2017 WRA 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 Retail Association had a successful session with all of our priorities passing and becoming law. Sales from Remote Sellers and Franchise Business Relationships both passed. A handful of proposed legislation that would have been harmful to Wyoming's retail industry was defeated as well. Thank you very much to all WRA members that weighed in on what was important to your businesses. A huge thank you as well for those of you that answered our calls to action and helped get HB 19 - Sales From Remote Sellers passed. This bill represents a significant step forward in achieving a level playing field for our Wyoming Main Street retailers to operate on. 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 WRA takes.

Priorities

Support HB 19 Sales from remote sellers
Bill would require out of state, online sellers, selling into Wyoming with more than $100,000 annually in sales or 200 transactions, to collect and remit Wyoming sales taxes. Status- passed the house and passed the senate. Governor Mead has signed the bill, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017. Thank you so very much for your outreach and tremendous help in getting this very important bill passed this year! A significant victory for Wyoming’s Main Street retailers!

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 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 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
Amended to raise Wyoming State minimum non-tipped wage to federal level of $7.25/hr. Status- failed on First Reading in the House.

HB 141 Daylight Savings Time Exemption
Would exempt Wyoming from daylight savings time. Status-failed in 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.

Oppose HB 151 Cigarette Tax
Proposes to increase taxes on cigarettes. 

HB 168 Tobacco Tax
Proposes to increase taxes on all tobacco productsStatus- failed in House Revenue Committee.                                     

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-was never introduced in the house.

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- was not considered in committee.

HB 267 LLC and Corporation License Fees
Raises license fees on LLC and Corporation License Fees fro $50.00 annually to $75.00 annually. Status- died in Senate Corporations Committee.

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

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.

Bills We Were Monitoring

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

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. Governor Mead has signed.

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. Governor Mead has signed.

HB 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.

SF 53 Veterans hiring preference
AN ACT relating to veterans; specifying the hiring preference in public employment for veterans and surviving spouses of deceased veterans; eliminating the residency requirement for the preference; amending archaic language; and providing for an effective date. Status-passed senate and house. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

SF 62 Tele pharmacy-amendments
Amends the statute authorizing tele pharmacy in Wyoming. Removes the 25 mile distance requirement. Status- passed the senate and passed house. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

SF 121 Wyoming Pharmacy Act- Amendments
Bill makes numerous modifications to the Wyoming Pharmacy Act
Status- passed the senate and passed house. Awaiting Governor Mead’s signature.

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 questions or suggestions please contact Chris Brown at chris@wyoretail.org.