• Agriculture Bills

    H.R. 2 - Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018

    Author: Rep Michael K. Conway, R-TX
    Status: Failed House
    Description: This bill (commonly known as the farm bill) reauthorizes through FY2023 and modifies Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that address:

    • commodity support,
    • conservation,
    • trade and international food aid,
    • nutrition assistance,
    • farm credit,
    • rural development,
    • research and extension activities,
    • forestry,
    • horticulture, and
    • crop insurance.

    The bill modifies agriculture and nutrition policies to:

    • expand the work requirements and modify the eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program),
    • repeal the Conservation Stewardship Program and incorporate parts of the program into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program,
    • revise the requirements and process for the Environmental Protection Agency pesticide registration program,
    • require farmers to make a one-time election to obtain either price loss coverage or agricultural risk coverage for the 2019-2023 crop years,
    • allow payment yields used for price loss coverage payments to be updated once in counties affected by drought,
    • rename the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers as the Dairy Risk Management Program and modify coverage levels and premiums,
    • combine several trade programs into a single International Market Development Program,
    • increase the loan limits for guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans,
    • establish new broadband standards for projects financed through USDA, and
    • expand the categorical exclusions that exempt certain forest management activities from requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

    Link to Bill Text

  • H.R. 2 - Federally Qualified Health Clinics: Rural Health Clinics

    Author: Eduardo Garcia, D-CA
    Status: Read 2nd time, amended, and referred to committee on health
    Description: Current law authorizes an FQHC or RHC to apply for an adjustment to its rate based on a change in the scope of services that it provides within 90 days following the beginning of the FQHC’s or RHC’s fiscal year. Current law provides that the department’s implementation of FQHC and RHC services is subject to federal approval and the availability of federal financial participation. This bill would require the methodology of the adjusted per-visit rate to exclude a per-visit payment limitation
    and provider productivity standard. The bill would authorize an FQHC or RHC to apply for a rate adjustment for the adoption, implementation, or upgrade of a certified electronic health record system as a change in the scope of services. Bill Text (link)

    UnitedAg's Position: Watch

  • Water & Land Use Issues

    “Waters of the United States”(WOTUS) - Addition of an Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule

    Description: The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (``the agencies'') are publishing a final rule adding an applicability date to the ``Clean Water Rule: Definition of `Waters of the United States' '' published June 29, 2015 (the ``2015 Rule'') of February 6, 2020. On August 27, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota enjoined the applicability of the 2015 Rule in the 13 States challenging the 2015 Rule in that court. On October 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed the 2015 Rule nationwide pending further action of the court. On January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court held that the courts of appeals do not have original jurisdiction to review challenges to the 2015 Rule. With this final rule, the agencies intend to maintain the status quo by adding an applicability date to the 2015 Rule and thus providing continuity and regulatory certainty for regulated entities, the States and Tribes, and the public while the agencies continue to consider possible revisions to the 2015 Rule.

    More Information

    44 CFR Part 9 - Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

    Description: On August 22, 2016, at 81 FR 57402, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposed to amend its regulations on “Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands” and proposed a supplementary policy that would further clarify how FEMA applies the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. Through this Notice of Data Availability (NODA), FEMA is making available to the public, and soliciting comment on, a draft report, 2016 Evaluation of the Benefits of Freeboard for Public and Nonresidential Buildings in Coastal Areas that became available after publication of the proposed rule.

    More Information

    The Eminent Domain Process in California and the Property Owner's Rights

    Description: The eminent domain process begins with a public project. When selecting a project location, the goal is to render the greatest public good and the least private injury or inconvenience. If it is determined that all or a portion of certain property may be necessary for a public project, the agency will begin the appraisal process to determine the property's fair market value.

    The owner of the property should be given notice of the decision to appraise the property and provided with an opportunity to accompany the agency’s appraiser when the property is inspected.

    More information

    Tax Consequences of Condemnation – Section 1033

    Description: When a government agency or other entity with the power of eminent domain acquires or condemns private property, the private owner is entitled to “just compensation” for the value of the property taken. This compensation – or at least the majority of it – is essentially paid as the purchase price for the condemned property. Eminent domain involves the transfer of real estate title in exchange for the payment of compensation which the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) generally treats as an ordinary taxable sale of property.

    This means, as you might expect, that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers the just compensation received by a property owner as a “gain” for which taxes should be paid. While the proceeds from condemned property are generally subject to taxation, the Code contains an important nonrecognition provision in Section 1033 which allows for certain exceptions to taxation for property taken by eminent domain.

    More information

  • Immigration Bills

    H.R. 3711

    Author: Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas - R
    Status: Passed Judciary Committee, Introduced to House 10/25/17
    Description: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system, and for other purposes. This act may be cited as the Legal Workforce Act.
    Link to Bill Text

    Amendment to H.R. 3711

    Author: Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas - R
    Status: Amendments to Introduced Bill
    Description: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system, and for other purposes.
    Link to Bill Text

    H.R. 4092

    Author: Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia - R
    Status: Introduced to House 10/25/17
    Description: To create a nonimmigrant H-2C work visa program for agricultural workers, and for other purposes. This bill can be cited as the Agricultural Guestworker Act or AG Act.
    Link to Bill Text / Link to Bill Modifications

  • Technology Bills

    S. 1272

    Author: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    Status: Introduced 5/25/17

    This bill requires the Federal Aviation Administration, in prescribing regulations or standards related to unmanned aircraft systems, to:

    • define, and limit the scope of, the preemptive effect of such regulations or standards;
    • preserve the legitimate interests of state, local, and tribal governments (e.g., protecting public safety);
    • preserve state, local, and tribal authority to issue certain reasonable restrictions on the operation of a civil unmanned aircraft system within 200 feet of the ground or a structure;
    • authorize, only with a property owner's permission, the operation of a civil unmanned aircraft in the immediate reaches of the airspace above private property; and
    • establish pilot programs with state, local, and tribal governments to regulate the operation of civil unmanned aircraft systems, coordinate enforcement efforts with respect to such regulations, and identify best practices.

    Link to Bill Text