INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE: The Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to kill SB 554. The bill would have increased the minimum wage as follows: on July 1, 2018, $7.50 an hour if the employer offers health insurance to its employees and $9.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance; on July 1, 2019, $9.00 an hour if the employer offers health insurance and $11.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance; on July 1, 2020, $10.50 an hour if the employer offers health insurance and $13.00 if the employer does not offer insurance; on July 2021, $12.00 an hour if an employer offers health insurance and $15.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance. NHLRA opposed this bill.
ROOM REMARKETERS: The House voted to kill HB 1548. The bill would subject the full amount charged by room remarketers (like Travelocity, Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.) to the meals and rooms tax. These remarketers would become the licensed entity to collect and remit the tax due on rooms sold through their marketplaces. The trade association representing these room remarketers lobbied against this bill. HB 1548 would have ensured a level playing field between our industry and the online remarketers. The majority of the committee recommended that the bill be killed because the State of NH is still in litigation with the remarketers and that it would be prudent to wait until the litigation is concluded.
EMLIMINATION OF 3% MEALS AND ROOMS TAX COMMISSION: On a vote of 200-80, the House killed HB 1710. The bill would have eliminated the 3% commission meals and rooms tax licensees are allowed to retain for collecting and remitting the meals and rooms tax in a timely manner and replace it with a flat 100 maximum per month commission. NHLRA strongly opposed this bill.
INDEPENDENT EXAMINATIONS UNDER WORKERS COMPENSATION: The Senate overturned a Commerce Committee recommendation to pass SB 352, and instead voted to send the bill to further study. The bill would have allowed an injured employee covered under workers compensation who is dissatisfied with a determination by the employer’s insurance carrier to obtain an independent examination. This bill had the potential to increase workers compensation premiums.
CASINO GAMBLING: The Senate Ways & Means Committee has voted 3-2 to recommend that SB 586 be sent to interim study. The bill would authorize two casinos in NH. One would be authorized to have up to 3500 slot machines and up to 160 table games. The other would be authorized to have up to 1500 slot machines and up to 80 table games. Similar legislation passed the Senate last year but was defeated in the House. The full Senate will vote on the bill next Thursday, February 22.
ENTERTAINERS CONSUMING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WHILE PERFORMING: The House Commerce Committee has voted 19-0 to recommend passage of HB 1285, which would allow entertainers in establishments that are licensed to serve alcoholic beverages to drink alcohol while performing. An amendment was added to the bill to make it clear that “dancers” are also allowed to drink alcohol while performing. The full House will vote on the bill next Thursday, February 22.
ADULT CHANGING STATIONS IN PUBLIC BATHROOMS: The House Health & Human Services Committee has voted 21-0 to recommend that HB 1312 be sent to interim study. The bill would require certain places of public accommodation (including new or renovated restaurants and lodging properties) to install and maintain at least one adult changing station for persons with a physical disability that is accessible to both men and women when the facility is open to the public. The requirement would apply to any new building or facility constructed on or after January 1, 2020. It would also apply to any single renovation of an existing building or facility constructed on or after January 1, 2025 if the cost of such renovation exceeds $10,000.00. The full House will vote on the bill next Thursday, February 22.
PROHIBITING SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS: The House Criminal Justice Committee has voted 12-8 to recommend passage of HB 1283, which would prohibit law enforcement agencies in NH from conducting sobriety checkpoints. The full House will vote on the bill next Thursday, February 22.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.