For more information on the OABA's legislative efforts, please select a topic below.
The OABA represents our members on a wide variety of legislative issues. Not only are we constantly involved with state amusement ride issues, we represent the interests of our industry with other federal and state regulatory entities such as Department of Transportation, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, Consumer Products Safety Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Here are some of the benefits we provide OABA members:
Legislative AdvocacyOABA, in partnership with Husch Blackwell Strategies (HBS), a Washington DC based lobbying firm, is the leading voice on legislative matters impacting the outdoor amusement business industry. Over the past 6 years, the OABA and HBS have been on the front lines of the battle over reforms to the H-2B temporary visa program, wage rules, housing issues and tax policy.
Through the effort of our partners, and most importantly our OABA members, we have grown the number of “champions” for our industry on Capitol Hill and won important legislative victories. Developing and maintaining new and existing legislative champions on Capitol Hill ensures that our interests and priorities are considered when future legislation is debated.
OABA's efforts on Capitol Hill have not only raised the profile of our industry but also strengthened our ties to other industries facing similar challenges. The OABA is a proud member of the H2B Workforce Coalition, a group of diverse industries (i.e. hospitality, landscaping, forestry, seafood processing) that are the leading voice on H2B reform.
As each new year begins the OABA Government Relations Committee meets to establish the legislative priorities for the upcoming year. This group of OABA members helps guarantee that the focus of our federal advocacy efforts remains relevant to the ever-changing needs of our members.
Read more about our partners at HBS.
See a list of recent victories and active Federal priorities -- 116th Congress.
Regulatory AdvocacyOABA monitors state and federal rulemaking process, informs members of proposed rules and provides public comment on behalf of the industry. Many of our members serve on State amusement ride advisory boards.
Political Action CommitteeThe OABA PAC is a tool that allows members to pool their state and federal campaign contribution dollars together. These funds are used to host and attend political events across the nation, ensuring that our allies in both political parties have the resources needed to continue the fight for our priorities.
View more details concerning the OABA PAC.
Grassroots ActionThroughout the year, via both in-person visits and broad calls to action, the OABA connects our members with elected officials. These grassroots efforts enable our members to share their personal stories with lawmakers and provide decision makers with detailed and researched information about the needs of our industry.
Alliances and CoalitionsThe OABA participates in many coalitions and alliances to strengthen our impact and further the policy goals of the amusement industry. The OABA also participates with other trade associations such as NICA, IAAPA, IAVM.
Contact us for more information.
OABA Sets its 2021 Legislative Priorities
By John Ariale, Husch Blackwell Strategies – OABA's Government Relations Team
OABA began working on setting their legislative priorities in the new Congress well before Members were sworn in back in January. Issues on the agenda in 2021 include addressing OABA's identifying a permanent legislative fix to our H-2B Cap Relief issue, exploring opportunities to expand the eligibility of COVID-19 related relief efforts to apply to the industry, seeking legislative vehicles to modify the heavy highway vehicle use tax and assisting our H-2B employers with cap relief.
The new Congress has a distinctly new look. The control of the U.S House remained in the hands of the Democratic Majority with a 222-213 party breakdown; however, House Democrats did lose 11 seats. House Republicans gained 14 seats. The U.S. Senate of course has a historic 50-50 split in the 117th Congress, which is a dramatic change from the 53-47 majority the Republicans held in the 116th Congress.
This shift does dramatically change our strategy in moving the OABA agenda forward. Finding any common ground in the middle of some of the most toxic partisan rhetoric in Washington will be even more difficult over the next two years than the last four. For instance, despite repeated calls for bipartisanship, big legislative initiatives thus far have been passed under special rules designed to pass controversial spending measures by circumventing the filibuster rules in the Senate. Measures like the American Rescue Act – the $2 trillion Biden COVID-19 relief bill – was passed on a party line vote without any GOP support.
Over the last few weeks, our team has been working with OABA's Government Affairs Committee to design and implement our 2021 strategy and despite the political forecast mentioned above, our collective hard work in educating Members and being engaged on the Hill continues to allow for legislative victories. For the fifth legislative cycle in a row, thanks to the work of many of you contacting your representatives, Congress once again included some form of H-2B cap relief in the last fiscal year package. While this is a success, the number of additional visas created under the measure is nowhere close to the need of H-2B employers. As a result, we are intensely working with Congress to once again convince them to permanently fix this issue in 2021.
116th Congressional Priorities
- Passage of permanent cap relief legislation for the H-2B visa program.
- Ensure the continuation of legislative provisions to allow the use of private wage surveys, prohibit the enforcement of the three-fourths guarantee provisions, and define the duration of temporary need (seasonality) as ten months. [For Fiscal Year 2021]
- Secure relief from unfair Department of Labor rules regarding the provision of housing for H-2B employers in the mobile entertainment industry.
- Identify opportunities in future economic stimulus bills to protect the mobile entertainment industry and our partners in the fair industry.
- Seek inclusion of the mobile entertainment industry in any bills related to the Small Business Loan program as it is expanded to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.
116th Congress Achievements
- Law passed allowing for an additional 64,716 of H2B Visa for Fiscal Year 2020. The Trump Administration authorized 35,000 additional visas.
- Law passed that continues to allow for private wage surveys when determining the prevailing wage in regard to the H2B program for Fiscal Year 2020 (through September 30, 2020).
- Law passed that continues the prohibition of enforcement of three- fourths guarantee rules, the definitions of corresponding employment and the temporary need for purposes of the H-2B program for Fiscal Year 2020 (through September 30, 2020).
- Secured enactment of Legislative Language Requiring a Report to Congress on H-2B Processing Issues. Language was included in the Department of Homeland Security Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill that directs Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor to create a report on options to improve the execution of the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, including: processing efficiencies; combating human trafficking; protecting worker rights; and reducing employer burden, to include the disadvantages imposed on such employers due to the current semiannual distribution of H-2B visas on October 1 and April 1 of each fiscal year.
- Secured enactment of Legislative Language Requiring a Report to Congress on Mobile Housing Policies. Language was included in the Department of Labor Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill that directs the Department of Labor to report back on calculated cost borne by employers to comply with the policy and the benefit of the policy to U.S. and guest workers both at the time of the development of the 2015 IFR and the current cost to comply with the housing policy and benefit of the policy to U.S. and guest workers, as well as a comparison of the housing costs and benefits between the industries that use a mobile workforce compared to other industries that utilize the H– 2B program.