2017 WTIC LEGISLATIVE STATUS REPORT #5

The 64th Wyoming Legislature convened at noon on January 9, 2017 and will run until 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=ALL

Key Dates
Last week was crossover week for the 2017 general session. Any bills that were not out of committee in their house of origin by last Thursday died. Likewise any bills that were not out of Committee of the Whole (First Reading) by the end of the day last Friday died as well.

Key Deadline Dates This Week
Monday, February 6 is the last day for Second Reading in house of origin.
Tuesday, February 7 is the last day for Third Reading on Bills in house of origin

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 for the WTIC legislative update every Monday for additions and up to date information on our legislative priorities.

**Thank you very much to all of the WTIC members that reached out to legislators in opposition of the four bills seeking to divert lodging tax collections this session. All four bills failed passage. Your voice made a significant impact!**

Call To Action- Please keep a close eye out during the entire legislative session for call to action emails. This will be a difficult session with many impactful decisions being made at a very quick pace. Now is the time to engage and ensure that our voice is heard as an industry. All call to action emails will come with all of the information you need and should only take you a few minutes to engage. Your voice is the most critical one during the legislative session and it is absolutely imperative that our industry plays an active role this session.

Priorities

Support-Wyoming Office of Tourism Biennium Budget
The budget bill (HB-1/ SF-1) will be heard this week on both floors simultaneously. We are watching very closely for any proposed additional cuts to the Wyoming Office of Tourism budget.

Support- SF 24 Film Industry Financial Incentive Program 
Extends the sunset date for the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Film Industry Financial Incentive Program Status- passed Senate and will be heard in House Travel Committee this week

Support- HB 30-State Parks Sites and Fees
Allows the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources to adjust pricing on entrance fees and permits as defined.
Status- passed House and passed Senate Travel Committee

Support- HB 195 Quebec 1 Transfer
Authorizes transfer of Quebec 1 facility to state.
Status- passed House and awaiting introduction in Senate

Support-HB 82 Local Option Sales and Use Taxes
Bill would allow local option taxes to be voted on for increase mid cycle without the threat of losing the existing percentage on the mid cycle vote.
Status-passed the house and awaiting introduction in the senate

Oppose- 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- awaiting hearing in House Revenue Committee

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 66 Yellowstone License Plates
Would authorize a Yellowstone National Park license plate. Status- failed first reading in House

HB 85 Unemployment Compensation-Delinquent Employers
Would allow delinquent employers to enter into an installment plan for up to 12 months when warranted. Status- awaiting hearing 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
Bill was amended to raise Wyoming’s non-tipped minimum wage to the federal level of $7.25/hr
Status- died on house floor

HB 141 Daylight Savings Time Exemption
Would exempt Wyoming from daylight savings time.
Status-introduced and awaiting hearing with 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

HB 234 Airport
Would adjust the lodging tax split of 60/30/10 in applicable county to be 10/50 (for airport funding) 30/10
Status- never heard in House Revenue Committee

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

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

Monitoring

HB 32 Ski Safety Act 
Imposes duties on ski areas and skiers. Establishes an assumption of risk for skiers and provides for a release of liability for ski areas as defined.
Status- passed House and will be heard in Senate Minerals Committee this week

HB 71 Unemployment Insurance-electronic communications
Would allow Unemployment Insurance notifications to be delivered electronically through email as specified. Status- passed House and passed Senate Labor Committee

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 Senate and awaiting hearing in Senate Labor Committee 

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 senate and awaiting introduction in the house

HB 114 Service and Assistance Animals 
Establishes a penalty for those falsely impersonating a Service Animal in a business
Status-passed House and awaiting hearing in Senate Agriculture Committee

HB 187 Total Solar Eclipse Day
Provides funding for support services during solar eclipse in August 2017
Status-Awaiting hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee                           

Get Involved! Keep up with the Session & Contact your Legislators

Click here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/App_Themes/LSO/PDFContactInfo.pdf 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 http://legisweb.state.wy.us
You can also comment on bills online by visiting http://legisweb.state.wy.us/postcomments/onlinehotline.aspx.

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Brown at 307-634-8816 x 207 or chris@wyotravel.org

©2016 WTIC, 1825 Carey Avenue, P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003.