WSCC Legislative Report, Week 2

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The 2018 budget session kicked off last Monday and will run for 20 working days until Friday, March 9, 2018. There were a total of 336 bills and resolutions introduced.  Many did not make the 2/3 vote needed in their house of origin for introduction and some were not even considered. A complete list of all of the bills listed for this session can be found here.

The Biennium Budget will be debated this week.  Mirror budget bills will be debated simultaneously in the house and the senate.  Any differences that are not concurred on in each chamber will be sent to a conference committee assigned by leadership in both chambers to work out the differences.  The budget bill can be seen here.

As a number of bills that could impact the businesses in your communities across Wyoming have been introduced and are working through the process towards becoming law. Your association will be very closely monitoring these and we are engaging as necessary.

The following list is comprised of the bills currently listed, related to the businesses operating in your communities across Wyoming. This list will be updated weekly.  Please watch for the WSC legislative update every Monday for additions and up to date information on our legislative priorities and please keep a close eye out for any “Calls to Action” as needed.

To listen live to the action happening at the 2018 legislature, please click here.

Wyoming Office of Tourism Biennium Budget
The Joint Appropriations Committee is recommending the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) biennium budget at approximately $12.5 million per year or $25 million for the biennium.  The committee upheld cuts that the Governor requested the WOT to make earlier in the year of about $200,000.  Additionally the committee earmarked approximately $200,000 to promote southwest Wyoming.  Wyoming currently ranks 31st in the nation for tourism funding. **Please keep a close eye out for updates and calls to action while the biennium budget is debated this week**
Status- Representative Don Burkhart proposed an additional $2 million cut to the WOT budget which the Joint Appropriations Committee supported.  We will be working to have this funding reinstated this week. 

Wyoming Business Council Biennium Budget
Governor Mead’s biennium budget recommendation for the Wyoming Business Council was flat vs. the last biennium.  The Joint Appropriations Committee applied a cut of about $380,000 that Governor Mead had originally requested the agency to make but then did not include in his budget recommendation.

Bills that we are monitoring
(Please email [email protected] with any feedback about bills that we are monitoring)

HB 10 – Workers Compensation-Exterritorial Reciprocity
Would only pay reciprocity for workers compensation cases in other states that also offer reciprocity.
Status-Passed House Labor and House Appropriations Committees and awaiting first reading on house floor. 

HB 13- Municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction-repeal
Within one mile of municipality, assuming the potential for annexation in the future, new business would need to be built to municipal standards and would be developers responsibility up front.  County commissioners would have final say.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in House Corporations Committee.  

HB 14 Municipal Jurisdiction
Addresses same issues as HB 13 but less restrictive.  County would still have ability to nullify if warranted.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in House Corporations Committee.  

HB 49-Unemployment Compensation Exemption-Seasonal Employees
Would exempt employers that utilize seasonal employees working less than 21 consecutive weeks in a 12-month period from unemployment.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in House Labor Committee.

HB 53- State Education Program
Amends the state’s educational program relating to computer science and world cultures and languages; providing that computer science courses may satisfy certain high school graduation requirements and certain Hathaway scholarship requirements.
Status- Passed introduction and will be heard in House Education Committee.

SF 6 Real Estate
Exempts real estate brokers, salespeople and associate brokers from workers compensation and unemployment.
Status- Passed 2nd reading in the senate.  

SF 18 – Orphan Site Remediation Funding
Non-interest bearing loans available for corrective action related to above and below ground storage tanks and solid waste landfill remediation.  This bill adds orphaned sites to the list making these loans available to orphaned sites for remediation as well.
Status- Passed introduction and House Minerals Committee.  Awaiting first reading on house floor.  

SF 52- Workers Comp Rate Discount – from 10% to 15% for complying with substance testing and safety programs
Status- Passed 2nd reading in the senate.  

SF 89-Local Government Distributions
Appropriates $105 million for the biennium to local governments in a direct distribution.
Status-Passes 2nd reading on the senate floor.

ENDOW related bills
Governor Mead’s Economically Needed Diversification of Wyoming (ENDOW) Committee released their initial recommendations last month and the following are bills related to the advancement of ENDOW’s mission.

HB-19 Wyoming Money Transmittal Act- Virtual Currency
Allows for the use of virtual currency in Wyoming.
Status-Passed 2nd reading in the house.

SF 40 Commercial Air Service Improvement
Establishes the Wyoming Commercial Air Service Improvement Act and creates the Wyoming Commercial Air Service Improvement Council. Tasks the Council with developing a 10-year plan to address commercial air service in Wyoming.
Status-Passed Senate Minerals Committee and awaits first reading on the senate floor.

SF 100 Economic Diversification-Broadband Services 
Creates a broadband development program and matching funds for projects under the program.  The Wyoming Business Council will administer the program.  The bill establishes a broadband advisory council and dedicates $12 million to the program.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee

SF 108 Economic Development and Diversification
Directs the Wyoming Business Council to develop new markets, expand foreign trade efforts, including expanding international markets for Wyoming services, agriculture, products and commodities.  The bill also directs ENDOW to develop a strategy for small, regionally located beef processing plants and mid-large sized plants for international sales. The bill expands the ENDOW committee from 15 to 20 appointed members and directs the committee to review and develop further opportunity for career tech education opportunities in Wyoming.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee

SF 118 Kick Start Wyoming-Economic Diversification
Provides for matching funds for the small business innovation research program; creating the Wyoming research and innovation program, the startup Wyoming and kick start Wyoming programs and houses the programs under the Wyoming Business Council.  Creates an economic diversification account and appropriates $11 million to the programs listed.  Directs the WBC to present a proposal to ENDOW that will assist businesses within the state in priority economic sectors identified in the approved twenty (20) year comprehensive economic diversification strategy no later than July 1, 2018.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee

SF 119 Workforce Development-Priority Economic Sector Program
Establishes the Wyoming workforce development-priority economic sector partnership program to meet the training needs of existing businesses in the state and to provide incentives to businesses to locate and expand within the state through government assisted new jobs training. Appropriates $20 million to the program.
Status-Passed introduction and will be heard in Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee

Bills that have died

HB 44 Alcoholic Liquors Markup Amount
Would raise the mark up on wholesale liquor purchases for businesses buying from the Wyoming Liquor Division from 17.3% to 20.3%
Status- Failed introduction vote. 

HB 45- Mountain Daylight Savings Time
Would place Wyoming on standard central time, eliminate daylight savings time (spring forward and fall back) and creating a new time zone called mountain daylight savings time
Status- Failed introduction vote. 

HB 51- Reporting of Gross Receipts
Would require businesses in Wyoming to report their gross receipts on their annual filings to the Secretary of State’s office so that the state could gather data about gross receipts in Wyoming to possibly be used later when considering a gross receipts tax.
Status- Not considered for introduction.

HB 63- Resident Labor Requirements
Requires resident labor on public projects unless resident labor unavailable
Status- Withdrawn by sponsor

HB 68- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employment
Provides exemption for employers utilizing season employees working 21 consecutive weeks or less in a 12-month period from unemployment.
Status- Not considered for introduction.

HB 104- Wind Energy Production Tax
Increases tax on wind energy production by $3.00 per megawatt hour.
Status-Was not considered for introduction.

HB 118 Wyoming Renewable Energy Policies
Adds all renewable energy to existing wind tax structure and increases to $2.00 per megawatt hour.  Reduces exemption for startups from 3 years to 1 year.
Status-Was withdrawn by the sponsor. 

HB 128- Food Trucks
Provides for the regulation, licensing and rulemaking related to food trucks in Wyoming.
Status- Failed introduction vote. 

HB 154- Build Wyoming Loan Program 
Creates the build Wyoming program providing up to $500 million for loans from the permanent Wyoming mineral trust fund for infrastructure projects.
Status- Failed introduction in the house by 1 vote. 

HB 171- Minimum Wage
Would have raised Wyoming’s minimum hourly wage to $9.50/hr and tipped minimum wage to $5.50/hr
Status- Not considered for introduction.

HB 174- Statewide Lodging Tax
Would have created a 4% statewide lodging tax with half funding the Wyoming Office of Tourism and half being distributed back to local governments.
Status- Not considered for introduction.

Brenda

Brenda

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