INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE: On Wednesday, February 20 the House Labor Committee will hear three bills to increase the minimum wage. They range from raising the minimum to $10 to one raising the minimum to $15 and another eliminating the tip wage. Here are the bills: HB 178, HB 186, HB 731
TOURISM PROMOTION: Kudos go out to Governor Sununu for his budget proposal to increase spending on tourism promotion by $3 million each year over the next biennium. His budget now goes to the House Finance Committee.
ALLOWING THE SALE OF BEER IN REFILLABLE CONTAINERS: On Wednesday, February 20 the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 405, which would allow on and off-premise licensees maintaining an inventory of at least 200 different beer labels to fill standard refillable containers. The additional fee the licensee would have to pay would be $240. Manufacturers that don’t want their product served by refillable containers would be able to inform the Liquor Commission who would in turn inform the licensees.
CAPPING THE COMMISSION PAID TO ROOMS AND MEALS TAX LICENSEE : At the request of the sponsor, Representative Michael Cahill of Newmarket, the House agreed to postpone a vote on HB 254. Rep Cahill wants the chance to explain why a 19-0 vote in the House Ways and Means Committee was wrong. Our hope is that he will continue to aggravate his fellow colleagues by lecturing them on why they are all wrong and he is right. HB 254 would cap the amount rooms and meals tax operators could retain for collecting the tax at $100 per month. Currently, operators are allowed to retain 3% of the taxes due to the state if they remit the amount due by the 15th day of the month following their collection. A big shout out goes to Eric Roberts (Lui Lui Restaurants), Dicky Desai (Hillbrook Motel in Bedford), and Alex Ray & Rusty McLear who attended the public hearing and made a great case for defeating this bill. The full House will vote on this on Wednesday, February 27.
REDUCING THE COMMISSION PAID TO KENO LICENSEES: The House killed HB 390 . The bill would have reduced the amount a Keno licensee may retain from 8 to 5 percent the amount of the proceeds from Keno games.
FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE PROGRAM: The Senate voted 13-10 to pass SB 1, which would establish a system of paid family and medical leave insurance. The system would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees needed to take leave for themselves or for the care of a family member. The program would provide employees with 60% wage replacement. It would be paid by .5% deduction of an employee’s wage. Employers could decide to deduct all from an employees pay or share the cost in some manner. Employers with 15 or more employees would have to return the worker to their position once they return to work or to a “similar” position. The bill now goes to the House.
DIAPER CHANGING STATION: On Wednesday, March 6 the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 520 , which would require certain places of public accommodation to install and maintain at least one diaper changing station that is accessible to all genders when the facility is open to the public. It would apply to any new building or facility constructed on or after January 1, 2021. It also would apply to existing places of public accommodation when a renovation occurs that exceeds $30,000.
LIMITING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS: On Wednesday, March 6 the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 558, which would prohibit food service businesses from providing single-use plastic straws to a customer unless specifically requested.
BANNING SINGLE-USE CARRYOUT BAGS: On Wednesday, March 6 the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 560, which would prohibit stores and food service establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers.
ADULT CHANGING STATIONS: On Wednesday, March 6 the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 628, which would require all places of public accommodation with capacity to serve 1,500 or more persons per day, and constructed after January 1, 2021 to install and maintain at least one universal changing place in a family restroom facility for persons of either sex who have a physical disability.
CASINO GAMBLING: State Senator “Casino Lou” D’Allesandro has once again introduced a casino gambling bill for the 125,456,699,099th time. (ok.. maybe its not exactly that many times.. it just seems like that.) The Senate Finance Committee will hear SB 310 on Tuesday, February 19.
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