2019 WLRA LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATE 
January 22, 2019

 

The 2019 general session is underway and is scheduled to run through Wednesday, February 27, 2019, with five additional days available if needed. As of today there are 361 bills and resolutions listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. Bills can be found here
New bills are being added daily with an expected total bill load of about 500.

As a number of bills that could impact the hospitality and tourism industry in Wyoming have and will continue to emerge in the coming weeks. Your association will be very closely monitoring them, as they are posted and engaging as necessary.

To be most effective in protecting and promoting our industry we will need your help throughout the session. Please keep a very close eye out for any “calls to action.” These typically require immediate action, will be simple to read and will include all of the information that you will need to engage. We only use the call to action when absolutely necessary so when you see one please take a moment to read it and engage. Our greatest strength is your voice and you will be needed this session to help support our industry.

 

Key dates
     • Thursday, January 24 Last day for Senate Files to be submitted to LSO for introduction (noon)
     • Tuesday, January 29 Last day for House Bills to be submitted to LSO for introduction (noon)
     • Friday, February 1 Last day for Bills to be reported out of Committee in house of origin
     • Monday, February 4 Last day for Committee of the Whole in house of origin
     • Tuesday, February 5 Last day for Second Reading in house of origin
     • Wednesday, February 6 Last day for Third Reading on Bills in house of origin

The following list is comprised of the bills currently listed, related to the hospitality and tourism industry in Wyoming. There will be many more bills listed in the coming weeks. This list will be updated weekly. Please watch the WLRA legislative update every Monday for additions and up to date information on our legislative priorities.

 

Bills we are supporting

 HB 66- Lodging Taxhttps://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0066
Creates a 5% statewide lodging tax as an alternative-funding source for growing the visitor economy through the Wyoming Office of Tourism. 3% would be dedicated to funding the Wyoming Office of Tourism. The other 2% would replace 2% of local option lodging taxes across Wyoming eliminating the need to vote on them every four years. Local option lodging tax boards will still have the ability to vote on up to an additional 2% every four years. Your association has been working on the alternative funding initiative for more than 2 years and is supporting this bill as long as the funding derived from the tax remains dedicated to funding tourism at a significantly more competitive level with our surrounding states. For more information about the statewide lodging tax bill please contact WLRA Executive Director Chris Brown at chris@wlra.org
Status-Passed the house and awaiting introduction in the senate

HB 93-Tourism Improvement Districts https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0093
A tourism improvement district, or TID, is a mechanism for funding local tourism promotion activities. An assessment is placed on tourism businesses within a designated geographic area and the funds raised through the assessment are used for specific tourism marketing purposes. The bill will be written as enabling legislation, meaning that it allows for the conversation about Tourism Improvement Districts in your communities but it does not create or mandate anyone to utilize a TID. Status-Introduced and assigned to Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee

Governor’s recommended supplemental budget request of $2.5 million for the Wyoming Office of Tourism.


Wyoming’s marketing program currently ranks 29th in the nation, well below most of our competing surrounding states. This funding is a stopgap that will aid in elevating marketing resources and driving more visitor traffic to Wyoming until an alternative funding source is passed. Status-Joint Appropriations Committee denied the $2.5 million request and approved $500,000.

 

 HB 99-Public Lands Day
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0099
Would create a Public Lands Day state holiday.
Status-Introduced to House Agriculture Committee



HB 164- Wyoming Film Production Incentive
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0164
The Wyoming Film Production Incentive would allow the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) to offer incentives to film companies that shoot in and feature Wyoming in their productions. The bill has no appropriation attached and is enabling legislation to give the WOT an additional tool in the event that an opportunity presents itself. Status-Introduced to House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee


SF 43 Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0043
Would modify the Hathaway Scholarship Program to allow for a career technical aptitude test to satisfy Hathaway Scholarship eligibility requirements.
Status-Passed the senate and awaiting introduction in the house


SJ 3-Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SJ0003
Commemorates the 150th anniversary of Wyoming Women’s Suffrage.
Status-Passed Committee of the Whole in senate

Bills we are opposing


HB 162- Alcoholic Liquors Markup Amount
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0162
Would increase the state liquor division markup on wholesale liquor and wine purchases by 3%
Status- Introduced to House Revenue Committee


Bills we are monitoring


HB 14 Mountain Daylight Time https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0014
Bill eliminates daylight savings time and would put Wyoming in a different time zone than our neighboring states for a significant period of time each year. The bill would not go into effect until three adjoining states agreed to do the same.
Status-Introduced and referred to House Agriculture Committee

HB 64-Indexing Fuel Taxes
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0064
Would index Wyoming’s fuel tax to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Status-Received for introduction in the house

HB 67-Sales Tax Revisions
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0067
Would remove the sales tax exemption on home-prepared foods, data centers and manufacturing. The bill would reduce the state sales tax to 3.5% and would create a tax on most services.
Status-Introduced to House Appropriations Committee


HB 71-Equal Pay Penalties
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0071
Would amend penalties for equal pay provisions.
Status-Passed the house and awaiting introduction in the senate


HB 76-Wyoming Beer Freedom Act
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0076
Would allow microbreweries to obtain 24 hour malt beverage permits
Status-Introduced and referred to House Agriculture Committee

HB 179-Food Trucks
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0179
Would define regulation on food trucks
Status-Introduced and assigned to Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee

HB 200-Wyoming Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0200
Would specify accommodations needed to be made for medial needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions
Status-Introduced and assigned to Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee

HB 212-Alcoholic Beverages Business Flexibility
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0212
Would amend microbrewery and wine permit holders to hold manufacturing licenses
Status- Awaiting introduction

HB 219- Alcoholic Beverages-24 hr. Permit
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0219
Would allow liquor manufacturer’ to obtain a 24 hr. catering permit
Status-Awaiting Introduction


SF 52- Special Permit for Alcoholic Beverages-exception
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0052
Would allow exceptions to be made for business owners to sell alcohol at special events.
Status-Introduced and referred to Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee


SF 101- Wage Offset for Employee Theft
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0101
Would allow businesses to withhold earnings from an employee that has been found guilty of theft from their employer.
Status- Introduced to Senate Judiciary Committee




Bills that have died

HB 72- Wage Transparency
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0072
Would prohibit employers from barring employees from disclosing wage information and would prohibit employers from requiring employees to waive wage disclosure rights.

SF 48- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employees
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0048
Would define unemployment benefits for seasonal employees
 

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Brown at 307-634-8816 x 207 or chris@wlra.org