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Carnival & Fair News
Carnival & Fair News
OABA Leaders Lobbied Congress Last Week in DC
Thursday, April 26, 2018
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Last Wednesday, some 25 mobile amusement industry leaders representing carnivals, independent ride owners, concessionaires and suppliers were in DC, following the Spring Board meeting, to lobby key members of Congress.  Our goals were put pressure on DHS and DOL to release additional H-2B visas, this season, as authorized by Congress and to garner support for two House bills (H.R. 2004 and H.R. 4207 and one Senate bill (S. 792).  These bills help fix the low visa cap and short cut the bureaucracy in the application process, for small, family businesses that have relied on these seasonal, guest workers, to support their American workforce.     

Our board members met in advance with the OABA’s DC lobbyists, Husch Blackwell Strategies and Kelley Drye & Warren for briefings the day before, then the next day, four teams with a lobbyist started meetings at 8:45 AM and ended at 4:30 PM, influencing with some 20 Representatives and Senators from across the U.S. to understand the mobile amusement industry’s need for H-2B visa employees.  With the economy on the rebound, the demand for additional seasonal staff has sky rocketed and as a result, many mobile amusement businesses have not received their workers, this season.  

“Advocacy on both the state and federal level is an integral part of OABA’s Mission and continued efforts to grow our seasonal businesses and support America’s fairs, festivals and community events, can’t happen without these H-2B guest workers. Overall, our Board members were very pleased with the positive conversations that took place during these meetings with Congressional staff and leadership,” according to OABA Chair Jay Strates.

The mobile amusement industry for over 15 years has relied on the H-2B Visa program to supplement their American workforce, and has unique needs and concerns verses other H-2B stakeholders. In fiscal year 2017, some 7,000 H-2B visa workers were hired in the mobile amusement industry. All H-2B coalition members continue to actively lobby the Secretary of Homeland Security, in concert with the Secretary of Labor to release additional H-2B visas as per the Omnibus Bill.  This year’s H-2B cap of 66,000 visa workers was met at the end of February.        

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