2017 WLRA LEGISLATIVE STATUS REPORT #9


The 64th Wyoming Legislature convened at noon on January 9, 2017 and adjourned late on Friday, March 3, 2017. 485 total bills and resolutions were submitted by committees and individual legislators for the 2017 general session- they can be found here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2017/billreference/BillReference.aspx?type=AL

The Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association had a successful session with 5/7 of our priorities passing and becoming law. Liquor Dispensing Rooms, Ski Safety Act, Transportation Network Companies, Franchise Business Relationships and Service and Assistance Animals all passed. The two bills that we were supporting that failed passage were the Film Industry Financial Incentive and Antelope Hunts. Your association played a lead role in defeating a handful of proposed legislation that would have been harmful to Wyoming’s hospitality and tourism industry as well, see the bills that have died section below. Thank you very much to all WLRA members that participated and weighed in on what was important to your business and your community. We would also like to extend a sincere thank you to those of you that answered our calls to action. Your outreach played a major role in advancing our legislative priorities. The interim between now and the 2018 Legislative Budget Session will be a busy one. The legislature still has to balance a $400 million budget deficit with education funding. The current session generated very little new revenue and cuts alone cannot resolve the deficit. Proposed new revenue sources will be part of the interim discussion and this is likely to include discussions surrounding various taxes. Please remember that your voice is the most important one as it relates to proposed legislation and the positions that the WLRA takes.

Priorities

Support-Wyoming Office of Tourism Biennium Budget
The budget bill (HB-1/ SF-1) was heard on both floors simultaneously over the past few weeks. The WLRA helped defeat 3 proposed cuts to tourism funding. The conference committee assigned to working out the differences between the senate and house versions of the bill met last week and agreed to a budget. There were no further cuts to tourism.

Support- HB 32 Ski Safety Act
Imposes duties on ski areas and skiers. Establishes an assumption of risk for skiers and provides for a release of liability for ski areas as defined. 
Status- passed house and senate. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

SupportHB 114 Service and Assistance Animals Establishes a penalty for those falsely impersonating a Service Animal in a business. Status-passed house and senate. Governor Mead has signed.

Support- SF 45 Liquor Dispensing Rooms
Removes the definition of “dispensing room” for full retail liquor license holders, allowing them to serve alcoholic beverages from anywhere inside their business. 
Status-passed house and senate. Governor Mead has signed.

Support- HB 80 Transportation Network Companies
Would allow companies like UBER to operate in Wyoming. Status-passed house and senate. Governor Mead has signed.

Support- SF 94 Franchise Business Relationships
The bill would define a franchisee's employee as their own and not the employee of the franchisor and would protect franchisor's from unwarranted lawsuits, etc. It helps protect the franchise model of business.  Status-passed the senate and house. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

Bills That Have Died

HB 49 Mountain Daylight Savings Time 
Would place Wyoming into the central time zone for the entire year. Status-failed in House Minerals Committee.

HB 66 Yellowstone License Plates
Would authorize a Yellowstone National Park license plate. Status- failed first reading in House.

HB 85 Unemployment Compensation-Delinquent Employers
Would allow delinquent employers to enter into an installment plan for up to 12 months when warranted.
Status- was not heard in House Labor Committee.

HB 96 Microbrewery permits
Authorizes microbrewery permit holders to dispense malt beverages in areas adjacent to their site as specified. Status - The bill died on the house floor when it was not heard in Committee of the Whole by the deadline.

HB 102 Lodging Tax Rate
Would allow additional 2% local option lodging tax earmarked for tourism related infrastructure. Would allow shifting of lodging tax to be used for up to 4% for infrastructure or up to 4% for promotion with a total of no more than 6% tax imposed. Status- failed in House Revenue Committee-lack of a second motion.

HB 140 Minimum Wage
Bill was amended to raise Wyoming’s non-tipped minimum wage to the federal level of $7.25/hr. Status- failed First reading in the House.

HB 141 Daylight Savings Time Exemption
Would exempt Wyoming from daylight savings time. Status-introduced and awaiting hearing with House Minerals Committee.

HB 149 Lodging Tax Distribution 
Would split local option lodging tax collections from the current 90/10 for local promotion to 50/50 promotion with half going to local government. Status- failed in House Revenue Committee 8-1.

HB 155 Alcohol Administration-Revisions
Bill would privatize alcohol sales and discontinue the Wyoming Liquor Division. The bill would raise taxes on wholesale liquor purchases and create a revenue shortfall for the state. Status- failed House Revenue Committee 9-0.

HB 169- Prohibited Firearms-Business and Commercial Establishments
Bill states that anyone that prohibits the carrying of a firearm on the person's commercial or business premises by an individual legally allowed to carry shall assume responsibility for the safety and protection of the individual while on the premises. Status-never assigned committee in House.

HB 179-Retail Liquor License Fee
Would require public auction to highest bidder for available retail liquor licenses. Status- failed in House Corporations Committee.

HB 234 Airport Support
Would adjust the lodging tax split of 60/30/10 in applicable county to be 10/50 (for airport funding) 30/10
Status- never heard in House Revenue Committee.

HB 269 Prohibited Question on Job Applications
Bill would prohibit employers from asking about applicant’s criminal history on job applications. Status-never assigned to committee. 

HB 290- State Lodging Tax
Would create a 1% statewide lodging tax with 100% collections going to Game and Fish. Status- was never heard in House Revenue Committee.

Support- SF 24 Film Industry Financial Incentive Program
Extends the sunset date for the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Film Industry Financial Incentive Program. StatusThe bill died on the house floor when it was not heard in Committee of the Whole by the deadline.

Support- SF 60 Antelope Hunts
Bill would allow for one additional special antelope hunt per year with up to 80 additional licenses available. Status - The bill died on the house floor when it was not heard in Committee of the Whole by the deadline.

Bills We Were Monitoring

HB 30-State Parks Sites and Fees                               
Allows the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources to adjust pricing on entrance fees and permits as defined. Status- passed House and Senate. Governor has signed.

HB 71 Unemployment Insurance-electronic communications
Would allow Unemployment Insurance notifications to be delivered electronically through email as specified. Status- passed House and passed the Senate. Governor Mead has signed.

HB 82 Local Option Sales and Use Taxes
Would allow local option sales and use taxes to be voted on for increase during a non-renewal year without the threat of losing the tax entirely. Local option sales and use taxes would still be all or nothing voting on renewal year. Status-passed house and senate. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

HB 84 Workers compensation-delinquent employers Would allow delinquent employers to enter into an installment plan for up to 12 months when warranted. Status- passed house and passed the senate. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

HB 92 Payment of wages upon termination-time limits
Would allow employers to pay final pay based upon a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and employee. Status-passed House and Senate. Headed to Governor Mead for signature.

HB 96 Microbrewery permits
Authorizes microbrewery permit holders to dispense malt beverages in areas adjacent to their site as specified. Status- passed house and passed Senate Corporations Committee. Awaiting Committee of the Whole (First Reading) in the senate.

HB 129 Food Freedom Act-Amendments 
Authorizes sales of certain meat products (poultry, live animals and domestic rabbit meat) from producers homes. Status-passed senate and house. Governor has signed.

SF 118- Food Freedom Act Sales-Locations Authorizes homemade food to be sold at retail outlets maintained where homemade food is produced. Status-passed senate and house. Governor has signed.

SF 13 Manufactured alcoholic beverages
Specifies licensing requirements and the amount of samples that may be dispensed
Status-passed senate and house. Governor has signed.

SF 14 Inoperative liquor licenses Reduces the amount of time that owners of a full retail liquor license may remain inoperative. Status-passed the senate and house. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

SF 43 Alcoholic beverages-revisions
Revises specific sections of title 12 related to the sale of alcoholic beverages, as specified. Status-passed senate and house. Governor has signed.

SF 155 Bar and Grill Liquor License Increase
Would increase Bar and Grill Liquor Licenses as specified. Status-passed senate and house. Governor has signed.

Thank you again, so very much for participating in the 2017 Wyoming Legislative General Session. We hope that you found the weekly legislative updates informative. These updates are for you and we are always open to suggestions and comments that will keep legislative updates beneficial to our membership. If you have any comments or suggestions please contact Chris Brown at chris@wlra.org.