Recapping a busy month for H-2B legislation Email
Written by John McMahon   
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 05:00 AM

Colorado Green NOW

There have been a lot of moving pieces and shifting strategies around legislation affecting the H-2B visa program. At times, there has been legislation aimed at eliminating the H-2B program altogether—all in the last 30 days or so. But the Colorado landscape industry has worked together and participated in lobbying strategy.

H-2B program advocates contacted Colorado representatives about the returning worker exception, which was believed to be the best path in trying to bring about cap relief. Unfortunately, shortly afterward the political environment in DC shifted. It was decided, after much discussion, that bringing that legislation forward would require a roll call vote. Since some legislators might be hesitant to make such public support of H-2B in front of the House speaker, making it difficult to ensure passage of a returning worker exception.

Therefore, the H-2B Workforce Coalition realized that their best course of action would be an immediate shift to return to a prior strategy. Efforts shifted focus on language related to the release of supplemental visas from “may release” to “shall release.”

At the same time as this shift, there were House representatives who came from a union background who wanted to challenge the H-2B program altogether. Those representatives, including Rep. Mark Pocan, introduced via two amendments containing anti-H-2B language about wages and unemployment and human trafficking. But thanks to efforts by landscape industry professionals and other H-2B Workforce Coalition supporters, initial attempts failed to introduce the bill containing that dangerous language. The rules committee, including Colorado Representatives Neguse and Perlmutter, ruled against the language after H-2B supports spoke with them about the impact on US small businesses if those amendments were submitted in the minibus.

At this point, Congress will go on recess in August. We anticipate additional activity related to H-2B when they return in September.

For more background and detail on the events of the last month related to H-2B legislation, see the summaries issued by Andrew Bray of NALP on the subject.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
H-2B updates from NALP--July 2021
The case for in-country H-2B transfers
Survey finds that homeowner interest in landscape services has grown
SBA launching PPP forgiveness portal