2019 WLRA LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATE
January 14, 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 234 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 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 hospitality and tourism 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 the legislative priorities of the hospitality industry.


Bills we are supporting

HB 66- Lodging Tax https://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-will be heard in House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee on Monday, January 14. 

 

HB 93-Tourism Improvement Districts https://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-The Wyoming Office of Tourism has been called back to present to the Joint Appropriations Committee on Monday, January 13. 
 
 
Wyoming Film Production Incentive- (no bill number assigned yet) 
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-bill waiting to be introduced
 
SF 43 Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility
Would modify the Hathaway Scholarship Program to allow for a career technical aptitude test to satisfy Hathaway Scholarship eligibility requirements.  
Status-Passed committee and first two readings in senate.  
 

  

Bills we are monitoring
 
HB 14 Mountain Daylight Time
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://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-Received for introduction in the house


HB 71-Equal Pay Penalties
https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0071
Would amend penalties for equal pay provisions. Status-Introduced and referred to House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee


HB 72- Wage Transparency
https://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. Status-Introduced and referred to House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee



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

HB 99-Public Lands Day
Would create a Public Lands Day state holiday.
Status-Introduced and referred to House Agriculture Committee
 
SF 48- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employees
https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0048
Status-Introduced and referred to Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee
 
SJ 3-Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day
Commemorates the 150th anniversary of Wyoming Women’s Suffrage. 
Status-Introduced and referred to Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee
 
 



Stay Engaged with the 2019 Legislative Budget Session!

Click here for a list of all legislators’ emails, which is their preferred method of contact.

During the session you can contact a legislator to leave a message by calling the Senate receptionist at 307-777-7711 or the House receptionist at 307-777-7852.

To check on committee schedules, view bills, listen to live broadcasts of the legislative session or find out how individual legislators vote, log on to the Legislative website at https://www.wyoleg.gov/

To view the Citizens Guide to the Legislature please click here

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