and our hugely responsive and ef- fective grassroots “team”—the MHC members from Caroline County who took the time to come to Annapolis and testify against the bill (thanks and a big shout out to Christy Clagett, our grassroots “whip” who worked the phones to organize the panel from Caroline County), and to the MHC members from all over the state who responded to our e-blasts and called and emailed their repre- sentatives to voice their opposition to the bill.

As mentioned, these county spon- sored bills are normally very hard to defeat because the legislators gener- ally want to give deference to an in- dividual county’s initiatives, with the hope of receiving reciprocal consid- eration when their own county has a bill. Our most successful defense against these “county courtesy” bills is vigilance at the county level itself. When county officials are consider- ing legislative initiatives to send to Annapolis and they hear from their constituents that a proposal is un- popular, that will often be the end of it. If you would be willing to monitor the agenda of your County Council, Commission or other governing body, to alert your fellow equestrians about measures that might affect them, please let us know! We’ll take care of the rest. It will only take a few minutes of your time to check your county’s website periodically, and it could make a big difference. If you can help, please contact admin@

Gold Sponsors

All told, during the course of the 3-month session, MHC closely monitored about 40 bills that could have an effect on horse people, their farms, businesses and even their pets. (For a full report on our legisla- tive work this year, please visit www. At our weekly conference call throughout the session, we evaluated the new bills that had been introduced during the preceding week that might impact us, discussed and arrived at our posi- tion, and determined our lobbying strategy. We testified at a number of hearings, wrote and submitted written testimony on a number of other bills, and took formal positions without testimony on many others. We traveled to Annapolis over and over again to meet with key legisla- tors and county delegations. Our all volunteer army (assisted greatly by Frank Boston and his staff) was a force to be reckoned with, as we weighed in on bills ranging from Soil Conservation and Program Open Space funding, to tax credits for pres- ervation easements, to workplace rules, to deer poaching, and more, including the specific bills discussed in more detail above. A complete summary of all the bills we followed and what action we took on them can be found here:

If you have any questions about any of these bills, please let us know. You can get full information about any of them, including their full texts, any amendments, which legislators

voted for/against, etc. by going to and typing in the bill number in the “Find legisla- tion by number” box at the top of the home page.

Finally, MHC, in conjunction with the Maryland Horse Industry Board and other horse industry partners hosted our second Maryland Horse Industry Day in Annapolis on Febru- ary 23rd, 2016. Numerous promo- tional events, including videotaped interviews with some of Maryland’s horse industry leaders that appeared on, newspaper coverage, and other forms of out- reach achieved broad marketing of the event. The day included a kick-off and issue briefing, press conference, and constituent meetings with over 25 legislators. Hundreds of Maryland- ers from around the state came to the State’s Capitol to advocate for the industry. All that preceded a terrific happy hour for legislators at the Calvert House in Annapolis. We had a great turnout of Maryland Sena- tors, Delegates, Cabinet Secretaries and other Hogan Administration officials and horse industry leaders from across the entire spectrum of our diverse industry—all coming together to make the point that Maryland’s horse industry is wide, deep and strong. Next year we are looking forward to an even bigger and better event, and we hope you can join us in making our voice heard to our legislators!

MHC Sponsor Spotlight

Bronze Sponsors

Maryland Horse Council membership is open to all associations, farms, businesses and individuals. To join, please visit contact, or call 301.502.8929. The Maryland Horse Council is sponsored by B&D Builders, Farm Credit, The Equiery, Maryland Horse Industry Board, MARBIDCO, Days End Farm Horse Rescue , Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and Agape Pet Services. | 800-244-9580 NOVEMBER 2016 | THE EQUIERY | 71


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