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Jan 12 - State Policy Update

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MINIMUM WAGE

  • California: What you need to know about California's new minimum wage: One thing is always certain for California employers at the start of each year — a number of significant employment-related laws will go into effect. One such area is the continued increase in the state’s minimum wage. Although there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage. Increases will continue through 2023: Back in April 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an increase to the state minimum wage from $10 to $15 per hour. Although this increase to $15 was not immediate, the law did set a gradual increase until it reaches $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2022. For employers with 26 employees or more, the following chart details the scheduled increased in the state’s minimum wage to… Read more here: http://bit.ly/2EAq2Td
  • Missouri: Taxes, labor laws and GOP infighting: how Missouri's next legislative session could shape up: When the state Legislature convenes on Wednesday, expect refocused debate on old issues and new sparring between lawmakers and Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, over his attempts to reshape state bureaucracy. Lawmakers in the overwhelmingly GOP-controlled Legislature are eyeing proposals to weaken union-backed labor laws, alter the state’s legal climate, cut income taxes and expand access to charter schools. Also in the mix will be another push to largely ban lobbyist gifts and an effort to address opioid addiction. While it is impossible to know what will gain traction and what will fizzle during the 4½-month session, GOP leaders interviewed did not mention divisive social issues such as anti-abortion legislation among priorities this year. Meanwhile, a bipartisan coalition of senators has signaled a rocky confirmation process for several of Greitens’ recent appointees, who have taken momentous votes without first earning Senate confirmation. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2FxHWHm
  • Illinois: New Illinois Laws 2018: Business, Commerce, Labor, Regulation – Small Business Grant Program (HB 736): Establishes a small business grant program that will provide money to low‐ income individuals on public aid who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Comptroller Act and Salary Report (HB 623): Changes the State Comptroller Act by requiring State employee salaries to be rounded to the nearest hundred dollar when listing the most recent past year's salary amounts and the current year's total amount or monthly amount for the public. Read more of the laws here: http://bit.ly/2DbIN2s

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

  • The Baltimore Sun reports: “The Maryland Senate voted Friday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers. The legislation, which was approved by the House of Delegates on Thursday, becomes law in 30 days unless the General Assembly acts to delay its implementation — something Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he’s willing to do. Hogan put up a vigorous fight to pick off a few Democrats in each chamber to sustain his veto. His efforts fell short, however. The Senate voted 30-17 for the override. That was one more vote than the bill received in the Senate last year. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat who opposed the bill last year, switched his vote to support the override. After the vote, Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse issued a statement urging lawmakers to change the bill they just passed to bring it closer to the “compromise” bill the governor offered as an alternative.” Read more here: http://bsun.md/2CUeJol

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Washington: The new soda tax in Seattle might be just the beginning as an effort to take the tax statewide continues in Olympia. House Bill 1975 was introduced last February. It’s floated around the finance committee ever since, not moving any further. But on Jan. 8, a resolution was passed to reintroduce the bill. It is strikingly similar to Seattle’s soda tax law, referencing the health effects of sugar consumption, from tooth decay to obesity. It also notes minorities see twice as many advertisements for sugary drinks. Also like Seattle, HB 1975 aims to place a tax on distributors. That tax will likely be passed along to customers. The tax is proposed to be 2 cents per fluid ounce, more than Seattle’s 1.75 cents per fluid ounce. Seattle’s tax rate nearly doubled the price of sugary drinks at Costco. For example, a $15.99 case of Gatorade has an additional $10.34 sugar tax in Seattle. And again, like Seattle, the bill orders that a study should be conducted to determine the impact of the tax. But unlike Seattle’s soda tax, the House bill aims to tax diet drinks, too. It exempts a few drinks, including: beverages with milk as a primary ingredient; drinks for medical use; meal replacement liquids; infant formulas; sweetened medications; 100 percent natural vegetable and fruit juices; alcoholic beverages; and syrups and diet syrups intended for home use. Half of the funds obtained from the proposed tax are slated to be deposited in a public health supplement fund. The other half would go to the education legacy trust fund.

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