Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related legislative developments-April 15
Arizona – Efforts to modify the 2016 voter-approved minimum wage law ended when the bill was amended to require a 3/4 vote to pass. Republicans had hoped to establish a subminimum training wage for full-time students under 22 years of age working part-time jobs but it does not have the support to advance.
Maine – The house blocked several Republican-backed bills that would have adjusted the 2016 voter-approved minimum wage increase. The legislation included a training wage and a lower minimum wage rate for smaller businesses among other provisions.
Nevada – The legislature will begin moving a minimum wage bill (currently a $12/hr wage rate) next week and is expected to advance legislation to the governor’s desk. Governor Sisolak has expressed support for an increase to $12/hr.
Bank of America – Bank of America announced that it will increase its hourly minimum wage to $20/hr over the next two years, up from the current hourly minimum of about $16/hr.
Colorado – A heavily-amended bill to establish a paid family leave program passed a key senate committee. The bill reduces the amount employers must contribute, extends the enactment date to 2023 and allows employers with equivalent programs to opt-out among other provisions. The amendments were intended to reduce business opposition. The bill must pass another committee before advancing to the senate floor.
Nevada – Legislation providing a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave annually has been fast-tracked in the legislature. While the business community is involved in heavily amending the original bill, passage of a final package is very likely.
Washington – The governor signed legislation amending the state’s existing paid leave program. Among other technical corrections, the new law allows businesses to supplement an employee’s paid leave with other leave benefits the employer offers.
Portland, ME – The city council delayed a vote on the paid family leave proposal until May 7 at the earliest. The state legislature continues to debate a similar proposal.
Maine – A restrictive scheduling mandate was abruptly killed by unanimous vote during a legislative hearing on the bill.
Chicago, IL – As was expected, a city committee did not take any action on the proposed scheduling mandate. The council is unlikely to take up action until the new mayor and aldermen are seated.
New York City, NY – The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Law Center along with the International Franchise Association filed a brief in support of the New York State Restaurant Association’s motion for summary judgement in its legal challenge to the city’s scheduling ordinance.
Federal – House Democrats introduced legislation intended to address workplace sexual harassment. It would ban mandatory arbitration clauses and provide grant monies to legal aid groups. The legislation also would eliminate the tip credit, arguing that it creates an environment that fosters harassment. The proposal will have little traction in the senate.
EEOC – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be in court on April 16 to argue for an extension to the recently-reinstated Obama-era pay data reporting requirement. The EEOC has indicated that a September 30 is workable. Business groups are arguing for an 18-month deadline but worker advocates are pushing for a shorter compliance timeframe.
NLRB – The National Labor Relations Board announced that it will update its union election rules this spring. Revising the Obama-era “ambush” election rules is a top priority of many trade groups.
Motel 6 – The motel chain has agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the Washington state attorney general. According to the lawsuit, Motel 6 shared the personal information of about 80,000 in-state guests with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from 2015 to 2017 which led to enforcement actions by ICE targeting guests.
Stop & Shop – 31,000 Stop & Shop grocery workers in New England walked off the job this week fighting proposed cuts to benefits and take home pay while its board voted to give shareholders an 11 percent dividend increase.
Report – A new report by Quest Diagnostics, which processes drug tests for employers, found that marijuana use is at a 14-year high among workers, climbing 10 percent in the past year. Many expect the number to continue to grow as more states decriminalize marijuana use. Interestingly, positive results for other illegal drugs have declined in recent years.
Indiana – The house passed an amended version of a senate-passed bill which would force online marketplace providers to collect sales taxes on sales made by third-party vendors on their site. The senate must agree on the changes in order for the bill to advance to the governor’s desk.
Nevada – Legislation was heard to impose unemployment taxes on each automated device – kiosks, self-service terminals – equivalent to the average contribution for each employee. While final passage is unlikely, it opens a new facet of the automation conversation.
New York – The governor officially signed the budget package that was before him. The package includes language establishing that marketplace providers must collect sales taxes on sales made by third-party vendors on their site.
- Congressional Democrats introduced sexual harassment legislation in the house last week. While the proposal has little chance of passing in the senate, it is important to note that within the language to address sexual harassment in the workplace is embedded language to eliminate the tip credit, formally attempting to link these two issues in statute. Brands need to pay attention to potential additional public discourse in this issue space.
- With new leadership at the Department of Homeland Security and at ICE in particular, there will likely be a renewed Administration commitment to vigorous immigration enforcement and brands need to prepare accordingly. The settlement between the Washington state Attorney General and Motel 6 should be noted by companies as the brand was caught between competing federal and state compliance priorities.
Legislature Status for Week of 4/15/19
- The United States Senate is in session this week
- The United States House is in session this week
- Thirty-two state legislatures are in regular session:
- AK, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, IN, IA, LA, ME, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV
Check out our Working Lunch podcast each week that includes further analysis into these legislative issues, policy, politics and much more. You can find Working Lunch on the Nation’s Restaurant News website, or by clicking here, and when you download the podcast and subscribe on iTunes here.
The Regulatory Wrap-Up is presented by Align Public Strategies. Click here to learn how Align can provide your brand with the counsel and insight you need to navigate the policy and political issues impacting retail.
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