2019 WTIC LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATE #8
February 25,  2019

The 2019 general session enters its final week today and is scheduled to run through Wednesday, February 27, 2019, with five additional days available if needed. The final count for bills and resolutions listed on the Wyoming Legislature website this session is 499. Bills can be found here

Your association is very closely monitoring bills related to Wyoming’s hospitality and tourism industry and is engaging as necessary.

Key dates
 
   • Monday, February 25 Last day for Third Reading in the second house.
     • The session is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, February 27 at midnight.

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


Bills we are supporting

HB 66- Lodging Tax https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0066
Creates a 5% statewide lodging tax as an alternative-funding source for growing the visitor economy through the Wyoming Office of Tourism. 3% would be dedicated to funding the Wyoming Office of Tourism. The other 2% would replace 2% of local option lodging taxes across Wyoming eliminating the need to vote on them every four years. Local option lodging tax boards will still have the ability to vote on up to an additional 2% every four years. Your association has been working on the alternative funding initiative for more than 2 years and is supporting this bill as long as the funding derived from the tax remains dedicated to funding tourism at a significantly more competitive level with our surrounding states. For more information about the statewide lodging tax bill please contact WLRA Executive Director Chris Brown at chris@wlra.org
Status-Passed the house and through second reading in the senate. The bill will be up for third and final reading this morning.


Governor’s recommended supplemental budget request of $2.5 million for the Wyoming Office of Tourism.

Wyoming’s marketing program currently ranks 29th in the nation, well below most of our competing surrounding states. This funding is a stopgap that will aid in elevating marketing resources and driving more visitor traffic to Wyoming until an alternative funding source is passed. Status-Joint Appropriations Committee denied the $2.5 million request and approved $500,000. There were no other tourism related amendments that passed
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0001

HB 99-Public Lands Day
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0099
Would create a Public Lands Day state holiday.
Status-Passed the house and through second reading in the senate.


SJ 3-Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SJ0003
Commemorates the 150th anniversary of Wyoming Women’s Suffrage.
Status-Passed the senate and house. Signed by Governor Mark Gordon!


Bills we are monitoring

HB 71-Equal Pay Penalties
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0071
Would amend penalties for equal pay provisions.
Status-Passed the house and senate. Signed by Governor Gordon.


Bills that have died

HB 14 Mountain Daylight Time https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0014
Bill eliminates daylight savings time and would put Wyoming in a different time zone than our neighboring states for a significant period of time each year. The bill would not go into effect until three adjoining states agreed to do the same.

HB 64-Indexing Fuel Taxes
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0064
Would index Wyoming’s fuel tax to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

HB 67-Sales Tax Revisions
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0067
Would remove the sales tax exemption on home-prepared foods, data centers and manufacturing. The bill would reduce the state sales tax to 3.5% and would create a tax on most services.

HB 72- Wage Transparency
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0072
Would prohibit employers from barring employees from disclosing wage information and would prohibit employers from requiring employees to waive wage disclosure rights.

HB 93-Tourism Improvement Districts https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0093
A tourism improvement district, or TID, is a mechanism for funding local tourism promotion activities. An assessment is placed on tourism businesses within a designated geographic area and the funds raised through the assessment are used for specific tourism marketing purposes. The bill will be written as enabling legislation, meaning that it allows for the conversation about Tourism Improvement Districts in your communities but it does not create or mandate anyone to utilize a TID.

HB 164- Wyoming Film Production Incentive
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0164
The Wyoming Film Production Incentive would allow the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) to offer incentives to film companies that shoot in and feature Wyoming in their productions. The bill has no appropriation attached and is enabling legislation to give the WOT an additional tool in the event that an opportunity presents itself.

HB 259 Tourism Funding
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0259
Would change the 60/30/10 local option lodging tax split to 60/20/20 and lowered the threshold to $500,000.

HB 273- Minimum Wage
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0273
Would increase the state minimum wage to $8.50/hr and increase it to $10.00 over a 5-year period.


SF 48- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employees
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0048
Would define unemployment benefits for seasonal employees

SF 101- Wage Offset for Employee Theft
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0101
Would allow businesses to withhold earnings from an employee that has been found guilty of theft from their employer.


Stay Engaged with the 2019 Legislative General Session!

Click here 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 https://www.wyoleg.gov/

To view the Citizens Guide to the Legislature please click here

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


©2018 WTIC, 1825 Carey Avenue, P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003.