Amid the Trump administration’s vocal efforts to crack down on the hiring of undocumented immigrants, little attention has been paid to a federal program that, if used uniformly, could go a long way toward stopping the practice. E-Verify — which is run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and matches job applicants and federal immigration data — has been touted as a solution to helping employers determine whether a potential hire is legally entitled to work in the United States. But Congress has spent years struggling to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and the E-Verify program remains voluntary across most of the country. Although President Donald Trump included mandatory E-Verify use in his 2019 federal budget proposal, some traditionally Republican interest groups, such as agriculture, have concerns about mandating E-Verify without an overhaul to the U.S. guest-worker program.Stateline conducted a state-by-state analysis of E-Verify use, looking at Homeland Security data and hiring statistics from the federal Quarterly Workforce Indicators, and found that a critical tool for preventing the illegal hiring of undocumented workers hasn’t been used uniformly even in the states that require it.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has demanded that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop its “reckless” and “serious disregard for the rule of law” in the agency’s efforts to find illegal immigrants. The governor signed an executive order to block ICE arrests in state facilities without a warrant and to prohibit state agencies and law enforcement officers from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status unless required by law or to establish whether the individuals qualify for a specific benefit or service.Cuomo sent a letter to an ICE official threatening to “pursue all available legal recourse” to stop what he described as illegally targeting individuals based on their constitutionally protected speech to execute what he called “politically motivated arrests and deportations.”
With the stroke of a pen, hemp could be treated like any other food ingredient under Colorado law. A bill is on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk to apply existing food manufacturing guidelines to products such as hemp oil-infused coffee and CBD-rich extracts made from the non-psychoactive cannabis plant variety. At its simplest form, House Bill 1295 — which unanimously passed the Colorado Senate on Wednesday — merely codifies a state policy and program in place since July. In a broader context, Colorado’s buttoning up of regulations is a novel move to protect the state’s emerging industrial hemp industry as the plant’s legality is debated federally. The regulatory red tape wasn’t seen as a burden by a few Colorado businesses that make products from industrial hemp.
The New York state Senate has voted to prohibit any individual convicted of animal cruelty from working in animal shelters.The measure passed the Senate on Wednesday and now moves to the Assembly for consideration.The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Patrick Gallivan of Erie County, says the measure aims to protect dogs, cats and other animals from people who have mistreated them in the past. He compared the idea to the state's existing laws that bar people convicted of child abuse from working in child care facilities.If passed, the legislation would apply to humane societies, animal shelters or local government animal control agencies.
State authorities will soon be taking an uncharted path in their approaches to regulating CBD oil, growth of industrial hemp, and state-directed cultivation of full-strength marijuana, thanks to a busy legislative session addressing those issues. But the details on how that policy makeover will be implemented are still undefined, which is why the Department of Agriculture & Food met Thursday with business owners, farmers and patient advocates to hear their input before the agency's rule-making process begins in earnest. A law permitting the commercial production and sale of hemp by licensees who agree to a pilot research program, which passed the state legislature easily this year, attracted multiple comments Thursday from those who said they hope the Department of Agriculture doesn't place minimums on how large a hemp plot must be to qualify for a license.
Pennsylvania farmers, who use high tunnels to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, will no longer face the burden of having to meet state regulations intended for commercial and residential development now that Governor Wolf has signed House Bill 1486. The new law, which was a priority issue for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) in 2018, prevents municipalities from requiring farmers to submit stormwater management plans on high tunnel structures that meet the law’s commonsense and easily understood guidelines. “The overall cost of putting together a stormwater management plan for a high tunnel structure would have likely eliminated or significantly negated the profitability of using the high tunnel in the first place,” added Ebert. “The new law should remove those obstacles and benefit local consumers.”
Tension over the drought-stressed Colorado River escalated into a public feud when four U.S. states accused Arizona’s largest water provider of manipulating supply and demand, potentially threatening millions of people in the United States and Mexico who rely on the river. The four states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — plus Denver’s water utility said the Central Arizona Project was trying to avoid a reduction in its share of the Colorado River while others are voluntarily cutting back to avoid a crisis amid a prolonged drought.“It’s one water user taking advantage of a situation for their own benefit, to the detriment of a river that supplies nearly 40 million people,” said Jim Lochhead, manager of Denver Water, which gets about half its supply from the Colorado River.
The city of Memphis could lose a quarter-million dollars as punishment for removing statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis last year. The Tennessee House of Representatives voted to strip the money from next year's state budget. The sum had been earmarked to go toward planning for Memphis' bicentennial celebrations next year. The surprise move came just before legislators were to give final approval to Gov. Bill Haslam's $37 billion spending plan. It angered several Memphis lawmakers, including Democrat Raumesh Akbari, who blasted the decision on the House floor. State lawmakers have been debating all session how to get back at Memphis for removing the statues last December. Many were angered that Memphis officials circumvented a state law designed to protect Confederate memorials, by selling the parks the statues were in to a nonprofit.
The executive director of Virginia State University’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement and Outreach has been appointed the state’s agriculture commissioner. Jewel Bronaugh was named to the post by Gov. Ralph Northam.
By encouraging Nebraskans to “Grow local. Brew local, and Buy local,” the Nebraska Craft Brewery Board hopes to enhance the state’s hop and craft brewery industry. Every year the Craft Brewery Board awards grants to fund research, development and marketing projects related to the industry. This year, the Board has approximately $90,000 available for innovative projects from growers, industry organizations, state and local agencies, educational groups and other eligible stakeholders.