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February 2018

Wednesday Febuary 14th, the California Supreme Court entered its order denying the Guild’s petition for review of the state court judgment that all Grange property held by the Guild belongs to the California State Grange, not the Guild. By denying the petition, the Supreme Court confirmed that the appellate court’s reasoning and conclusion in affirming the judgment were correct statements of the facts and California law relevant to the Grange. You can read the appellate court’s decision here.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the appeal in the state court is now over, and the judgment entered by Judge Brown is final. The California State Grange is proceeding with the steps to recover control of its property pursuant to the judgment, and to seek redress for money that the Guild spent that should have been returned to the Grange. We know that many Grangers have been confused by the “spin” put out by the Guild, and were waiting on the outcome of the appeal for clarity as to their obligations and the status of their Grange’s property. The appellate courts have now spoken, and made clear that the rules of the Order have meaning.

If your Grange is not in good standing, we urge you to carefully consider the appellate court’s ruling, including by discussing the matter with an independent attorney, so that you fully understand the ruling’s meaning and import. We sincerely hope that with the conclusion of the appeal, we can continue the process of healing the Grange in California, and bringing all Granges back into good standing. If you have any questions about how your Grange can do that, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail Ed Komski or any other member of the California State Grange’s Executive Committee.

View the Published Ruling

National Grange Legislative Fly-In 2018

Registration Now Available

Please join us in Washington, D.C. on April 15-18, 2018 as we work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange policy priorities. Spring is an extremely crowded and busy time in Washington, DC. Tourists and students from around the country and abroad flock to Washington on spring trips making hotel rooms are scare.

Appointments with Representatives and Senators are a challenge to confirm, therefore the National Grange encourages those members who will be attending the 2018 Fly-In to register, reserve hotel rooms, and make Capitol Hill appointments early.

--------------------------------------------------------- Schedule

Sun. April, 15 - Arrival and check-in - Evening mix and mingle dessert social at the hotel Mon. April 16 - Issue briefings and speakers at the National Grange - Agency visits - Congressional Capitol Hill appointments Tues. April, 17 - Congressional Capitol Hill appointments - Late day/evening departures for some Wed. April 18 - Finish Congressional Capitol Hill appointments - Return home

--------------------------------------------------------- Hotel

Our hotel is the Quality Inn, 1587 Spring Hill Road, Vienna, VA 22182. Phone is (703) 448-8020. Our group rate is $109 + 12% sales tax per night. The cut-off date to make a reservation is March 15, 2018.

The Quality Inn is located just northwest of the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Vienna, VA. The hotel provides free parking and is just one block from the Metro's Silver Line for travel to downtown Washington, D.C. The hotel also provides a complimentary full breakfast Monday-Friday 6:30am - 9:30am and 7:00am - 10:00am on Saturday and Sunday.

Please make your reservations directly with the hotel and mention that you would like to book with the National Grange's block of rooms.

NOTE: The National Grange WILL release any un-booked rooms on March 15th and you WILL be on your own for housing.

For more information and online registration click here

Faith, Hope & Perseverance

This has been a defining time for the members of Jacinto Grange #431 in Willows. 57 members stood up and recovered their Hall from 2 individuals who had joined the Guild and locked out the membership.

The aggressive behavior by the Guild started last year when I was invited to Jacinto Grange to speak at their regularly scheduled meeting. Apparently worried that its propaganda would not be able to stand up to facts about what was actually happening in the California State Grange, the Guild was determined to prevent me from meeting with the Jacinto Grange members. Mr. McFarland and his followers proceeded to attempt to cancel the meeting, change the locks to the Hall, and call the sheriff. Nevertheless, the members persisted, and held the meeting in the parking lot, with Mr. McFarland and his followers bunkered down in the Grange Hall. I spoke at the meeting and took questions, and we had a very interactive meeting that left me inspired by the commitment and passion displayed by these dedicated Grangers.

On September 2, Peggy Taresh and Julie Halvik (2 former members of Jacinto Grange who had joined the Guild), with the "aid" of Mr. McFarland, Sylvia Sloan, and Bob Alvarez, took wrongful possession of the Jacinto Grange Hall and bank accounts. They did so by filing a statement of information with the California Secretary of State signed under penalty of perjury falsely stating that they were the authorized representatives of Jacinto Grange, and then filing improper amended articles of incorporation that purported to make Jacinto Grange's corporation part of the Guild. We recently have discovered that these individuals thereafter sent out at least 6 checks to the Guild from Jacinto Grange's bank account without membership knowledge or approval.

Despite the efforts of the Guild to take what had been built by generations of Grangers in Willows, the Jacinto Grange membership refused to give up. Rebecca Reed and Mayford Evans led the charge to get their Grange back. Last week, with leadership and perseverance, the goal that they set out to accomplish has been reached - they have reclaimed the Jacinto Grange Hall. The Grangers in Willows once again have their Hall to serve as their home base while they fulfill their desire to serve their community as a Grange. Please reach out to Rebecca and Mayford and the rest of the members of Jacinto Grange on their Facebook page below and congratulate them and, if you can, commit to attend their Spaghetti Dinner! The courage and commitment of Jacinto Grange in the face of the Guild's aggression speaks volumes about the spirit of the Grange as we all work to restore the California State Grange.

View Jacinto Grange Facebook page

Dear Grange Member,

Are you interested in doing business or investing in Argentina? National Grange members have been invited to participate in a Trade Mission to La Rioja and San Juan Provinces, Argentina, March 20-28, 2018. This 8-day trip will visit companies and business leaders, meet with province officials, and have time for sightseeing. Led by U.S. Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez who attended the National Grange 150th Birthday Gala in December, the tour is open to a limited number of people. Participants are only required to cover their roundtrip airfare and lodging. All internal travel, meals, seminars, and activities are covered by the trade mission.

The provinces of La Rioja and San Juan offer a wide array of distinct growing business and investment opportunities for U.S. business in key industries including agribusiness, mining, renewable energy, travel and tourism, infrastructure development, and technology services. If you have any interest in joining this trip please contact President Betsy Huber right away at betsy@nationalgrange.org, (484) 459-1957.

Find out more about this opportunity (Click Here)

View the Latest Newsletter

POLICY UPDATES AND ISSUE NEWS

JANUARY 2018

Some Good News

The U.S economy is off to a good start this year according to the major professional services and accounting from CliftonLarsonAllen. Here are several factors that will influence the 2018 economy:

Positives
• Employment is strong
• Housing market is firm
• Risk of recession appears low
• Consumer and small business confidence is high
• U.S. corporate earnings are positive

Negatives
• Stocks and bonds 7-10 year returns are expected to be lower than historical averages
• Geopolitical risks (terrorism) are present
• U.S. policy uncertainty (trade, health care, immigration, etc.)

President Trump Speaks to Rural America

In April, 2017, President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. On January 8, 2018, the President and Secretary Perdue traveled to Nashville where the President delivered his Rebuilding Rural America address, his first major speech targeted toward agriculture and rural areas. The President and Secretary Perdue took this opportunity to unveil the task force recommendations to the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau. While there, the President also signed two executive orders making rural Broadband connectivity a priority of the Administration. Burton Eller was invited to represent the National Grange as a VIP guest of the White House for the President's speech and signing of the executive orders.

The major Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity recommendations are:
• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America (fundamental catalyst to transform rural America)
• Improving Quality of Life (education, health services, rural housing, infrastructure, community resiliency)
• Supporting a Rural Workforce (available, reliable, trained, skilled, educated)
• Harnessing Technological Innovation (sound science, biotechnology, research, development, productivity)
• Developing the Rural Economy (access to capital, natural resources, regulatory reform, global market, infrastructure, tax reform)

Farm Bill

Work Officially Begins

The House Agriculture Committee plans to officially begin work February 14 on the 2018 Farm Bill. Unofficial work on the bill has been ongoing for months at the staff and leadership levels at both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. As Grangers know, farm bill legislation covers much more than farms and farmers; it also includes conservation, trade, forestry, energy, credit for beginning farmers, infrastructure, jobs, research, and nutrition. In fact, 80 percent of farm bill spending is for food assistance and feeding programs. The more traditional role of the farm bill protects against farm losses due to natural disasters through disaster assistance and crop insurance. It also provides a cushion for the individual producer who suffers a poor yield or low prices through a series of farm payment programs tied to specific commodities.

Dairy and Cotton "Fixes"

The safety net /loss protection programs for dairy and cotton in the last farm bill have not worked as envisioned. As a result, dairy and cotton producers have suffered disproportionate price loss compared to other commodities. Lawmakers hope to address stronger provisions for dairy and cotton in a disaster relief bill or an omnibus spending bill to get these costly provisions out of the way before the farm bill debate heats up. Should that not happen, dairy and cotton could become stumbling blocks in farm bill negotiations later on.

Food Stamps and Crop Insurance in Play

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, continues to consume the lion's share of farm bill expenditures with 42 million people receiving SNAP benefits. USDA and some Republican members of Congress are looking at work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients. Another large farm bill expense item is crop insurance where USDA subsidizes premium costs to the producer. Several groups and some Democratic members of Congress are calling for an annual subsidy cap of $50,000. With calls from constituents to fund new farm bill programs and expand crop insurance for beginning farmers, vegetable growers and organic producers amid tough budget constraints, Congress will be challenged to find savings wherever they can. SNAP and crop insurance will be major hurdles for farm bill negotiations. The $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress last month could make passing a farm bill more difficult by starving programs of funds.

Health Care

ObamaCare Becomes More Acceptable

Congress has steadily been taking the sting out of ObamacCare. In the last two months, they have repealed the law's insurance mandate and delayed a slew of controversial taxes including the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost private health plans. More popular provisions of the law, including subsidies to help people buy coverage, expansion of Medicaid, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, remain in place. People who qualify for the subsidies can find affordable coverage but those who do not qualify face much higher premium costs.

CHIP Agreement Passed

With strong bipartisan support, Congress has extended the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2023. The $124 billion federal expenditure will provide six years coverage to nearly 9 million children and 275,000 pregnant women.

Work Requirements for Medicaid?

Guidelines could be released soon by the Trump Administration to require Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive coverage. Work requirements would only take effect if a state chooses to apply for a waiver from the federal government to impose work requirements. Currently nine states are applying to impose work requirements.

Immigration

Immigration Shutters the Government

While not readily apparent to the public, the three day government shutdown in mid-January was more about immigration than funding the government. The bottom line was that Senate minority Leader Schumer (R-NY) and President Trump reached an impasse on an immigration deal. Schumer wanted to protect 700,000 so-called Dreamer/DACA immigrants from deportation and offered the President a $25 billion border wall. We're not sure what the President's counter offer was, but it caused Schumer to pull back his border wall offer and the federal government closed down for three days.

Congress Looks for Agreement

Behind the scenes, lawmakers from both parties continue to look for common agreement ground. A bipartisan group of Senators, Flake (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), and Graham (R-SC), are working on a deal that includes legal protection for Dreamers, border security, and restrictions on family migration also known as "chain migration." On the House side, a group of 150 representatives are supporting a bill by Goodlatte, (R-VA), Labrador, (R-ID), McSally (R-AZ) and McCaul, (R-TX).

Their package would allow DACA recipients a three-year renewal of legal status, but with no special pathway to citizenship (though they could apply for citizenship through normal legal pathways). It would also reduce legal immigration by 25 percent, add border control agents, and deny certain funding to so-called "sanctuary cities". The big question is whether Congress will attempt major comprehensive immigration reform or settle for a few targeted reforms like Dreamers and border wall.

Ag Workers Included

The House bill also includes the AG Act that was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee in October and strongly supported by the agriculture and food communities. The AG Act creates a new H-2C program that authorizes a 2-year work permit for work in agriculture, establishes an E-Verify system, caps worker numbers at 450,000 and requires health insurance coverage. The National Grange is a member of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and is working to include the AG Act in any immigration legislation considered by Congress.

Infrastructure

Legislation to upgrade our nation's neglected highways, bridges, broadband, locks, dams, water systems and other public assets may have a good chance to garner bipartisan support from Congress. The tax bill is done. Next come the budget (the continuing resolution expires February 8) and immigration battles. Infrastructure brings up the rear of major legislative initiatives for 2018 and is far less partisan than taxes, budgets and immigrants. Every congressional district has serious infrastructure concerns.

President Trump pushed his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his State of The Union address. His plan calls for 25 percent of infrastructure funding to be devoted to rural areas defined as areas with less than 50,000 population. A key question is how much funding would come from the federal government and how much would need to be funded by public-private partnerships. The National Grange is a member of the Rebuild Rural Coalition which is pushing for several rural infrastructure priorities including rural Broadband deployment.

A Touch of Common Sense

"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire

"It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor." - Max Eastman

"Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." - Publilius Syrus

"The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense." - Thomas Edison

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people." - W.C. Fields

Please join us in Washington, DC on April 15 - 18, 2018 as we begin our work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange priorities.

CLICK HERE FOR HOTEL, SCHEDULE AND ONLINE REGISTRATION!

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email beller@nationalgrange.org



January 2018



Dear Grange Member,

Now that you've had time to build excitement for our 2018 Grange Month theme, "That's the Grange Way," it's time to place your orders for supplies and share your Grange pride with everyone! Order online now at The New Grange Store at Monroe Classic or download the order form and submit by MARCH 1.

GRANGE MONTH PROMOTIONAL ITEMS ORDER FORM

DOWNLOAD A FREE POSTER TO PROMOTE YOUR EVENT

This year, instead of a Grange Month Participation Form, we have created a Grange Health Survey and encourage every Grange to complete and return the survey as soon as possible. You will receive direct tips and suggestions based on your responses.

GRANGE HEALTH SURVEY

We'd also love to hear from each and every one of our members, and help us define the Grange in our 150th year! What is "The Grange Way?"

SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE HERE!

Finally, don't forget to get a few copies of Good Day! magazine to share with potential members at your Grange Month event!

ORDER A GOOD DAY! MAGAZINE ONLINE TODAY!


The revised National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry Digest of Laws, 2018 Edition, that applies to all Granges of the Order, including Junior, Subordinate, State and Pomona's, is available for free download on the National Grange website. Click below to save or print the PDF.

You may also order a printed copy of the Digest through the Grange Supply Store for $20 plus shipping. It includes all 112 pages with cover hole punched and bound in a three-ring binder that allows you to quickly slip in updated pages as they become available each year.

There were few changes in 2018, mainly regarding language about trusts, now referred to as custodial accounts. Please do take time to familiarize yourself with the Digest.

Download Digital Version of Digest



IN THIS ISSUE:

• Get ready to share 'Grange Way' in 2018
• Get ready for Grange Month!
• Have you missed us? Special double issue to arrive in mail soon
• Youth Focus: Community Service Award
• Make plans to attend a region conference • Trump, Purdue make rural broadband a priority
• Program possibilities abound from Lecturer
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Grange Month Community Citizen and Public Service Awards
• 2018 Subordinate Grange Survey
• Proclaim Grange's great Legacy in 2018!
• Fundraiser: Grange Foundation challenge coins
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest
• 2018 National Grange Photography Showcase
• 2018 Evening of Excellence participants guidelines
• National Grange Building Fund pledge form
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation

View the Latest Newsletter


POLICY UPDATES AND ISSUE NEWS

Looking Back and Looking Ahead


The nation's capital has been an interesting place throughout 2017 to say the least. Donald Trump shocked a large portion of the American public to become our 45th President. After his inauguration, it took the FBI an inordinate amount of time to run background checks on his cabinet and subcabinet appointees because of heightened security concerns. Some appointees still have not been confirmed.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue emerged as a popular and respected spokesman for agriculture and rural residents. The farmer, businessman and former governor now serving as Secretary appears to have the President's ear on USDA matters and he's very popular in the countryside. The President and Secretary are keeping campaign promises to reduce burdensome regulations and rein-in government overreach for producers and landowners.

President Trump has the most exercised thumbs in the history of the Presidency. His tweets have set a new precedent for social media, public policy, diplomacy and the presidency. He continues to keep Washington and the media off guard.

The Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House of Representatives during 2017. Yet healthcare reform went down in flames. The legislative process moved at a snail's pace all year. Tax reform eventually passed both houses along party lines and was signed by the President. The final tax package will require considerable time and expertise to analyze. The jury is still out on the new law's benefits. Several pieces of "must-do" legislation were kicked into January, including the FY'18 budget, debt ceiling and fate of the young immigrant "Dreamers" who were brought to the United States as children without documentation.

The National Grange had fun early in the year observing Washingtonians learn how to spell R-U-R-A-L again. The rural vote that pushed President Trump to victory suddenly captured the attention of writers, broadcasters, political pundits, public policy wonks and so-called "coastal elites". Farmers, ranchers, small businesses, rural residents and small town Americans suddenly were rediscovered.

It's interesting to note that numerous individuals and organizations claim to speak about rural America, speak into rural America, speak from rural America and supposedly speak for rural America. Yet the Grange is the primary organization speaking as rural America's farmer, rancher, rural resident and small town citizen.

Moving into 2018, Washington's political climate could deteriorate further as politicians focus on mid-term elections. Democrats believe they can recapture the House and are keeping their eyes on the Senate. Bipartisan compromise on the budget, federal deficit, welfare reform, infrastructure, immigration, healthcare and a farm bill could be illusive.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) will remain part of the farm bill under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. SNAP reforms will be keenly bipartisan and are expected to be relatively modest such as preventing duplicative SNAP benefits and taking a look at able-bodied adults without dependents on SNAP benefit rolls.

Senate Republicans now have only a one vote 51-49 majority after Democrat Doug Jones prevailed in the recent Alabama election. Not all senators of either party agree on every issue. Therefore, major pieces of legislation moving through the Senate in 2018 may require bipartisan negotiation to pass.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) will remain part of the farm bill under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. SNAP reforms will be keenly bipartisan and are expected to be relatively modest such as preventing duplicative SNAP benefits and taking a look at able-bodied adults without dependents on SNAP benefit rolls.

Government Funding, Budget, Shutdown Deadline and Disaster Aid

Congress ran home for Christmas without resolving spending battles and deadlines. That means lawmakers have to work diligently to avoid a government shutdown by January 19 when the short term continuing resolution expires. Democrats may not agree to a funding deal to keep the government running without a deal to protect young immigrants, the "Dreamers", from being exported beginning in March.

Lawmakers of both parties are also under pressure to increase the budget caps and prevent automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. A deal will be difficult to negotiate with both sides battling over defense vs. nondefense spending increases. If a deal can be reached, congressional appropriators can work on a package to fund the government through next September.

The Senate failed to take up a House-passed disaster relief bill for hurricane, flood and wildfire victims before Christmas. Battles between states for funding levels will have to be resolved by home-state Senators before aid can be approved.

Health Care

A surprisingly high number of people signed up under ObamaCare during the recent enrollment period. Health care professionals suggest that a core group of people wants health insurance even though it is a smaller and less functional program than originally hoped for. The zeal for repealing the law appears to be fading somewhat in Congress. Congress might actually take bipartisan steps to mend the law in 2018 starting with efforts to stabilize insurance markets.

Legislation authored by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and signed into law by president Trump will add skilled nursing facilities to the Rural Health Care Program. Skilled nursing facilities provide the same services that are traditionally housed at hospitals but are often remote from doctors and sophisticated laboratory and testing facilities. This new program addition will provide vital health care services in remote areas with little or no access to many types of doctors and specialists through high-capacity broadband connectivity.

Our nation's opioid epidemic shows no signs of abatement in the drug crisis facing Americans according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths in 2016 was 21 percent higher than 2015. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) doubled from 2015 to 2016.

As we reported last month, a Morning Consult study sponsored by the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union found that, • 74% of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by the opioid epidemic • 3 in 4 farmers say it is easy to access large amounts of opioids without a prescription • Only 1 in 3 rural adults say it would be easy to access drug addiction treatment

The AFBF and NFU have now launched a campaign to provide access to information and resources that can help struggling farm families and rural communities; see the website, www.FarmTownStrong.org.

National Grange president Betsy Huber released a statement in December commending the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on their proposed Medicare Part D rule aimed at driving down out-of-pocket costs at pharmacies. The rule will make it harder for Pharmacy Benefit Managers to pocket rebates and discounts intended for consumers and help ensure these savings actually get to patients.

Telecommunications

The National Grange is intrigued by a new possibility to close the rural broadband gap by using TV "white spaces" spectrum. These are vacant channels that use TV frequencies that are generally cheaper than fiber optic cable. Using unlicensed low band spectrum below 700 Mhz, signals can travel over hills and through buildings to deliver broadband connectivity. Of the 34 million Americans that lack a broadband connection, over 23 million live in rural areas.

Early in December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal a set of two-year-old regulations patterned after 1930's telephone utility anti-monopoly statutes. Known as "net neutrality", these rules required internet providers to treat web content equally. Under the FCC's new plan, broadband providers can tier internet speeds for websites based on user-traffic and charge extra for access to content such as Netflix and Facebook.

One of the National Grange's major policy priorities is to expand high speed connectivity to homes, schools, libraries, farms ranches, businesses, hospitals, clinics and first responders in rural and small town America. The reason rural residents don't have broadband now is because of the ole "pay for" rule; there just aren't enough of us to pay the capitol expense of getting us connected under a utility-based system like net neutrality. We may have to pay a little more for the broadband investment in rural areas that weren't financially viable before. For rural and small town America, the argument is all about getting connected, not how fast Snapchat or the latest games and music apps download.

Tax Reform

Legislation to reform the tax code is now history and becomes part of the law of the land. For tax payers, there appears to be some winners, some losers and a draw for others. The majority of new tax provisions will sunset (expire) at some point over the next ten years. If the economy stalls, the sunset provisions will likely kick in. If the economy improves, certain tax code provisions can be extended by Congress.

The agriculture community is generally pleased with the net results of the tax bill. Of course, not all agricultural producers and small business owners are affected the same way by tax law changes. The best advice is to consult your accountants and tax advisors.

Here are some key provisions of the new tax law for Grangers:


• Individual tax rates - Seven brackets, lower rates for most taxpayers (10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, 37%)
• Personal standard deduction - Doubled to $12,000 for single and $24,000 for married joint filers
• "Pass-through" business income tax treatment for farms, self-employed workers and small businesses - Deduction allowed for 20% of "pass-through income, up from 15% deduction for most tax payers, which will likely lower farmers' effective tax rate
• Estate or "death" taxes - Exemption doubled from $5.1 million to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for qualifying couples
• Child tax credit - Doubled to $2,000 credit for each child.
• Mortgage interest deduction - Threshold lowered from $1,000,000 to $750,000 for new mortgages
• State and local tax deduction - Deduction capped at $10,000
• Corporate tax rate - Lowered to 21% from 35%
• Cash accounting - Cash accounting is preserved for agriculture and small business
• Section 179 expense - Deduction raised from $500,000 to $1,000,000 indexed for inflation; allows a producer to expense rather than depreciate capital purchases of machinery, property (except structures) and software
• Net operating losses (NOL) - Allows two years carryback for farms
• Capital gains - Unchanged (up to 23.8%)

The National Grange neither supported nor opposed the tax bill as it moved through Congress. The priority for the Grange was to assure the best tax advantage possible for Grange members.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email beller@nationalgrange.org



December 2017


Disqualification and Substantial Relationship

On December 26, Judge Ottenweller of the California Superior Court for Sonoma County granted the motion filed by the National Grange, California State Grange, and Bennett Valley Grange No.16 to disqualify the Ellis Law Group as counsel for Bennett Valley Guild in the Bennett Valley Grange lawsuit. As you will recall, in 2016, the Ellis Law Group hired an attorney who had previously represented the National Grange and California State Grange in the main state court lawsuit in Sacramento, and failed to put any effective "ethical screen" in place to prevent that lawyer from disclosing the Grange's confidential information to the Ellis Law Group. In this motion, the Court made short work of Bennett Valley Guild's arguments, concluding that the access to the Grange's confidential information and the fact that there is a "substantial relationship" between the Bennett Valley Grange lawsuit and the main state court action in Sacramento required disqualification. Indeed, with respect to the substantial similarity of the two cases, the court held that "[b]oth are essentially identical, being a dispute over the Grange identity, rights to the same property, name, etc. The only difference is that this case involves a dispute over the specific local branch and its property. Otherwise, the issues, law and facts appear necessarily almost the same." We agree: the law and facts underlying Judge Brown's judgment in the main state court action, and the appellate court's opinion affirming that judgment, apply equally to Bennett Valley Grange and its property.

You can view the Sonoma Superior Court's order here. As always, we urge you to read the court documents and not simply rely on the "spin" that will come from the Guild.

This order marks the third California State trial court (Judge Brown in main state court action; Judge Cadei in the Foundation lawsuit; and now Judge Ottenweller in the Bennett Valley Grange lawsuit) to have disqualified the Ellis Law Group. The Third District Court of Appeal has also disqualified the Ellis Law Group from representing the Guild in any appeal. The lesson from these cases is clear: the Ellis Law Group is ethically prohibited from representing the Guild in any way against the Grange. If the Ellis Law Group attempts to represent in the Guild in any future lawsuits, the Grange will move promptly to disqualify that firm. If your Grange has relied on advice from the Ellis Law Group, we hope that you will consider these rulings (as well as the appellate court's opinion in the main state court case) and ask yourself whether relying on the Ellis Law Group is a prudent course of action.

$12, 379 - Funds Raised Funds Delivered and accounted for ....

Redwood Valley Grange members, Tim Easterbrook, Nori Dolal & Cathy Monroe and Gary Daley Wyndotte Grange Member. They all tragically experienced total losses. - Granted: $1,000 to each family to support their needs.

Redwood Valley Grange received a check for $2,500 specifically designated to them via the fund-raising efforts of Whitesboro Grange #766 - Granted: $2,500 to utilize for the specific purposes of victims, first responders and unusual expenses Redwood Valley Grange Member Sara Nielsen - Complete loss of winter Feed - Granted: $250 for replacement - Livestock Feed Assistance -

Bodega Bay Grange - provided their Grange for emergency relief. Granted: $500 to help support increased expenses.

North Fork Grange - A central staging and evacuation location for its community. Granted: $1,000 To aide in unusual expenses and to be used to benefit those effected by the fire and first thank first responders.

Bennett Valley Grange - Our historic Hall saved by the heroic efforts of local fire fighters - Granted $1,000 - First responders recognition and thank you event - (spring 2018) $1,000

Wyndotte Grange - Provided Grange Hall as a central command center. Granted - $500.00 for unusual business expenses

Set aside pending verification - Member $1,000 -

Community Service Program - to support ongoing community disaster awareness program Granted: $250

All request and ideas were brought before the board and unanimously approved for disbursement. As any trailing fees come in we will report their disposition. Below is a report prepared by the California State Grange CFO - Gary Abreim and affirmed by the Board.

Thank you -

The California State Grange would like to sincerely thank the staff of the National Grange for facilitating this project on a spur of the moment reaction, specific shout out to Stepanie Wilkins (NG - IT) and Stewart Hughes (NG - Controller). Without their support we would have never pulled this very important work supporting members and our communities, off. We would also like to thank the Board of Directors of the National Grange Foundation for their support in this endeavor and allowing the California State Grange to utilize the foundation in the spur of the moment.

AND

Thank you - GRANGE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE GRANGE FROM ACROSS THESE UNITED STATES for you charitable donations. The charity and caring values of our fraternity shined brightly and proudly. With Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity - Again thank you!
$12, 379 - Funds Raised Funds Delivered and accounted for ....

Redwood Valley Grange members, Tim Easterbrook, Nori Dolal & Cathy Monroe and Gary Daly Wyndotte Grange Member. They all tragically experienced total losses. - Granted: $1,000 to each family to support their needs.

Redwood Valley Grange received a check for $2,500 specifically designated to them via the fund-raising efforts of Whitesboro Grange #766 - Granted: $2,500 to utilize for the specific purposes of victims, first responders and unusual expenses Redwood Valley Grange Member Sara Nielsen - Complete loss of winter Feed - Granted: $250 for replacement - Livestock Feed Assistance -

Bodega Bay Grange - provided their Grange for emergency relief. Granted: $500 to help support increased expenses.

North Fork Grange - A central staging and evacuation location for its community. Granted: $1,000 To aide in unusual expenses and to be used to benefit those effected by the fire and first thank first responders.

Bennett Valley Grange - Our historic Hall saved by the heroic efforts of local fire fighters - Granted $1,000 - First responders recognition and thank you event - (spring 2018) $1,000

Wyndotte Grange - Provided Grange Hall as a central command center. Granted - $500.00 for unusual business expenses

Set aside pending verification - Member $1,000 -

Community Service Program - to support ongoing community disaster awareness program Granted: $250

All request and ideas were brought before the board and unanimously approved for disbursement. As any trailing fees come in we will report their disposition. Below is a report prepared by the California State Grange CFO - Gary Abreim and affirmed by the Board.

Thank you -

The California State Grange would like to sincerely thank the staff of the National Grange for facilitating this project on a spur of the moment reaction, specific shout out to Stepanie Wilkins (NG - IT) and Stewart Hughes (NG - Controller). Without their support we would have never pulled this very important work supporting members and our communities, off. We would also like to thank the Board of Directors of the National Grange Foundation for their support in this endeavor and allowing the California State Grange to utilize the foundation in the spur of the moment.

AND

Thank you - GRANGE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE GRANGE FROM ACROSS THESE UNITED STATES for you charitable donations. The charity and caring values of our fraternity shined brightly and proudly. With Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity - Again thank you!


On December 15, the Guild filed a petition for re-hearing with the Third District Court of Appeal, arguing that its opinion affirming Judge Brown’s judgment was erroneous for a number of reasons. You can read the Guild’s petition here. On December 19 (2 business days after the petition was filed), the Court of Appeal summarily denied the petition. That order is here. The Court of Appeal’s quick and emphatic rejection of the Guild’s arguments underscores the Court’s confidence in the legal and factual bases for its opinion. California law and the Grange’s rules are clear, as the Court of Appeal recognized. See the Third District Court Opinion Here 11/30/17.

IN THIS ISSUE:

• During season of giving, don't forget the Grange
• Grange shines at 150th Birthday Gala
• Junior Pen Pal program unveiled
• December merit badge spotlight
• Long-standing partner gets makeover
• Like people, Granges can benefit from 'preventative health screenings,' too
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation
• Lecturer's round up and preview
• Guidelines for Grange Leaders, a new Supply Store item
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Proclaim Grange's great Legacy in 2018
• Celebration of the National Grange Sesquicentennial Anniversary
• National Grange building fund pledge form

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150 National Grange Gala


An impressive evening put together by the hard working staff of the National Grange. Our reputation and results continue to provide platforms and opportunities for us to "make a difference and effect change". Its up to us to capitalize on those opportunities to do something meaningful for our communities, state and nation.

Our reputation and results continue to provide platforms and opportunities for us to "make a difference and effect change". Its up to us to capitalize on those opportunities to do something meaningful for our communities, state and nation.

We had the opportunity to meet with Senator Loretta Sanchez 47th district and she introduced us to Dr. Unac Governor of San Juan Argentina and Mr. Ejarque the Head of Economic Development. The 2 commented about the similarities of climates of Argentina and California’s agricultural environment and invited us to a meeting in March. A very special and unexpected opportunity for us to explore international partnerships.

Have a Good Day!

Chris Hamp, National Lecturer

I know that each and every one of us is busy busy. It is fair season, for most of you it is getting ready for State Convention time, and of course, it is that glorious time of the year when seemingly everything in our gardens is ready to be canned, frozen or dried!

I am asking you to encourage your Granges and Granges to subscribe to our new National Grange magazine, Good Day!

This is a quarterly publication of the highest quality! In my opinion, Good Day! Is a beautiful, glossy, substantive magazine with a breath of content and information that can keep any reader interested and absorbed. I’m positive that you will also find a plethora of ideas for Lecturer’s programs (bonus!).

Please use this link to order a subscription. You can pay online, or you can mail subscription form to the National Grange, using this link to print a pdf order form.

Be Awesome! Be a Doer!


Click to subscribe on National Grange website!


Click to download pdf subscription form!

Today, December 4th, as we celebrate the first 150 years of service by Grange members across the nation, we unveil a new initiative that will propel us into our next century and a half: The 1 in 1,000 Club through the Grange Foundation.

The Foundation is our affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit that supports initiatives of the Grange including training and activities for Juniors and Youth, leadership development and outreach opportunities for all members, deaf activities, the Kelley Farm and many other causes close to the heart of the Grange Family.

The 1 in 1,000 Club, introduced during the 151st Annual National Grange Convention in November and officially launched today, allows you to invest in the future of the Grange while taking your place at the table of an exclusive support club with a limited 1,000 spaces available.

To join, fill out the attached form to reserve your place in the 1 in 1,000 Club and choose to be invoiced or make a payment in full or payment plan to contribute $1,000 to the charitable Grange Foundation - a contribution that may be tax-deductible; contact your financial or tax advisor. Club members will enjoy some exclusive benefits including invitations to special dinners and events, detailed correspondence about the Foundation's activities and more. Club members will also receive a pin and certificate to honor their status in the philanthropic circle.

There will only be 1,000 members of this group in perpetuity. When the member passes away, the membership may be first made available to an individual designated by the late Club member but will require a "renewal" payment of $1,000 in order to keep the membership number. Should the designated individual wish not to renew the membership, it will be offered to the person at the top of the waiting list (or general membership if 1,000 are not already assigned). Groups (Granges, other Foundations, other organizations) who wish to become a member of the Club will require renewal every 10 years of $1,000 in order to keep their number.

Click to download Grange Foundation 1 in 1,000 Club Form!

Grange Policy Devloped for 2018

The National Grange 151st annual convention was held November 7-11, 2017 in Spokane, Washington. As has been the tradition of the Grange for 150 years, policy development was the centerpiece of the national meeting. State Grange delegates from around the country served on seven committees that considered resolutions passed by state Grange conventions and forwarded to the national committees. Resolutions passed by the national committees were forwarded to the delegate body business sessions as recommended new or amended policy positions for 2018. The delegate body adopted 34 public policy resolutions and eight internal policy resolutions from the seven committees. The adopted resolutions now become official National Grange policy. Grange policy development is truly a grassroots bottom-up process that must pass scrutiny at local, state and national levels.

December in Washington

Congress returned to Washington following their Thanksgiving recess to face a daunting December agenda. The House of Representatives passed its version of tax reform earlier in November, but the Senate just began its floor debate on tax reform after Thanksgiving. The final tax package will be a compromise between Senate and House-passed versions hashed out by a Senate-House conference committee and sent back to each body for approval. Their target of is to have tax reform wrapped up and to the President’s desk by Christmas. That could be a challenge since Congress will be in session roughly 15 days before leaving town until January. Meanwhile the continuing resolution that funded the federal government since the fiscal year began October 1 expires December 8. A budget agreement to fund the government for the next ten months is a top priority but it could face a fight from House Democrats if it fails to include legalization of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or immigrant “Dreamers” recipients.

Tax Reform

Reforming the tax code under any circumstance is extremely difficult but this time around there are so many interlocking issues that cannot be ignored. Several Republican senators are concerned about the impact the tax plan could have on the deficit by adding up to $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. The Senate plan would repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, but not all Republican senators are sold on the idea; neither are the Democrats. The Senate will attempt to pass its tax package before attempting a budget deal to fund the government past December 8.

The National Grange is advocating for its adopted tax policies as tax reform moves through Congress. Some of the key provisions are:

• Simplify the entire code and close corporate loopholes, complexities and unfair practices so everyone pays fair share
• Lower the personal income tax rates to allow individuals and families to keep more of their hard earned pay
• Preserve cash accounting for small and mid-sized farms and family businesses so they are taxed only on what they produce and bring to market, not on their production inventory.
• Allow interest deductions for land purchases and production inputs
• Reduce capital gains tax rates so aging landowners have an incentive to sell to young and beginning farmers
• Repeal the death tax so families who have built businesses over several generations of hard work are not forced to sell to developers and others just to pay estate taxes
• Reduce the corporate business tax rate so American companies can compete in a globalized world and have the incentive to bring off-shore taxes back home
• Preserve the Section 199 deduction to allow farmer cooperatives to continue to reinvest in agriculture and rural communities

Tax reform has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. The Senate is debating tax reform and will attempt to pass its bill by December 1. The two bills have several major tax policy differences. A House-Senate conference committee will hash out these differences behind closed doors and will try to present a compromise package to both the House and Senate before Christmas for a final vote.

Health Care

ACA/ObamaCare Signup

Initial signup surged during the first weeks of open enrollment, more than the same period in past enrollments. However, open enrollment ends December 15, much earlier than the past. With such a shortened period, signup numbers could actually drop behind past years. The Children’s Health Insurance Program expired September 30 leaving nine million in limbo. Congress has yet to come to a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize it so this will be another year-end scramble on Capitol Hill.

Opioids in Farm Country

A just-released survey by Morning Consult sponsored by the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union indicates the opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America. In the survey, 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse. Three in four farmers and those who work around agriculture say it would be easy to access large amounts of prescription drugs or pain killers without a prescription. Rural adults overwhelmingly understand that abuse can begin accidentally by using what are deemed to be safe drugs.

Telecommunications

Restoring Internet Freedom


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to repeal a set of regulations that have slowed broadband deployment in recent years. Known as “net neutrality”, these regulations moved from a market-based approach to a regulatory framework two years ago that was designed in the 1930’s to combat telephone wire-line monopolies. Repealing the net neutrality rules as proposed by the FCC should stimulate investment in building and expanding broadband networks in rural and low-income areas. With this proposal, the FCC should move to require increased transparency from internet service providers to allow start-ups, small businesses and consumers to make informed decisions. The National Grange will continue to follow these proposed regulatory changes closely.

Lifeline

The National Grange has long supported the Lifeline program that makes wireless, landline and broadband services available at affordable discounted prices to qualified low-income households. Now the FCC is proposing to eliminate funding to telcom companies which reach about 75 percent of Lifeline subscribers. A GAO report found examples of waste, fraud and abuse in some Lifeline service locations but there was no evidence in the GAO report that rural America was part of the problem. Some in the telcom industry suggest the money could be better utilized for broadband expansion. However, broadband expansion in rural areas is slow and in the meantime, isolated, elderly, disabled and low- income citizens still need a Lifeline connectivity to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, rural America was not adequately considered as this proposal was being drafted. The National Grange will continue to advocate for fixing the problems but keeping Lifeline as an essential service.

Infrastructure

Legislation to rebuild America’s ailing infrastructure could become a casualty of tax reform legislation moving through Congress. Many of the available options for funding infrastructure repair may be used instead to pay for tax reform. As an example, it appears Congress is poised to eliminate the deduction on tax-exempt private activity bonds which are used by public-private partnerships to build roads, highways, airports and other such projects.

Agriculture

Last summer, Senate and House agriculture committee members were hoping to begin the farm bill legislative process before Christmas. That didn’t happen of course. Everything in Washington, especially on Capitol Hill, is backlogged and bogged down. But the agriculture committees have been quietly negotiating and drafting farm bill language behind the scenes and in a bipartisan manner. Leadership of both committees say they’ll be ready jump-start the farm bill process in January.

The committees will have limited budgets and increased demands from new players in the farm bill arena. Groups representing organic, natural, local, fresh, sustainable, specialty crops, young and beginning farmers, veteran farmers and more are clamoring for a piece of the farm bill pie. Crop insurance and SNAP (food stamps) will be targeted for reductions to pay for new programs. Oregon Democrat Representative Blumenauer and several colleagues have already introduced an alternative farm bill that trims the more traditional farm programs and highlights numerous small and new programs.

Alternative TV

When a major carrier dropped family-owned RFD-TV from its lineup last year, the response from rural and small town America was immediate. RFD-TV headquarters in Nashville were swamped with hundreds of thousands of letters, emails and notes from fans. Most major TV channels are based on the coasts. By inauguration time, networks were wondering if voters who felt forgotten by politicians also felt forgotten by television networks. Advertisers began to notice RFD-TV’s programming that includes Ag Day, Market Day Report, the Cowboy Channel, FarmHer, Dude Ranch Roundup, Opry Encore, Home Improvement, classic reruns (Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Hee Haw, Larry’s Country Diner, etc,) and more. Another major carrier has now picked up RFD-TV and the network continues to expand. RFD-TV will soon be available in U.S. House of Representatives offices.

Perspective on Values

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil. C.S Lewis

Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values. Dalai Lama

Click to download View from the Hill!

Gas Tax Repeal Petition Instructions

**READ CAREFULLY**

Thank you for helping to repeal the Car and Gas Tax in California by signing the attached petition. Many petitions are thrown out because voters did not fill theirs out properly – so to ensure your petition counts, please read and follow these instructions carefully.

STEP 1 - PRINT Print out the petition (see next page). Do not change the size of the form or adjust margins. Just print as is. You must fill out the petition with a PEN – preferably black or blue pen.

You may have signed up to pledge to sign the petition online – but the ONLY signature that really counts is a signature with a pen on paper of the form you are printing off in this packet. The attached petition (see next page) is the only official form for you to sign.

STEP 2 – SIGN IN TWO PLACES You will need to sign in TWO PLACES on this petition. Why? Because you are technically both signing the petition and circulating the petition.

To sign the petition, go to block one. Print your first and last name, print your street address where you are legally registered to vote, and include your zip code. Then SIGN your name in this block. Please do NOT write in the column that says “This Column for official use only.”

You must also sign the portion for the CIRCULATOR – since you are downloading this form you are considered a “circulator” as well as a “signer.” In the Declaration of Circulator box, print your name, and put today’s date in all date fields. Sign this Circulator block again and write the county you live in.

STEP 3: MAIL BACK THE PETITION

Mail your signed petitions by January 10, 2018 to Reform California PO Box 27227 San Diego CA 92198

OPTIONAL STEP: ASK OTHERS TO SIGN As a circulator on this form, you may ask others in your household or in your circle of friends to sign the other remaining block on this form today as well.

Questions? Just Ask Us! Call us at 619-786-8019. Email us at info@reformcalifornia.org or visit www.ReformCalifornia.org

Paid for by Reform California, FPPC ID # 1268914

Click to get Petition!


We'd like to Thank ..........

and recognize the following generous members, Granges, family & friends from across the country for contributing to the 2017 CA Fires Support Fund:

▪ Abreim - California
▪ Adams - California
▪ Anderson Grange - California
▪ Aromas Grange - California
▪ Bailey - California
▪ Barber - Kansas
▪ Barrell - California
▪ Bennett Valley Grange - California
▪ Bevans - California
▪ Bikoff - Wahington D.C.
▪ Booth - California
▪ Boring - Damascus Grange - Oregon
▪ Calfasso - New Jersey
▪ Charbonneau - Conn
▪ Chernoff - California
▪ B Clouse - California
▪ M Clouse - California
▪ Croucher - New York
▪ Danville Grange - California
▪ Dows Prairie Grange - California
▪ Elsnab - California
▪ Felmer - California
▪ Ferguson - Washington
▪ Founds - California
▪ Fuller - California
▪ George - California
▪ Geiger - California
▪ Gularte - California
▪ Hamp - Washington
▪ Hansen - Caliofornia
▪ Harper - California
▪ Haversat - California
▪ Hill - California
▪ Hite
▪ Hoel - California
▪ Huber - Pennsylvania
▪ Keiser
▪ Kennedy
▪ Komski - California
▪ Kotula - New Jersey
▪ Lamb
▪ Lerman - California
▪ Luttrell - Oregon
▪ Mad River Grange - California
▪ Manning - New Jersey
▪ Marina Grange - California
▪ McKern - Washington
▪ McCord
▪ Mears
▪ Merritt - Oklahoma
▪ Milburn - California
▪ L Moramarco - California
▪ S Moramarco - California
▪ N Moramarco - California
▪ Muchowski - California
▪ New Deal Grange - Maryland
▪ Noah - Oregon
▪ Old Growth Timbers - California
▪ Open Farm Tours
▪ Oregon State Grange Foundation - Oregon
▪ Osterback - California
▪ Pompper - South Carolina
▪ Plank - Indiana
▪ Potomac Grange - Washington D.C.
▪ Ray
▪ Schirle - California
▪ Skinner - Washington D.C.
▪ Stefenoni - California
▪ Taylor Proctor - California
▪ Warner - California
▪ West County Fiber Arts Weist
▪ Wertin
▪ Wilkins - Washington D.C.
▪ Winegar -California
▪ Whitesboro Grange - California




Funds Delivered....

2017 CA Fires Support fund disbursements

3 Redwood Valley Grange members, Tim Easterbrook, Nori Dolal & Cathy Monroe each receiving $1,000 delivered by Jeff Box, President Redwood Valley Grange to assist them in rebuilding after losing everything.

Redwood Valley Grange also received a check for $2,500 specifically designated to them through the fund raising efforts of Whitesboro Grange #766.

Full Accounting

We anticipate having a full accounting by Dec 7th and Complete Disbursement by the Dec 15th. We will send out the complete reconciliation to all that receive these emails shortly.

Thank you

FUNDS are Still Available
Members and Grange's that have needs are the priority. Please send a request to the State Grange via your Master / President to ekomski@castategrange.org

2017 CA Fires Support Fund

Charity

We still have about 1 dozen shirts available.

Donate NOW

Every donation of $25.00 or more will receive this T-Shirt in appreciation of the generosity - "California Granges - Moving Together" The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those effected Members and Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires.