News & Issues

The H-2B Workforce Coalition, in the governance of which FRA participates, recently finalized and published Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, presenting background on...

On February 14, Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) reintroduced the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (HR 688), which would liberalize federal rules that currently restrict credit unions from allocating more than 12.25% of their assets to small business borrowers. The legislation would increase that lending cap to 27.5% for credit unions that meet stipulated requirements. The bill already has strong (and growing) cosponsorship, and although support is more bipartisan than it was last year, Democratic cosponsors currently outnumber Republicans by a ratio of about 1 to 4.

In response to concerns by some county commissioners that unidentified loggers in Alabama were not being held accountable for alleged damage to public roads, the state legislature passed what sounds like a very mild piece of legislation allowing (not requiring) counties to require loggers to provide “prior notice of intent” to use county roads or rights-of-way prior to operations.

At the close of 2012, Sustainable Forestry Initiative President Kathy Abusow summed up some significant signs that SFI is expanding and gaining credibility as a guarantor of sustainable forest management, pointing out:

On January 7, the H-2B Workforce Litigation Committee, in which FRA participates, filed an appeal brief with the Philadelphia-based Third Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging Judge Legrome Davis’s unfavorable decision on our challenge to the Department of Labor’s guestworker wage rule under the H-2B visa program at the District Court level. The H-2B visa program governs employer access to non-immigrant aliens working in certain categories of seasonal employment, including hand-planting of tree seedlings.

On December 12, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Jacksonville, Florida heard the U.S. Department of Labor’s appeal of District Court Judge Casey Rodgers’s decision to place a preliminary injunction on DOL’s “Program Rule,” governing the H-2B visa program, which authorizes the entry of reforestation guestworkers to the U.S. on a temporary, seasonal basis.

On December 6, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities announced that it had created a Watershed Protection Database, to compile and compare information on programs in various communities to dedicate special assessments on consumers’ water bills to watershed protection projects, as an element...

On December 3, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “activated” previously announced changes to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, including changes in two of the “BASICs” FMCSA uses to monitor carrier performance. Changes include...

On November 8, a leading general builder, Turner Construction, released the latest results of the “Green Building Market Barometer” survey it conducts every two years, gauging the commitment to “environmentally sustainable, or ‘green,’ building” of companies engaged in architecture, construction, real estate consulting, owning, developing, and other construction-related sectors.  In all, the survey reports the views of 718 executives.

The U.S. Department of Labor has appealed U.S. District Court Judge Casey Rodgers’s preliminary injunction of its “Program Rule,” governing administration of the H-2B “guestworker” program, to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Jacksonville, Florida.

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