2019 WLRA LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATE (#6)
February 11, 2019

The 2019 general session passed the half way mark last week and is scheduled to run through Wednesday, February 27, 2019, with five additional days available if needed. The final count for bills and resolutions listed on the Wyoming Legislature website this session is 499. Bills can be found here

Your association is very closely monitoring bills related to Wyoming’s hospitality and tourism industry and is engaging as necessary.

To be most effective in protecting and promoting our industry at both the local and state level 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 initiatives.

Key dates
     • Wednesday, February 20 Last day for Bills to be reported out of                      Committee in second house.
     • Thursday, February 21 Last day for Committee of the Whole in the second house.
     • Friday, February 22 Last day for Second Reading in the second house.
     • Monday, February 25 Last day for Third Reading in the second house.
     • The session is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, February 27 at midnight.

The following list is comprised of the bills currently listed, related to the hospitality and tourism industry in Wyoming. 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.

HB ** CALL TO ACTION** HB 220- Retail Fairness Act
Three weeks ago HB 220- Retail Fairness Act was rushed through the house process and is very likely to be heard in the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee THIS THURSDAY. HB 220 will create a new 7% corporate income tax on retail and hospitality businesses with 100 shareholders or more. We are working tirelessly to slow this bill down and to defeat it and we have made some progress in the Wyoming Senate.


PLEASE ACT TODAY!
Please follow this link to email senators and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon- let them know TODAY to OPPOSE HB 220!

https://www.votervoice.net/NRF/campaigns/63129/respond

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- Passed the house and introduced to Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee.

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. Passed the house and assigned to Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee. The bill will be heard Tuesday at 8:00 am.


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. There were no other budget amendments for tourism that passed
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0001

HB 99-Public Lands Day
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0099
Would create a Public Lands Day state holiday.
Status-Passed the house and assigned to the Senate Agriculture 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 passed house committee and Committee of the Whole.


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 the senate and house. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SF 138-Malt Beverage and Catering Permits-Fees
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0138
Would reduce the cost of malt beverage and catering permits from $100 to $50
Status-Passed the senate and awaiting introduction in the house


Bills we are opposing


HB 220 Retail Fairness Act
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0220
Bill would create a new 7% corporate income tax on retail and hospitality business domiciled out of state with 100 or more shareholders
Status-Passed the house and assigned to Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee. The bill is likely to be heard this Thursday at 8:00 am. Please see the call to action above!


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-Passed the house and senate committee. Waiting to be heard on senate floor.


HB 71-Equal Pay Penalties
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0071
Would amend penalties for equal pay provisions.
Status-Passed the house and senate. Awaiting Governor’s signature.



HB 76-Wyoming Beer Freedom Act
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0076
Would allow microbreweries to obtain 24-hour malt beverage permits
Status-Passed the house and senate committee. Waiting to be heard on senate floor.


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-Passed the house and assigned to Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.

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-Passed the house and assigned to Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions 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-Passed the senate and assigned to House Revenue Committee.



Bills that have died

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.

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

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.



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.

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%

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.

HB 179-Food Trucks
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0179
Would define regulation on food trucks

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


HB 259 Tourism Funding
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0259
Would change the 60/30/10 local option lodging tax split to 60/20/20 and lowered the threshold to $500,000.

HB 273- Minimum Wage
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0273
Would increase the state minimum wage to $8.50/hr and increase it to $9.75 over a 5-year period.


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




Stay Engaged with the 2019 Legislative General 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