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BPAA Biweekly State Policy Updates - November 1, 2019

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LABOR AND MINIMUM WAGE

  • California Restaurant Association: Cal Savers is a new state program that offers a retirement savings option to people who don’t already have one through work. Employers who already offer such a program need to alert Cal Savers; those who don’t need to register through Cal Savers and implement the payroll deduction. Keep in mind, if employees don’t want to participate, Cal Savers requires them to opt out. Learn more in Sabrina’s video about upcoming compliance deadlines. Please see the video here.

 

  • Bloomberg Government update - Denver Wage Plan Sign of Fight Over Ever-Wider State Preemptions: Denver officials are considering a minimum wage increase for the first time in 20 years—not because there’s been no appetite for it but because state law prevented it until now.
    • new Colorado law effective in August lets cities and counties set minimum wage requirements higher than the state minimum, which is $11.10 per hour. The Denver mayor’s plan, if approved, would gradually raise the city’s wage floor to more than $15.
    • Colorado was one of the earliest of 26 states adopting laws to preempt local minimum wage ordinances. Colorado’s preemption had been on the books since 1999, whereas most of those other states adopted preemption laws in the 2010s.
    • The change in Colorado is a rare one amid the trend of ever-widening state preemptions. States block a variety of local employment mandates that go beyond minimum wage—including paid leave, prevailing wage, and gig economy regulations. And new proposals surface across the country each year, including some that would expand preemptions to cover employee scheduling and LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. Such ordinances tend to be more common in traditionally Republican-led states.

 

  • Bloomberg Government reports - States of Work: Florida Minimum Wage Plan Nears Ballot Hurdle: A citizens initiative to raise Florida’s minimum wage is close to securing enough valid petition signatures to qualify for November 2020 ballots. The proposal would amend Florida’s constitution to increase the state minimum wage to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021, and then add $1 each year until it reaches $15 in 2026, after which it would rise with inflation. The state’s current minimum wage is $8.46 per hour and scheduled to rise to $8.56 on Jan. 1. The state’s Division of Elections has recorded 763,437 signatures as of Oct. 23, according to its website. State law requires 766,200 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Florida attorney John Morgan, who’s leading the campaign, previously said his team had collected more than 1 million signatures but was waiting for the state to review them. Morgan earlier led a citizens campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, which won voter approval in 2016. The minimum wage proposal also still needs approval from the Florida Supreme Court before it can appear on voters’ ballots. If it makes the ballot, the plan would need 60% voter approval to become law.

 

  • Age, Disability Bias Settlement in Ohio: A janitorial service provider in Ohio agreed to pay $315,000 to resolve an EEOC investigation into alleged hiring discrimination based on the ages and disability status of multiple job applicants. Janitorial Services Inc. and Arbeit Inc., collectively known as JSI, also reached a five-year agreement to improve training for hiring managers and adjust company policies to prevent bias, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on Oct. 17. The company allegedly rejected disabled job applicants based on safety concerns without assessing them individually and also declined to hire applicants who were age 40 or older, the EEOC said. JSI is based in the Cleveland area and employs about 850 people, according to its website. A company representative couldn’t immediately comment for this report on Oct. 23.

 

SPORTS BETTING

  • Michigan House Passes Sports Betting Bill; Senate Acts Next: A bill that would allow sports betting in Michigan passed the Republican-led House on a mostly party-line vote Oct. 30. The state would earn 8.75% of “adjusted gross sports betting receipts” paid on a monthly basis under House Bill 4916, which passed 63 to 45. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is considering its own sports book-enabling legislation. The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency estimates that once a Michigan sports betting market matures, it could bring in between $175 million and $225 million in adjusted gross receipts annually. That would raise between $15.3 million and $19.7 million a year.
    • The state would keep a large part in a fund, but share the wealth, giving some to the casino’s city, and some to schools, transportation, and agriculture development.
    • License fees would range from $5,000 to $200,000, depending on what role a business hopes to play in the sports betting system, according to the analysis.
    • Online betting would be allowed.

 

TAX UPDATE

  • Bloomberg Tax reports - Texas Weighs Higher Threshold for An Income Tax: Texas is one of the few states without an individual income tax, and voters will decide in November if they want to make it harder to enact one. Voter approval of the measure (H.J.R. 38) would amend the state Constitution so that a two-thirds supermajority of lawmakers, rather than a simple majority, would need to agree before any future personal income tax proposal is put to the electorate. The Senate passed the measure May 20. It had previously passed the House and didn’t require Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) signature. “Every day more people move to Texas seeking an opportunity to make their lives better for themselves and their families,” bill sponsor Sen. Pat Fallon (R) said in a news release. “A big part of that is they know that a larger portion of what they earn will be kept in their pockets and not go to the government.”
    • Texas lawmakers didn’t file an income tax bill during the last three legislative sessions, Dick Lavine, senior fiscal analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin-based think tank, told Bloomberg Tax. “The imposition of an income tax was not a clear and present danger,” said Lavine, who expects voters to sign off on the amendment. “Most things on the ballot pass, and so we have to expect this will too,” he said.
    • Seventy-one percent of Texans oppose a statewide income tax, according to a February poll conducted by the Texas Tribune.

 

  • The chairs of UTAH’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force released their plan for reforming the state’s tax system last Friday. The plan includes expanding the sales tax to some services, increasing the tax on food to the general sales tax rates, closing some sales tax exemptions, cutting the income tax rate, increasing the exemption for dependents, and enacting a new grocery tax credit. The Speaker of the House would like to see a special legislative session before the end of the calendar year despite the requests of some to “not rush” the process
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