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September 2017 Legislative Update

The Wyoming Retail Association monitors and engages in all business related legislative issues at the state and federal level, to protect and promote Wyoming’s retail industry. As Wyoming continues to grapple with a $400 million education-funding deficit, the Wyoming Legislature will continue to explore all options to offset the shortfall. Your association is monitoring and participating in these discussions as we head towards the 2018 Legislative Budget Session, set to convene on February 12, 2018.

Federal Issues

Health Care:  Senate Republican introduced a new bill last week that seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  The latest bill is written by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and shares some features of earlier repeal legislation approved in the House and debated in the Senate, including scrapping the requirement that Americans have health coverage and placing new restrictions on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Republicans can only lose three votes. Senator John McCain, Sen. Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz have all said they are opposed. Senate Republicans need to pass the bill before Sept. 30. After this week, they will lose the ability to use special budgetary rules on an Obama Care repeal that prevent a Democratic filibuster. Senator Susan Collins was the fourth republican this week to state that she would not vote for the bill, effectively killing the effort and as a result, Senate President Mitch McConnell stated that there would not be a vote on the bill.


Tax Reform: Congress plans to release an outline of their tax-reform plan this week, offering some of the first concrete details of a proposal they hope can accelerate American economic growth. Six top White House officials and lawmakers have led the GOP proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax system. Republicans have set an ambitious goal to pass a bill before the end of the year to reduce tax rates and scrap most deductions. The framework, expected to be released later this week, will likely feature dramatically lower rates for most — if not all — households and businesses, according to several people familiar with the plans.

State Issues

Online Sales Tax Collection
As of July 1, 2017 all online retailers selling into Wyoming with more than $100,000 in annual sales or more than 200 transactions annually are statutorily required to collect and remitting sales tax, just like their Main Street counterparts. The passage of HB-19 Sales From Remote Sellers was a significant victory for the Wyoming Retail Association and for Main Street Retailers across our state. While many vendors licensed and began collecting and remitting the owed tax, several of the largest online only retailers entered into a lawsuit with the State of Wyoming over the bill. The South Dakota Supreme Court just heard that state’s case related to the issue and is expected to petition the US Supreme Court to hear the case later this Fall.  Should the South Dakota case hit any unexpected hurdles, the Wyoming bill was written as a perfect vehicle to get the issue in front of the US Supreme Court.  Stay tuned to the WRA e-newsletter as this critical retail issue continues to unfold.

Pharmacy
During the 2017 Legislative General Session the Wyoming Pharmacy Act was amended and updated in numerous chapters. The proposed language related to bio similar was problematic for WRA pharmacy members. We were able to work with the bill sponsor and other interested parties to have the bio similar language removed with an agreement that we would work with the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy on agreeable language to be proposed for the 2018 session. At their September meeting the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy approved our recommended language and the language will be considered as a bill during the 2018 budget session.  The BOP held a public comment period on the following proposed rule changes.  All proposed rule changes were approved as written.

 Ch 2: General Practice of Pharmacy

 Proposed changes to this chapter include further developing regulations for electronic records for dispensed prescriptions. Rules regarding disposal of medication are based on changes in federal rules. Regulations describing the process to transfer a prescription are clarified. The return of prescription drugs to a pharmacy after dispensing is revised. Fees and late fees for new types of distributors are listed based on changes to federal regulations. Ancillary drug supplies for nursing homes and other facilities are revised. Procedures to follow when a pharmacy closes are changed based on information from the DEA.

 Ch 8: Wholesale Distribution Regulations

Definitions have been updated based on the federal Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 (Title II DQSA). Descriptions of several additional license types under this chapter include medical oxygen distributors, outsourcing facilities, third party logistics providers and wholesale distributors of prescription drugs for non-human use. The sections describing “pedigrees” and electronic track and trace requirements are deleted as required by the federal DQSA and state Enrolled Act No. 82, WY Senate, 2017.

 Ch 14: Telepharmacy

Revisions have been included based on Enrolled Act No. 49, Senate, 2017 to define “adequate supervision” and remove the requirement for a telepharmacy to be in a medical clinic or community health center. The restriction of twenty-five miles from a retail pharmacy has been reduced to ten miles with exceptions as enacted. Requirements for video and audio communication systems are clarified. The type of dispensing systems to be utilized has been expanded and record keeping is revised. The statutory requirement for on-site inspections by the pharmacist from the parent pharmacy is listed.

 Ch. 18: Prescribing by Pharmacists

A new chapter was adopted by emergency rule and is proposed in regular rule-making to comply with Enrolled Act No. 50, Senate, 2017 regarding the “Emergency Administration of Opiate Antagonist Act.” Pharmacists are authorized to prescribe naloxone and the rules list the requirements to safely do so. Requirements include counseling the patient or caregiver on when and how to use the rescue product including seeking medical care as soon as possible.

Joint Revenue Committee-Interim
The Joint Revenue Committee met in Buffalo earlier this month to continue discussion about generating revenue ideas to help offset the current economic downturn our state is enduring. The committee has been tasked with generating between $100 million and $300 million in new revenue for the upcoming 2018 budget session. The committee will consider bills to increase taxes on alcohol, corporate/business taxes and a tourism tax at their December meetings in Cheyenne.  While the gross receipts tax bill did not advance a bill to require businesses to report their gross receipts to the Secretary of States Office will be drafted for consideration in December as well.

As the standing legislative committees continue to meet throughout the interim, the Wyoming Retail Association will be engaged throughout the entire process. Please watch the monthly e-newsletter closely to stay informed as the legislature continues to seek solutions to our existing budgetary deficit.

 


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Wyoming Retail Association (WRA)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249