MINIMUM WAGE: The House and Senate Committee of Conference on SB 10 agreed to send to their respective chambers next week a bill to raise the minimum wage to $12 over three years. It would go to $10.00 on January 1, 2020, and then to $12.00 on January 1, 2022. It would keep the tip wage at 45% of the minimum, bringing it to $4.50 when the minimum goes to $10.00 and to $5.40 when the minimum goes to $12.00. The bill would also require employers to make up the difference to any tipped employee that does not earn at least $12.00 in tips and cash from the employer combined. NHLRA lobbied to conferees to go along with the Senate version of the tip wage which would have frozen the tip wage at $4.00 and would have required employers to make up the difference to any tipped employee that did not earn at least $12 with tips and cash wage combined. The House had wanted to raise the tip wage from 45% to 50% of the minimum. They compromised by keeping it at 45%. The full House and Senate will likely approve it next Thursday. NHLRA will be asking the Governor to veto the bill.
STATE BUDGET / TOURISM PROMOTION: The House and Senate conferees to the budget agreed to increase the amount budgeted for tourism promotion, but still not at the statutory called for amount of 3.15% of the rooms and meals tax. The Governor had proposed and the House passed a budget that allocated an amount equal to 3.15% of the rooms and meals tax. This was a big victory for those in the tourism industry. But, led by Senator Dan Feltes, the Senate Finance Committee voted to reduce the House-passed version by $1 million the first year, and by $500,000 in the second year. This results in appropriation of $9.8 million in the first year, and $10.3 million in the second year. It’s still a $2 million increase in the first year and $2.5 million increase in the second year over the existing budget. The House and Senate will now vote on the budget next Thursday. They will pass it and then it’s likely that the Governor will veto it.
REGULATION OF SWIMMING POOLS / SPAS: Included in the budget is language that would change the way the State regulates pools. Pool operators will have to register with the Department of Environmental Services. Operators will have to annually self-certify that they are in compliance with a laundry list of regulations. Along with the self certification, a $250 per pool fee (up to a maximum of $1500) will be annually. In addition, the operator must have someone who has completed a certified pool and spa operator certification program. The full House and Senate will vote on the budget next Thursday.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.