaughter of horses under the Federal Meat Protection Act;
  • U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Lawmakers have dedicated $101.6 million to the Wild Horse and Burro program, an increase of $20 million from FY2019;
  • USDA/ HPA – The new law establishes public availability of a database that chronicles HPA enforcement records. 

If you’d like more information related to the FY2020 appropriations law, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

Copyright © 2020 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 Washington Update...

July 25, 2019

House Lawmakers Pass the PAST Act in Historic Vote!

On Thursday, July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve the Sen. Joseph Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2019 (H.R. 693) by a vote of 333 to 96.  Even though lawmakers have introduced the PAST Act four times since 2013, today marks the first time the House has voted on the bill, which has always received broad, bi-partisan support.  Today’s historic vote constitutes one of the most significant legislative wins for equine welfare since passage of the Horse Protection Act in the 1970s.
Since being introduced in January, the PAST Act has gained more than 300 co-sponsors.  Under new House rules, any legislation gaining 290 or more co-sponsors moves to a “consensus calendar,” enhancing prospects for a vote on the floor.  Thanks to continued advocacy from the horse industry, the PAST Act surpassed the 290-cosponsor threshold in June and gained a spot on the House consensus calendar.  This spring, members of the American Horse Council (AHC) sent more than 270 letters to federal lawmakers urging support for the bill and resulting in today’s passage.   
H.R. 693 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and finally end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. AHC, along with most major national horse show organizations and state and local organizations, supports the PAST Act.  Now that House lawmakers have done their part, AHC will focus its efforts on promoting the bill in the senate.  For more information on the PAST Act, please contact AHC’s Bryan Brendle at 202-296-4031.


AHC Washington Update...

May 6, 2019

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.


AHC Washington Update...

May 3, 2019

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.


AHC Washington Update...

October 1, 2018

Horse Industry Gathers in DC, Moves Key Priorities Toward the Finish Line!

On Wednesday, September 26 and Thursday, September 27, horse industry representatives gathered in Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers and advocate for passage of the industry’s top legislative priorities.  During a meeting with leaders of the Congressional Horse Caucus and other industry allies on September 26, members learned more about positive developments related to a funding boost for equine assisted therapy and industry-specific provisions of the 2018 farm bill and guest worker visa legislation.  Prospects for another enforcement delay for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and progress on trails legislation also emerged as reasons to run into the home-stretch of the 115th Congress on a high note.  During the two day meeting series, horse industry advocates met in the offices of more than 35 elected officials.   Below are summaries of highlights emerging from the Fall “Ride-In.”    

Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) Emerges as a Win-Win for Heroes and Horses

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) briefed horse industry representatives on the latest boost to EAT funding included in the new FY2019 Veterans’ Affairs spending bill, which the president signed into law on September 21.  The new law increases EAT funding to $1.5 million, a 50 percent increase from FY2018 levels.  Rep. Barr (R-KY) spoke passionately about the dual benefits to veterans returning to civilian life, and the opportunities for working horses to have “second careers” as therapeutic animals.  Studies show that EAT can effectively treat post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts many U.S. veterans. 

Farm Legislation Includes Cutting-Edge Animal Health Programs, Lawmakers Address Industry-Specific Statutory Definition

While the industry has successfully advocated for a trifecta of livestock health programs in both versions of the farm bill – creation of the National Animal Health Vaccine bank, a new National Disaster Preparedness Program and support for the National Animal Health and Laboratory Network - differences over the scope of nutrition assistance programs have stalled agreement on a final package.  House Agriculture Committee Vice Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) informed AHC that he believed that the House and Senate would ultimately find common ground on a final bill before the end of the year.  Echoing statements made during several meetings, Rep. Thompson (R-PA) also expressed optimism that the final bill would drop language included in the senate version that defines horses as “pets” within the context of a “Pet and Women Safety” (PAWS) provision.  Industry has suggested that lawmakers delete “horses” from the proposed, statutory definition of “pets,” but retain “horses” as a stand-alone category.  This would retain the long-standing classification of horses as “livestock,” while allowing equines to fall within the scope of property damage subject to compensation within the parameters of the PAWS Act.     

Congressional Allies Continue to Fight for Guest-Worker Visa Flexibility, Equine-Specific Labor Needs

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) discussed the AG and Legal Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 6417), which would reform the broken agricultural guest worker visa program.  Among other benefits to the industry, the legislation clearly states that personnel involved in the “management and training of equines” will qualify to participate in a newly-created H-2C visa program for farm workers.   Since Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the bill in late June, it has gained 110 co-sponsors.    
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) discussed a second vehicle important to the industry, his provision in the FY2019 DHS (H.R. 6776) appropriation which addresses the stringent 66,000 cap imposed on the issuance of H-2B visas by providing an exemption for returning workers.   This “returning worker” exemption not only provides much needed cap relief, but will reduce red tape for seasonal employers.  Congress will likely not finalize the bill until after the November election.
Will Trails Legislation Cross the Finish Line?
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) lauded the fact that both the Recreation Not Red-Tape (RNR) Act (H.R. 3400) and the Restore Our Parks Act (H.R. 6510) passed his committee favorably, and are placed on the House calendar for a possible vote before the end of the year.  While neither companion bill in the Senate has yet received a hearing, senate aides stated that there was reason to be optimistic that Restore Our Parks (S. 3172) would receive a hearing in the fall.  Of the two major trails bills that the horse industry supports, it appears that Restore Our Parks, which would address backlog trails maintenance, has the better chance of crossing the finish line before the end of the year.  Stay tuned. 
Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act Gains Supporters
No new information emerged during the meeting series to raise the prospects for passage of the PAST Act.  However, the Senate version of the bill (S. 2957) has gained 32 cosponsors.  Sen. Crapo’s (R-ID) office stated that they were optimistic that the bill would have no shortage of supporters during the next congress. AHC will continue to keep you updated on any changes to the prospects for this important equine health legislation.
Horse Industry Focuses on Congressional Leaders, Leverages Message
While the bulk of the Hill meetings during the ride-in focused on constituent-specific officials, the industry also met with leaders who have jurisdiction over the sector’s major legislative issues.  Horse industry representatives were able to meet with chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and House Natural Resources Committee, as well as the Vice Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.  On the Senate side, AHC members and guests talked to senior staff in the offices of the Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, among others.   If you’d like more information related to the meeting series and next steps, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

View Article on AHC Website


AHC Washington Update...

September 28, 2018

Congress Extends ELD exemption through Dec. 7th

Congress has sent a spending bill to the White House in an effort to avert an Oct. 1 government shutdown and push the discussion regarding final appropriations until after the November elections. H.R. 6157 includes a continuing resolution that would extend funding for those agencies not covered by completed appropriations bills, including agriculture and transportation. This will extend the ELD protections the horse industry has enjoyed through December 7, 2018.  The President has said he will sign this bill package to avert a shutdown.

By December 7th Congress will either do another extension or pass the 2019 spending package, which includes the ELD delay for livestock haulers, leaving these haulers exempt from ELD use until September 30, 2019. 

The AHC is continuing to work with both the FMCSA and Congress to identify a permanent solution to the unintended consequences to new and existing CDL and ELD regulations that have proven to be problematic.

For more information please contact Cliff Williamson at the American Horse Council.

AHC Washington Update...

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:  http://www.horsecouncil.org/wpcontent/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 bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

View Article on AHC Website


AHC Washington Update...

June 29, 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 example, the senate bill includes a definition for “pets” that includes horses, per a program outlining restitution for incidents of domestic violence.  AHC has already communicated with Senate and House leadership recommending a definitional change that will avoid confusion within the industry, and clarify federal classifications of horses as “livestock.”  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: 




June 21, 2018

Farm Bill, Take 2!  House Lawmakers Pass Ag Legislation, Boost Animal Health Programs

In the wake of a failed vote on the 2018 farm bill on May 18 – largely precipitated by controversy surrounding unrelated immigration policy issues - on June 21, House lawmakers revisited the legislation and finally passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) by a vote of 213 to 211.  Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he plans to pass companion legislation in the upper chamber before July 4, Congress appears to be poised to finalize a bill prior to expiration of Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs on September 30.  During meetings on Capitol Hill the week of June 11, multiple senate offices echoed a commitment to the deadline, reminding members of the horse industry that the chamber is prepared to work into the August recess to complete its legislative business prior to the mid-term elections in the fall.         
Fortunately for the horse industry, the $868 billion, five-year package includes provisions addressing some of AHC’s top priorities:  authorization of a new National Animal Disaster Preparedness and Response (NADPR) program; additional support for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network; and creation of the National Animal Health Vaccine Bank that will prioritize risks posed by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), among other threats. 
A preliminary review of the bill shows that although lawmakers generally met industry’s full funding request - totaling $250 million for the priority issues outlined above - for FY2019 only, the bill reduces those funds during subsequent fiscal years.  For example, the horse industry and its partners requested $70 million each year to fund the NADPR, but received $30 million for 2020 and beyond.  Fortunately for the horse industry, the final bill authorizes $150 million for a “priority FMD vaccine bank,” opening the door for funding vaccines that will mitigate other diseases.
AHC will continue to advocate for industry priorities as the legislation moves forward.  To view a copy of the legislation, please click here: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr2/BILLS-115hr2rh.pdf.   

View Article on AHC Website



June 8, 2018

Successful Barr Amendment Gives $5 Million Boost to Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans

On Friday, June 8, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5895, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (VA) Appropriations Act.  Per an amendment offered by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), the House bill increases funds for Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) by $5 million.  Specifically, the Barr amendment directs appropriators to “transfer $5 million from the VA’s Health Administration’s (VHA) Medical Community Care Account to the Medical Services Account for the explicit use for the VA’s Adaptive Sports Grant (ASG) program, equine assisted therapy.” On Monday, June 4, AHC sent a letter of support to House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) urging the committee to rule the Barr amendment “in order” so that it could be adopted on the House floor.
By way of background, Congress has already endorsed robust EAAT measures by approving increased funds for EAAT within the FY2018 omnibus.  By approving the Barr Amendment to FY 2019 appropriations, Congress re-enforces an important commitment to our nation’s warriors when they return from combat.  According to a clinical study conducted in conjunction with Columbia University, an estimated 14% to 30% of U.S. veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Congress can help mitigate PTSD by boosting EAAT. 
The U.S. horse industry employs nearly one million Americans and contributes $122 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  EAAT programs not only provide valuable services for U.S. veterans, but the operations also support jobs for a growing number of working Americans, and “second careers” for horses who would otherwise retire from racing or other working roles.  According to a 2017 economic impact study, EAAT supports more than 6,700 jobs and generates $311.7 million in annual revenues in the U.S.  If you have questions related to AHC’s support for Rep. Barr’s Amendment to H.R. 5895, please contact Bryan Brendle, AHC’s Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at 202-296-4031. 

View Article on AHC Website


New Lighting for Buggies Signed Into Law

By Jenessa Freidhof | The Country Today | jenessa.freidhof@ecpc.com

Gov. Scott Walker recently signed into law Assembly Bill 475, legislation that updates light requirements on slow-moving, animal-drawn vehicles. Authored by state Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, and Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, the bill aims to improve road safety for all drivers.

“Every year we are seeing fatalities where somebody comes up on a buggy and an accident occurs. The fatali-ties have such a devastating effect not only on the Amish family, but on the people that are involved in the accident. Our goal in this is to create some type of safety measure that will help these buggies be seen, especially in the evening and nighttime hours or when there is fog out,” Petrowski said.

Rep. Bob Kulp, R-Stratford, aided Spiros with drafting the legislation and met with several local Amish communities to discuss the goals of the bill. The bill comes after legislators heard from people about the need for new requirements on these vehicles.

“I think anybody that has driven in our rural parts of the state with a lot of Amish or old-order Mennon-ite communities and their horse-drawn vehicles has come upon them in inclement weather or at night and some of them are not lighted well,” Kulp said. “It is really a safety concern from the motor vehicle driving population being able to see these buggies.”

Meeting with local Amish communities, Kulp said he started a conversation with them on why better visibility of their buggies is necessary, while still being sensitive to the culture.

“I bring a unique perspective to the issue because old-order Mennonite and Amish are actually my heritage; my mom was Amish and my dad was old-order Mennonite. My first language was Pennsylvania Dutch so I could actually go to some of the communities and have conversations with them, although briefly, in their native tongue,” he said.

Kulp said the response to the new law has been mixed, with some people feeling it did not go far enough from a visibility and enforcement perspective.

The law requires slow-moving, animal-drawn vehicles to have one white headlight and two red rear lights, with the new requirement of an additional rear flashing yellow or amber strobe light. The light needs to be visible from 500 feet away.

“In the fog or at night, you can come upon these buggies so fast that you don’t see them ahead of time,” Petrowski said. “This yellow or amber strobe that we would like to see mounted on the buggies I think really will allow people to see them from a long distance. I think it will save lives and will make our roadways much safer in rural areas.”

“They have six months to comply to the law and then it is basically a warning type system as opposed to citation,” Kulp said.

Kulp said this seemed to be the correct approach rather than a more punitive approach right away. He is hopeful that with the dialogue started with the communities before the law was passed, the communities affected will be more accepting of the requirements.

“If we see that (warnings) don’t work, we will likely have to do some things where you have citations beyond warnings, but I think this is the right place to start,” he said. “I think there are only about a half-dozen groups of the most restricted congregations that will end up having a problem with this and they may end up bucking it to the point where they could potentially take it to the Supreme Court, which is what they did with slow-moving-vehicle signs a couple of decades ago.”

Although motor vehicle and animal-drawn vehicle collisions are relatively rare, they are usually very serious and Kulp said being proactive with the issue is important.

“You never want to say there is not a problem when you can’t know how many people were very close to an incident,” he said. “It also goes beyond that to the fright factor.”

Kulp said not only is it people’s reactions to avoid the collision, but the reaction to the population that made being proactive about the issue important. He said he is hopeful that the affected communities will be accepting of the legislation and that the dialogue started between people will help them to work together better in this regard.

“When you pop over a hill and it is dark and foggy and suddenly you see this vehicle, what goes through the mind of the person driving the motor vehicle is ‘those crazy Amish people, why can’t they figure this out.’ It turns into a class or culture issue that really doesn’t need to be there and that was really one of my appeals to the Amish community,” he said. “I told them I get why they want to be fading into the woodwork; it is part of their nature. But this is about being responsible and putting yourself into the shoes of the English — to use their vernacular — as to what goes through their minds when they come across a buggy that isn’t lit up well.

“I tried to get the communities to see that this is an important way that they can live in peace with their neighbors and their friends around them. I think that is something that they have not always thought about so it was an opportunity for me to point this out to them — not to be flashy, but to be responsible citizens in a community that has a lot of different people and vehicles.”



February 18, 2018

AHC Meets with Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The American Horse Council met with Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator and leadership team this week in response to a letter sent to Secretary Chao on January 28th, 2018. AHC staff went to DOT headquarters to raise the industry’s concerns and solicit clarification on how the existing regulations should be interpreted, and how those interpretations are affecting the horse industry.

The AHC expressed the industry’s interest in an increased level of stakeholder outreach, the lack of uniform interpretations nationwide, the applicability of various exemptions already in place, and the appropriate avenues for future legislative and regulatory efforts. AHC shared specific situations where rodeo, racing, competition and recreational sectors have interacted with law enforcement concerning commercial regulations.

The DOT informed the AHC that a new website specifically tailored to the agricultural industry will be unveiled in the next week, with a dedicated contact for agricultural questions, and they will begin to develop a F.A.Q. to more clearly address the questions which they receive.

The DOT members present did clarify that trailer drivers not engaged in business are not subject to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) regulations, specifically where additional licensing is concerned. Regardless of weight, it was the interpretation of those present that going to an event that may issue prizes does not necessarily constitute commercial activity. As long as participation in the competition itself is not a component of the business with which that driver or the vehicle are regularly engaged, and expenses for said trip are not deducted for tax purposes, a CDL is not required to operate the CMV in question. Those interpretations, as are all CMV regulations, are specific to federal regulations, and state regulations may be less forgiving.

The AHC is excited about the opportunity to develop this relationship with DOT-FMCSA. The equine community should look forward to utilizing these lines of communication in the future to assure industry wide compliance and protection of individuals driving both commercially and recreationally. The AHC encourages the industry to reach out to state law enforcement to determine how best to comply with the state regulations. As additional information on this subject becomes available, the AHC will share that with our members as quickly as possible.

Visit http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/ for AHC materials on this subject. Please contact the AHC with questions or concerns.


AHC Requests Clarification from DOT

January 31, 2018

The upcoming Electronic Logging Device deadline has sparked an animated discussion within the horse industry. The AHC would like to note that these are federal regulations that are left to state officials to be enforced. This division of responsibilities, and potentially divergent interpretation, is the basis for the sense of confusion felt across the industry.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have told the AHC that the regulatory changes within the department are several years behind schedule. As such, addressing the current state of compliance is critically important to the industry and the continuation of the equestrian sport and way of life.

In that light, the AHC is working collectively with the larger livestock industry to seek more concise and plainly presented expectations for the equine industry to follow. The following letter was sent to Secretary Elaine Chao with the Department of Transportation in the hopes that DOT will address these concerns. Depending on the response from Secretary Chao and DOT, AHC is prepared to pursue new regulatory and legislative options that ensure the continuity and protection of the equine industry. View the letter here.

Please contact the AHC if you have any further questions.


There has been quite a bit of information going around about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate. The AHC felt that it should provide some educational content about the ELD mandate, and also what requirements are needed for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Linked below are two brochures for your information.



If you have any questions, please contact us. Thank you!

Ashley Furst
American Horse Council
1616 H Street NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006



Senate Passes Tax Bill, Moves to "Conference" to Negotiate Final Package

December 4, 2017

Copyright © 2017 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.

Senators scrambled Saturday, December 2, to muster the necessary 51 votes to pass its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, effectively laying down a marker to jump start negotiations with the House of Representatives on a final package.  While details related to the senate bill continue to emerge, please see the below highlights of key provisions that will impact the equine industry.  Many of these provisions diverge from the House-passed version and could be subject to changes during the House and Senate conference, which congressional leadership will organize this week: 

Business Provisions

  • Corporate Tax Rate: The senate bill delays reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% until 2019. By contrast, H.R. 1 provides an immediate corporate tax cut, effective in 2018.  Lawmakers will have to bridge this gap during the conference committee. 
  • Small Business:  The senate vehicle establishes a 23% deduction for small business income of “pass-thru entities,” or small companies which opt to pay taxes under the individual rate.  Senators included this deduction to address concerns from lawmakers who claimed that previous versions of the bill did not create sufficient tax relief for small business.     
  • Expensing: While the House bill and a previous version of the senate vehicle provided 100% bonus depreciation, the final senate bill appears to modify treatment of bonus depreciation to “phase down … the percentage from 100% by 20% per calendar year.”  AHC largely supports the House treatment of expensing, which according to Hill sources, includes a broad legislative definition to allow full expensing of horses.     
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – According to Hill sources, the senate vehicle preserves a 20% corporate, alternative minimum tax.  The House bill repeals the unpopular provision altogether, laying the groundwork for a major discussion point during negotiations for a final package. 
  • Name and Logo Royalties:  The senate bill strikes a provision from a previous version of the bill that treated “name and logo royalties” as unrelated business taxable income.
  • Wagering Losses:  A previous version of the senate bill states that it amends the existing tax code provision that addresses treatment of gambling winnings, without specifying how.   The current senate vehicle does not appear to clarify this provision, which AHC will continue to monitor. 

Individual Provisions

  • Estate Tax: The Senate preserves it commitment to double the estate tax exemption, currently valued at $5.49 million for individuals, without full repeal.  By contrast, H.R. 1 eliminates the estate tax within six years of enactment.                       
  • State and Local Taxes (SALT) – Senators agreed to an itemized deduction for up to $10,000 in state and local property taxes, which resembles a compromise included in the House bill. 
  • Mortgage Interest: The senate version will cap the deduction for mortgage interest indebtedness at $1 million.  H.R. 1, however, establishes a $500,000 cap on interest from new home purchases, a provision drawing criticism from the homebuilders. 
  • Charitable Contributions:  In cases of individual cash contributions, the senate bill increases the percentage-limit deduction from the current rate of 50% to 60%. 

Heading to the Finish Line

When congressional leaders appoint conferees, who will be recruited from the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, serious negotiations will begin, with a goal of presenting a final package to the president for his signature before Christmas.  To view a copy of a four-page table outlining highlights related to the various revenue impacts of the bill’s key provisions, please click here:  http://www.horsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Table-Revenue-Impacts.pdf​

For more information related to tax reform issues, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Legislative Affairs, at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.  


House Ag Appropriations Committee Vote on Horse Slaughter Defunding

July 13, 2017

Copyright © 2017 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 House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations voted July 12 against an amendment that Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) had offered to defund the USDA’s inspection of horse slaughter, a renewal of what was effectively a ban on the practice

Please click on the link below to read the article in its entirety.


USDA-Animal Care Provides Horse Protection Act Progress Report

June 30, 2017

On June 29, 2017, Bernadette Juarez, Deputy Administrator of APHIS-Animal Care, released an open letter to the management of horse shows, exhibitions, sales, as well as Horse Industry Organizations and Associations (HIOs), and the owners, trainers, exhibitors, and custodians of horses engaged in Horse Protection Act (HPA) covered activities.

In it she provides a progress report on the efforts to strengthen the HPA inspection program, their working relationship with the industry, and HPA enforcement. She applauded the HIOs that have made refinements to their processes to achieve their new standards, including the updated inspection guidance intended to promote consistency throughout the entire industry. That inspection guidance was posted on their website, found here, along with videos that depict the inspection process.

She ended her letter by acknowledging that “A consistent and thorough inspection process coupled with management’s commitment to fulfilling its responsibilities under the HPA are essential for ensuring exhibitors have clear expectations and can confidently present horses for inspection and participate in HPA-covered events.”

On March 30, 2017, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re- introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015 (HR 1847) (PAST Act) in the House of Representatives.   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 is supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations. The AHC urges all members of the horse industry to contact their Representative and ask them to support the bill and become a co-sponsor. 

For more information on the Horse Protection Act and the practices used to enforce it, please visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/SA_HPA .

The complete letter can be read here. Please contact the American Horse Council with any further questions regarding the HPA or the PAST Act.


Legal Transportation of Horses Across State Lines

Please take a moment to read an article entitled "Are you legal transporting horses across state lines?" by Source: Text By Kristy Vanderwende • Design By Joselyn Leonhart • Photos By Larry Williams of InStride Edition. The WHC would like to thank InStride Edition, www.InStrideEdition.com for allowing us to share this excellent article on legal transportation of horses across state lines.

Click here to read this very informative article.



WI LRB-1643/1: Regarding animals taken into custody (Not yet a Wisconsin Bill)

Click here to read the full text of the proposed bill: WI LRB-1643/1 Proposed Bill (PDF)

Sponsored by Senator Tim Carpenter

The Wisconsin Horse Council has registered opposed to this bill due to the inclusion of Section 16. 173.23 (1) (e) The animal has an implanted microchip for identification or assurance of implantation of a microchip for identification is given by prepayment.

The Wisconsin Horse Council is a strong supporter of animal identification if so chosen by the animal owner.

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Pending Federal Legislation Under Review

Great Source for Legislative Issues & Policies is the American Horse Council





On March 30, 2017, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re- introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015 (HR 1847) (PAST act) in the House of Representatives.   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 is identical to the bill introduced last Congress and is supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations.

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

Legislation to Eliminate Soring Introduced in the House



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


H.R. 845:  National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015

Full Title: The bill 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.

Full Text of Bill | More Information

NOVEMBER 17, 2016

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


H.R. 1518: Prevent All Soring Tactics of 2013

Full Title: To amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act, and for other purposes.

Full Text of Bill | More Information

AHC PAST Act Hearing Testimony

Endorsements for PAST Act

AHC PAST Act Frequently Asked Questions

Wisconsin co-sponsors: None

On April 11, 2013, assigned to committee House Energy and Commerce sub-committee Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade

H.R. 1094: Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013

Full Title: To prohibit the sale or transport of equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.

Full Text of Bill | More Information

Wisconsin Cosponsors: Mark Pocan

On 3/12/13 referred to committees: House Agriculture

Wisconsin committee member Congressman Reid J Ribble and House Energy and Commerce

Wisconsin committee member: None

S. 541: A bill to prevent human health threats posed by the consumption of equines raised in the United States

Full Title: A bill to prevent human health threats posed by the consumption of equines raised in the United States.

Full Text of Bill | More Information

Wisconsin Cosponsors: None

On 3/12/13 referred to committee: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Wisconsin committee member: Senator Tammy Baldwin

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Announcements and Notices


The WHC Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


WHC Calendar of Upcoming Events

Want to know what equine related events and activities are going on in your area? Please click on the heading above to access a list of up-coming events and a form that you can complete and send to us to have your equine related activity added to this new calendar!

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We are offering FREE classified ads on our website and in the newsletter!

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

Important information for all WHC Members! Please click below to read the details.

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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