Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
101513 Fall Summit
Share |

Fall Summit Recap & Legislative Outlook

The annual Hospitality and Tourism Fall Summit has historically focused on legislative issues pertinent to Wyoming’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry. The 2013 Fall Summit was no exception as those in attendance learned about changes in health care, proposed increases in highway signage fees and possible changes to unemployment insurance. Additionally we learned about the Wyoming Office of Tourism biennium budget request for 2014-2015 and also about how to speak to your local legislators about Wyoming’s hospitality industry.

Wyoming Office of Tourism Director Diane Shober presented our lunchtime audience with an overview of the year’s marketing success and strategies cautiously noting that early 2013 visitation numbers looked promising. Diane informed the crowd that the WOT 2014-2015 budget request would again include one time funding for continuation of their successful Chicago marketing program. Their request also includes additional funding for two new part-time employees at the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center and some nominal increases to adjust for inflation with TV advertising.

Elaine Harvey, Chairman of the Wyoming House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee provided an in-depth look into our state’s current position regarding the Affordable Care Act while longtime Director of Life, Health and Employee Benefits for Tegeler and Associates helped industry representatives wade through the continuing myriad of regulations that the Affordable Care Act presents to Wyoming’s employers.

Joel Meena, State Traffic Engineer for the Wyoming Dept. of Transportation discussed suggested changes to the highway signage program noting that the program has been operating at an unsustainable funding level. Although the cost of the program to participants would be increased significantly the most alarming aspect of the proposed changes was the "competitive bidding” process that the currently proposed legislation would require.

Joan Evans, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services gave an update on unemployment insurance noting that the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee has been working a bill that focuses on defining employee "misconduct.” Wyoming’s hospitality employers have long argued that unemployment cases were extremely difficult to win, even in seemingly clear-cut cases of employee negligence. Director Evans informed the audience that this bill will continue to be discussed at the next Labor Committee’s interim meeting to be held in Lander next month.

Carbon County H.D. 15 Representative Don Burkhart Jr. discussed Wyoming’s current financial status informing the audience that the Joint Appropriations Committee would again be taking a streamlined, conservative approach regarding our state’s bi-ennium budget in the upcoming legislative session. Representative Burkhart noted that while some state agencies would need to continue focusing on streamlining their budgets, state agencies with "reasonable” requests stood a better chance of approval from the committee.

Our keynote speaker this year was Teton County H.D. 16 Representative Ruth Ann Petroff. Representative Petroff has a long history of working in the hospitality industry and has been a staunch advocate for our industry in her time serving the state. Most notably, Representative Petroff was the primary sponsor of HB 111 Tips and Gratuities-Sales Tax and HB 112-Tip Distribution Policies last session. Her speech focused on "how to talk to your local legislator about the hospitality industry” and was laden with well thought out and pertinent information. Knowing your subject matter well, adjusting the presentation of your information based on who you are speaking to, explaining how your topic impacts your business or community and building a reputation based on integrity were among the many direct examples that Representative Petroff spoke of in what was an extremely educational speech.

The information shared with us at this year’s Fall Summit has the potential to directly impact Wyoming’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry. As the 2014 budget session draws closer, these issues will continue to unfold. Your continued participation in educating our legislators will play a critical role in shaping the climate our industry operates in for years to come. We look forward to working with you in protecting and promoting Wyoming’s second largest industry in the coming months.

Click Here to View the Fall Summit Presentations

Community Search
Sign In
Sign In securely

Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition (WTIC)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249