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BPAA State Policy Update - June 18, 2021

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COVID-19 Updates and Tracking


COVID-19 Updates


  • States to end unemployment benefits for more than 400,000 people this weekend Eight states — Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — are opting out of federal unemployment benefit programs on Saturday.
    • About 417,000 people will lose a $300 weekly supplement and other benefits, according to a CNBC analysis of Labor Department data
    • Residents of Indiana sued Gov. Eric Holcomb this week to keep the aid flowing.
    • Read more here and view the chart.


  • Pennsylvania lawmakers mull end to extra federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits and advance bill to stop employers from requiring vaccine A bill that would end Pennsylvania’s participation in federal COVID-19 unemployment benefit-padding programs — and also pay incentives to unemployed people who get jobs — may be considered in Harrisburg this week amid a flurry of activity on proposed laws related to the pandemic.
    • Another bill that advanced Tuesday would prevent employers from requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That one also was driven by Republicans who dominate the Legislature.
    • Read more here.


  • COVID economy: California unemployment claims jump amid reopening Unemployment claims in California jumped last week, a disquieting signal that the statewide job market continues to wobble despite attempts to reopen the economy in the wake of coronavirus-linked shutdowns.
    • California workers filed 68,600 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on June 12, an increase of 15,700 from the claims that were filed the prior week,  the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
    • Nationwide, workers filed 412,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, an increase of 37,000 from the prior week, according to the Labor Department. Read more here.


  • Michigan: All Restrictions To Be Lifted June 22: Governor Whitmer announced that; beginning June 22, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100% and the state will no longer require residents to wear a face mask. In addition to the Gatherings and Mask Order, additional orders are being rescinded as of June 22. For a full list, visit this website. Read more here at Michigan Business Network.


  • Oregon inches closer to lifting COVID restrictions As Oregon inches closer to reaching the statewide vaccination target, at least 22 of the state’s 36 counties have moved into the “lower risk” level, health officials announced Tuesday.
    • Counties in the “lower risk” category can increase capacity for indoor dining, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment spaces to 50%. The risk level also allows expansion of indoor gatherings to 10 people and increases retail store capacity to 75%. Read more here.


  • More Paid Leave in Massachusetts: Emergency Paid Sick Leave Goes Into Effect on June 7, 2021 All employers in Massachusetts will soon be required to provide up to 40 hours of job-protected, paid leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed House Bill 3702 into law on May 28, 2021. Read more at National Law Review.


Labor Update


  • Delaware General Assembly passes $15 minimum wage, sends bill to Gov. John Carney Delaware's minimum wage is expected to go to $15 an hour by 2025 after being passed late Thursday by the General Assembly. The House voted 26-15 along party lines to pass Senate Bill 15 by Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton. The Senate passed the bill along party lines in March, and now the bill heads to Gov. John Carney for his signature. The bill would gradually raise the hourly minimum wage from its current rate of $9.25 to $15 by 2025.
    • The minimum wage would increase by more than $1 each year:
      • $10.50 by 2022
      • $11.75 by 2023
      • $13.25 by 2024
      • $15 by 2025
    • The bill needed only 22 of the 41 House lawmakers to vote yes. Twenty-six of them are Democrats. Read more at Delaware Online.


  • Lawmakers introduce plan to raise minimum wage to $15/hour in Wisconsin Democrats in the Wisconsin State Legislature are once again calling for a raise in the state’s minimum wage. State Senator Melissa Agard and Representative Lisa Subeck of Madison and others introduced the plan Thursday morning. It calls for a gradual increase to $15 per hour from the state’s current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour — what would be the first raise in the state’s minimum wage in more than a decade. Read more here.


  • Penn business owners join Wolf in push to raise 'embarrassingly low' minimum wage to $15 Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday was joined by business owners and Democratic lawmakers in his latest push for a higher minimum wage in Pennsylvania.  Wolf has frequently said a higher wage would be a win for workers and businesses, proposing to raise it to $15 an hour in 2027. Read more here.


  • Indiana: Senate Dems renew call to raise Indiana’s minimum wage to $15 an hour Some Indiana Democrats want to raise the state’s minimum wage, which hasn’t happened in more than a decade. Indiana’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. On Tuesday, Indiana Senate Democrats renewed a call to boost the state’s minimum wage. State Sen. J.D. Ford of Indianapolis said that conditions during the coronavirus pandemic aren’t optimal for a $7.25-an-hour job. Read more here.


Small Business Update


  • MEDC Helps Small, Medium-Sized Businesses Access Capital In Michigan Small to medium-sized businesses in Michigan utilize the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Capital Access programming to maintain and grow their companies when private-sector lenders need assistance in providing a loan. Comprised of a team of financial experts who work directly with lenders, the Capital Access programs support small businesses by providing resources to increase availability for loans ranging from $5,000 to $20 million. Read more at Michigan Business Network.


  • WEDC looking to ramp up tax credit revocation following audit WEDC officials say they’re looking to pick up the pace on revoking tax credits from businesses that fail to meet the terms of their contracts. 
    • “Our contracts for smaller tax credits usually run about five years, but it has historically taken us a while to get to looking at those and closing those out,” said Jennifer Campbell, chief legal officer for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 
    • During a meeting of the agency’s Audit and Budget Committee, members discussed actions being taken in response to the latest biennial WEDC audit from the state Legislative Audit Bureau. The April audit included a number of recommendations for improving WEDC’s processes, including updating procedures on tax credit revocation to do so in a more “timely manner.” Read more at WisBusiness.


  • Labor Secretary talks infrastructure plan, unemployment benefits in Kansas Congress is working on a large infrastructure plan, and the Biden administration is touting the number of jobs that could come with it. President Joe Biden originally laid out a $2 trillion proposal called the American Jobs Plan, but talks of a compromise fell apart with Republicans last week. That plan includes money for more than just roads and bridges. Read more here.


Sports Betting


  • Ohio Senate passes bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio Lawmakers in the Ohio Senate passed a bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio following a last-minute overhaul. Senate Bill 176, which passed in a 30-2 vote, would legalize sports betting in Ohio, allowing residents to place bets on the outcome of the Cincinnati Bengals or Ohio State University Buckeyes' games. A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed states to set up their own rules, and in the years since most of Ohio's neighbors have. But the proposed legislation goes further, expanding gambling in a state that, for years, fought against adding casinos. Read more here.


  • Arizona Department of Gaming releases draft rules for sports betting The Arizona Department of Gaming released draft rules for sports betting on Tuesday and reaffirmed it remains on track to begin by the start of the NFL season in September. Draft rules for event wagering and fantasy sports were released ahead of a series of public comment sessions on Friday and Monday. Read more here.


  • States Continue to Bet on Sports With many state legislative sessions wrapping up for this year, and a new fiscal year about to begin, it’s a good time to examine some of the 2021 legislative trends—and sports betting taxes are among the more prominent. This year, 11 states have made changes to sports betting regulation and taxes, and Ohio is still in the process. It is understandable that states want to join the sports betting team. In 2020, more than $21 billion was wagered in states with legal sports betting, and both industry and financial analysts are predicting continued explosive growth. Read more and see the chart here.
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