Issue Update 3/8/19

The Lake States Region Bat Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) continues to be developed by the Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources. The DNRs have completed drafts of the remaining chapters that are currently being reviewed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We anticipate the release of the remaining chapters for public review in April. Chapters 4 and 5 are the most critical chapters as they will provide information on take assessment and conservations strategy, respectively. FRA has been engaged with the DNRs throughout this process to assure the conservation measures allow forest management to continue as normal. If you would like to review the response received to the comments submitted by FRA on the first three chapters of the HCP, they are provided here.

Efforts continue to urge the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to “expeditiously” release the remaining H-2B visas (69,320) allowed by law. Both the House and Senate sent a letter to Secretary Nielson that addressed the importance of additional H-2B visas for seasonal employers.

A number of “Bag Bills” are being introduced in state legislatures across the country. In total, 65 bills are being considered. These bills, in general, eliminate the use of plastic bags in favor of paper bags. On the negative side, many of the proposed bills include a fee/tax for using paper bags at the point of purchase. AF&PA has compiled a list of bills by state that are included here.