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BPAA Biweekly State Policy Updates - June 28, 2019

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  • Gov. Lamont Signs Paid Family Leave Bill: Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law a bill that will provide paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks for all Connecticut employees. The program will be funded through a payroll tax on workers. Some in the business community have opposed the legislation, saying it will leave small employers with a depleted workforce, and that it will make the state less competitive. Read more at WNPR.


  • New Hampshire: New Minimum Wage Bill Headed for a Vote - Associated Press - New Hampshire lawmakers will vote soon on a compromise bill to re-establish and raise the state's minimum wage. Both the House and Senate had passed similar minimum wage bills but they differed in when increases would take effect. A compromise reached last week would set the minimum wage at $10 per hour in 2020 and $12 per hour in 2022. Tipped employees would be guaranteed $12 an hour even as the regular wage is $10. The state currently relies on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, the lowest in New England. Senate President Donna Soucy, the bill's prime sponsor, says it responds to concerns from businesses who said if the state moves to raise the minimum wage, it should be done cleanly and clearly, with plenty of time to implement it. Republican Governor Sununu thinks the minimum wage should be decided at the federal level so its doubtful he’ll sign it – but there’s a chance he’ll let it become law without his signature.


  • Sisolak Signs Bill Raising Minimum Wage To $12 An Hour In Nevada: Higher wages and stronger protections are on the horizon for working Nevadans. Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed Assembly Bill 456 into law, fulfilling one of the state Democrats’ biggest promises from the campaign trail. Under the new law, the minimum wage in Nevada will increase gradually to $12 per hour by over the next five years for employees who are not offered health insurance and $11 for those who are. The incremental increases start July 1, 2020, when the state’s minimum wage will rise by 75 cents, and will continue at that rate each year until it hits its apex in 2024. Read more at Last Vegas Review – Journal.


  • Idahoans For A Fair Wage Seek To Raise State's Minimum Wage Through Ballot Initiative: Idahoans For A Fair Wage wants to see the state's minimum wage raised above its current rate of $7.25 an hour. The federal rate was set in 2009 and in recent years, various states and municipalities have raised the wage on their own. The Fair Wage organization is gathering signatures to put the effort before voters as a ballot initiative. Idaho Matters speaks with the group's co-founder about life on minimum wage and Suzanne Budge from the Idaho chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business about the impacts on small business owners. Real more at Boise State Public Radio.


  • Oregon House Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill: Workers in Oregon are one step closer to a paid family and medical leave benefit. House lawmakers June 20 passed a bill (HB 2005) that would create a state-run program giving workers 12 weeks of paid leave for a personal medical illness, a family member’s medical illness, or a new child. Employees who’ve earned at least $1,000 in wages would be eligible for the leave under the legislation, which passed by a 43-15 vote. The social insurance program would be funded through employer and employee payroll taxes, with workers paying 60 percent and companies putting up 40 percent of a partial wage reimbursement based on a worker’s pay. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would be able to opt out, while self-employed workers could opt in.



  • Bloomberg government reports - North Carolina Lawmakers Approve Budget With Corporate Tax Breaks: The North Carolina legislature has approved a two-year spending plan that would provide companies doing business in the state with additional tax breaks. Lawmakers gave final approval to a budget (H.B. 966) June 27 that would ease franchise taxes and use market-based sourcing to apportion corporate income taxes. The pending measure also would increase the state’s standard deduction, require marketplace facilitators to collect sales taxes, and provide deductions for economic incentive grants. But H.B 966’s fate is uncertain as Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said it contains the “wrong priorities” and lacks the Medicaid expansion he has pushed for. The budget plan “spends more on corporate tax breaks instead of significantly higher teacher pay,” Cooper said after the deal was unveiled June 25. Cooper’s office declined to say whether he would veto the measure. The current vote tally isn’t enough to override a veto.


  • Bloomberg government reports - Wisconsin Lawmakers Strip Governor’s Tax Priorities From Budget: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers will have to decide whether to sign or partially veto a two-year budget that is stripped clean of his plans for a gas tax increase, an overhaul of a corporate tax credit, and nearly $1 billion in tax cuts for low-income taxpayers. Evers, a first-term Democrat, is taking a dim view of Republican-driven legislation (A.B. 56) establishing Wisconsin’s 2019-21 Biennial Budget. The $81 billion budget narrowly passed the Senate June 26 by a vote of 17-16. The Assembly gave its approval June 25 by a vote of 60-39. Democrats voted in lock step against the measure. Wisconsin’s current budget expires on June 30. “We’re cutting taxes, spending billions of dollars less than Evers, and still making crucial investments in our state’s priorities,” Senate Majority Leader Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) tweeted.
    • Evers could veto the entire budget, but that possibility appears unlikely. A June report by Wisconsin’s Legislative Reference Bureau points to legal authority, unique among the states, permitting a partial veto whereby a Wisconsin governor may “strike words, numbers, and punctuation in both appropriation and non-appropriation text, thus giving the governor a role in the lawmaking process in a far more substantial way than simply having veto power over an entire bill.”


  • Bloomberg government reports - Wisconsin Ends Tax Breaks for Businesses Moving Out of State: Wisconsin businesses won’t be able to claim an income tax deduction for moving out of state under a bill signed by Gov. Tony Evers June 24. Evers (D) signed A.B. 10, which bars corporate taxpayers from taking deductions on their income or franchise tax liabilities to move operations beyond Wisconsin or the U.S. The new law (Act 7) ensures “businesses don’t get an unfair tax advantage for moving their business out of Wisconsin,” Evers said on Twitter. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue said it doesn’t have adequate data to estimate the tax revenue loss from businesses moving out of state, but the loss is likely negligible. In a report to the legislature, the department said even if 100 businesses move out of the state and take a deduction on their expenses, the revenue loss would be less than $600,000.


  • Rhode Island House has passed a budget with increased education spending and no minimum wage increase but also exempts feminine hygiene products from the sales tax while adding the tax to digital downloads and streaming services. The Senate still needs to vote on the measure. 




  • What You Need To Know About How Illinois Sports Betting Really Went Down: Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to Illinois sports betting into law Friday in Springfield, the culmination of a winding and messy months-long process. It often looked like it couldn’t possibly come together – until it did. The final days of the legislative session were a wild ride for Illinois sports betting. Rep. Bob Rita and Sen. Terry Link seemed to be like Penn and Teller using sleight of hand to make you think sports betting was under one cup when it was actually under another. Not even the state’s casino industry knew what was going to be in the final bill until votes were called. Legal Sports Report spoke with lawmakers and industry representatives to reveal how Illinois pulled off the trick of legalizing sports betting. It’s a story of misdirection, compromise, hurt feelings, unlikely alliances, and ultimately a bill few thought could get to the finish line. Read more at Legal Sports Report.


  • Sports Betting Lives Free In New Hampshire As Legislature Passes Bill: Sports betting legislation received final legislative approval in the New Hampshire House on Thursday, June 13 as members verbally adopted the recommendation of concurrence offered Wednesday by the Ways and Means Committee. The vote sends the NH sports betting bill to the governor’s desk, where a signature is expected to turn it into law. Read more here at Legal Sports Report.
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