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SARL Members and Alumni News

Michigan governor announces broadband Internet for entire state

UPI | Posted on September 13, 2018

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced a plan to bring broadband Internet to every residence and business throughout his state. The state will coordinate with Connect Michigan, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Connected Nation, to implement the plan to connect nearly 40,000 households that don't have high-speed Internet.The plan calls for Internet at a speed of 1 gigabit per second to all homes and businesses by 2026."As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life," Snyder said in a statement. "There are many regions of Michigan where internet is inaccessible or ineffective, and this plan works to make broadband internet available to Michigan residents in every corner of the state."


Idaho’s economy depends on ‘foreign-born’ workers

High Country News | Posted on September 13, 2018

It’s August in southern Idaho, and all is calm for the region’s dairy workers. But after four workers were picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, in July, Latino families have mostly stayed inside, missing church and otherwise lying low. In dairy country, the anxiety is constant. The Idaho Dairymen’s Association’s website is clear about who those workers are today: “Of the 8,100 on-dairy jobs, 85-90 percent are filled by foreign-born labor.” They are also foundationally important: “Without those jobs, none of the 31,300 supporting jobs would exist.” According to a recent study, 40,000 workers in the milk, cheese, yogurt and related products industry have built a $10 billion yearly value in a state economy of $72 billion.Yet because “foreign-born” is too often a euphemism for “illegal,” many of these workers are vulnerable. Consequently, so is an industry that is far more important to Idaho than its famous potatoes.


AVMA State Legislative Update August 2018

AVMA | Posted on September 13, 2018

In Massachusetts, a new law pertaining to abuse/cruelty reporting (HB 2419/S 2646) allows government employees to report known or suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect to local authorities. If an employee makes such a report in good faith, he or she has immunity from civil or criminal liability.  The Maryland Department of Agriculture proposed a regulation, Dept of Agriculture/18-196, that would allow a person to administer medically important antimicrobial drugs to livestock if a licensed veterinarian finds that the drug is medically necessary. However, this regulation would prohibit a person from administering antimicrobial drugs solely to promote weight gain or improve feed efficiency.


At N.H. Border Checkpoints, Immigration, Drug Policy and Politics Collide

New Hampshire Public Radio | Posted on September 13, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been running checkpoints in New Hampshire more frequently under the Trump administration, setting up on Interstate 93 near the small towns of Woodstock and Lincoln. The stated goal of these stops is enforcing immigration law, and to that end, they have been fairly successful. Agents have arrested more than 50 people over the past two years who they determined to be in the country illegally. But those in support of the stops are often quick to turn attention to a topic other than immigration: drugs and the state’s opioid crisis.Here in New Hampshire, despite the political divide on immigration issues, checkpoints are broadly accepted by at least one measure. Roughly 70 percent of residents said they supported the stops as a check on immigration, and to investigate potential drug smuggling, in a survey conducted last year by researchers at the University of New Hampshire.


Ohio legislature revises law governing dog breeders

The Ohio Legislature | Posted on September 6, 2018

Under this bill, a high volume breeder is an establishment that keeps , houses and maintains six or more breeding dogs (meaning a fertile, unspayed, adult dog) AND meets one of the following criteria:In return for a fee or other consideration, sells 5 or more dogs to a pet store or dog retailer (a retailer is defined in current law as someone who sells at wholesale for resale), or In return for a fee or other consideration, sells 40 or more puppies in a calendar year to the public, or Keeps, houses and maintains at any given time in a calendar year, more than 60 puppies under the age of 6 months that have been bred on the premises of the establishment and have been primarily kept, housed and maintained from birth on the premises.An establishment must BOTH maintain 6 or more breeding dogs as defined AND meet one of these three criteria to be considered a high volume breeder.  Just maintaining 6 breeding dogs will not be considered to meet the threshold of a high volume breeder.  AKC continues to ask that the definition of breeding dog be further clarified to state that breeding dogs as defined are female dogs. Clarified standards of care for high volume breeders – The standards of care in House Bill 506 include requiring food sufficient to maintain normal body condition provided in accordance with a nutritional plan recommended by a veterinarian; access to potable, clean, and sanitary water; and a primary enclosure with measurements that are based on a dog’s length and regulations regarding flooring and sanitation that are based on current Ohio Department of Agriculture rules. Outdoor enclosures require protection if the climatic or ambient temperature poses a threat to the health of the individual dog, rather than specific temperature requirements that do not take into account specific breeds, such as those proposed in the ballot measure.Requirement that pet stores and dog retailers must verify that breeders meet Ohio’s standards of care. Prior to obtaining an animal, a pet store or dog retailer (someone who sells to pet stores or at wholesale for resale) must verify that a breeder, whether in Ohio or out of state, verify the standards of care at the breeder’s kennel and keep records on this verification, in order to ensure that dogs sold in Ohio pet stores were raised in kennels that meet Ohio’s minimum standards.


Economic Returns to Rural Infrastructure Investments

Farm Foundation | Posted on September 6, 2018

Farm Foundation has released six papers commissioned to examine specific issues critical to rural infrastructure development. Understanding the economic returns on investing in rural infrastructure improvements is a critical element in the decision-making process for public and private investors. “As the nation addresses rural infrastructure needs, it is vital that public and private decision makers have the best information possible on the economic and social returns of their investments,” says Farm Foundation President Constance Cullman. “These papers begin to fill that need by examining some of the diverse issues in measuring returns of rural infrastructure investments.” Economically Efficient Composition of Rural Infrastructure Investment:  Mark Burton, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee and Wesley W. Wilson, Ph.D., of the University of Oregon, provide an economic explanation for why public-sector infrastructure investments are economically-efficient public policy. The authors also describe why many necessary investments must be sited in and/or available to rural communities.


Why we stick to false beliefs: Feedback trumps hard evidence

Science Daily | Posted on September 6, 2018

Ever wonder why flat earthers, birthers, climate change and Holocaust deniers stick to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? New findings suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boosts people's sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell right from wrong.Developmental psychologists have found that people's beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction, than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.


New Iowa Law Makes Keeping Farm Together Easier

DTN | Posted on September 6, 2018

No family wants to end up in court arguing over how inherited farmland will be divided. It's even more discouraging when one owner wants to keep the land, but the court orders all the owners to sell. Iowa just passed a law in 2018 that allows a way to equalize the property without a sale. The result: Person(s) wanting to sell can get cash out, while owner(s) preferring to keep the family farm are not forced to sell. Only 10 other states have a similar law: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina.In most states, disputes between owners who inherit land and cannot agree on how to split the property often end up with the court ordering a "partition by sale." Then the proceeds from the sale are proportionally divided among all the owners.Alternatively, a more congenial way to divide property is "partition in kind" where the parcels are physically divided to carve out a separate piece for each owner. Then each owner can do what he or she wants to do with the individual pieces of land. However, it is difficult sometimes to divide the land into equal portions or the parties are opposed to the land being divided this way.


Minnesota Department Of Commerce Says Enbridge Insurance Coverage Is Lacking

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on September 6, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Commerce says energy firm Enbridge does not have adequate insurance to protect the public from damages related to crude oil spills. Some critics, including one Wisconsin environmental group, argue that puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for cleanup of any accidents on the company’s pipelines. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is reviewing Enbridge’s policies to make sure the company is meeting conditions for building its $2.9 billion Line 3 replacement project that runs through Minnesota to the company’s terminal in Superior.


Georgia's Lt Governor Candidate raises rural hospitals as campaign issue

Daily Yonder | Posted on September 6, 2018

The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, Sarah Riggs Amico, has raised rural hospital closures as a campaign issue.  “There are 60 counties in Georgia without a pediatrician, half of our counties don’t have an OB/GYN, & rural hospitals are closing,” she stated in an Aug. 20 tweet. She criticized state lawmakers for failing to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.  “… [O]ur current state lawmakers sent back $33 [billion] in your federal tax dollars –money Georgia had already paid in — because they wanted to play politics.” Amico, a business owner, faces Republican Geoff Duncan, a former state representative, in the race for lieutenant governor. 


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