2018 WTIC LEGISLATIVE STATUS REPORT (#1)
February 12, 2018

The 64th Wyoming Legislature will convene at 10:00 am in Cheyenne this morning with Governor Matt Mead’s 8th and final state of the state. You can listen to the state of the state here http://wyoleg.gov/lsoweb/AudioStream.aspx

The budget session will run for 20 working days until Friday, March 9, 2018. As of today there are 222 bills and resolutions currently listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. Bills can be found here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2017/billreference/BillReference.aspx?type=ALL

New bills are being added daily with an expected total bill load of about 300. 

As a number of bills that could impact the hospitality and tourism industry have and will continue to emerge in the coming weeks, and your association will be very closely monitoring them as they are posted and engaging as necessary.

The following list is comprised of the bills currently listed, related to hospitality and tourism 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 the legislative priorities of the Hospitality Industry.

 

Wyoming Office of Tourism Biennium Budget

The Joint Appropriations Committee is recommending the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) biennium budget at approximately $12.5 million per year or $25 million for the biennium.  The committee upheld cuts that the Governor requested the WOT to make earlier in the year of about $200,000.  Additionally the committee earmarked approximately $200,000 to promote southwest Wyoming.  Wyoming currently ranks 31st in the nation for tourism funding and there will no doubt be proposed cuts to the budget as lawmakers grapple with a $600 million shortfall in education funding. We are supporting the JAC recommended budget for the WOT. Please watch for “Calls to Action” very closely this session as we will likely need industry to weigh in against proposed cuts if/when they arise. 

 

Statewide Lodging Tax

The industry recommended 1% leisure and hospitality tax that had been proposed this interim to provide a dedicated funding source for the Wyoming Office of Tourism was defeated in the final Joint Revenue Committee meeting last month on a 6-6 vote.  Leadership from both chambers has been pursuing a statewide lodging tax to fund tourism and get the agency off of the states general fund.  Last week two different statewide lodging tax bills were drafted and considered by the Management Council.  The current proposal would create a 4% statewide lodging tax with 2% of it going towards state tourism funding.  The other 2% would go back to local option lodging tax boards to be used for local promotion as normal.  The bill would then limit the amount of local option lodging tax to be voted on locally at 2% so that counties or municipalities still have the option of having up to 4% for local option lodging taxes.  The WTIC has historically opposed a statewide lodging tax and the board of directors has been active in weighing in on this issue as it continues to develop.  The proposal was heard in front of Management Council on Saturday and did not advance. Instead the committee delayed the vote until this Tuesday evening to gather additional information.  Please keep an eye out for continuing developments on this very important issue.

 

Bills that we are monitoring

(please email chris@wyotravel.org with any feedback about bills that we are monitoring)

 

HB 22 – Quebec 1 Missile Alert Facility-Fees.

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0022.pdf

Authorizes the Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and Cultural Resources to develop entrance fees at the Quebec 1 Missile Alert Facility.

 

HB 37 – Yellowstone License Plates

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0037.pdf

Allows the creation of a limited offer Yellowstone License Plate with procees going towards rest area maintenance and creation.

 

HB 45- Mountain Daylight Savings Time

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0045.pdf

Would place Wyoming on standard central time, eliminate daylight savings time (spring forward and fall back) and creating a new time zone called mountain daylight savings time

 

HB 49-Unemployment Compensation Exemption-Seasonal Employees

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0049.pdf

Would exempt employers that utilize seasonal employees working less than 21 consecutive weeks in a 12-month period from unemployment.

 

HB 51- Reporting of Gross Receipts

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0051.pdf

Would require businesses in Wyoming to report their gross receipts on their annual filings to the Secretary of State’s office so that the state could gather data about gross receipts in Wyoming to possibly be used later when considering a gross receipts tax.

 

HB 68- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employment

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HB0068.pdf

Provides exemption for employers utilizing season employees working 21 consecutive weeks or less in a 12-month period from unemployment.

 

HJ 5- Yellowstone Wildlife Conservation Fee

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/HJ0005.pdf

A JOINT RESOLUTION to the United States Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the National Park Service relating to the imposition of a wildlife conservation fee at Yellowstone National Park.

 

SF 40- Commercial Air Service Improvement

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/SF0040.pdf

Establishes the Wyoming Commercial Air Service Improvement Act and creates the Wyoming commercial air service improvement council and tasks them to come up with a 10 year plan to strengthen Wyoming commercial air service.

 

SF 45- State Fair Board-2

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/SF0045.pdf

Relates to the Wyoming State Fair and its operations.  Requires the Wyoming Office of Tourism to market the state fair.

 

SF 58 – Game and Fish Licenses

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/Introduced/SF0058.pdf

Would change the date a hunting or fishing license expires from a calendar year and would allow the Game and Fish Commission to promulgate rules defining the date that licenses would expire.

 

Click here http://wyoleg.gov/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx 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

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