NH LEGISLATURE KICKS OFF 2018 SESSION: The legislature began its 2018 Session last Wednesday by voting on a number of bills being carried over from the 2017 Session. The House meets this Tuesday to finish voting on those bills from the 2017 Session. Both the House and Senate plan to finish this Session by May 24.
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: On Tuesday, January 9 the House will vote on HB 628, which would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program for employees. The insurance pool would be funded through a .5% deduction from employee’s wages which employers would remit to the NH Department of Employment Security on a quarterly basis. Employers would provide employees, upon hire, a form prepared by the Department that explains the program and provides an opportunity for employees to opt-out of the program. Employees would be given an opportunity to opt in on January 1 of each year. Participating employees would have to invest into the fund for 6 months prior to taking leave. The benefit would provide a participating employee 60 percent of their average weekly wages in the highest quarter of the year prior to the benefit year payable up to 12 weeks leave. The House Labor Committee has voted 13-6 to recommend passage of the bill. NHLRA has a number of concerns with this legislation including the new administrative burdens and the viability of a program that enables employees to opt-in and opt-out.
INCREASING THE HOURLY RATE FOR TIPPED EMPLOYEES: On Wednesday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m. the House Labor Committee will hear HB 1246, which would increase the current $3.27 minimum wage for tipped employees to $4.27 on January 1, 2019 and then to the state or federal minimum wage (whichever is higher) on January 1, 2020. The bill effectively will eliminate the tip wage by 2020 and require employers to pay tipped employees the full minimum wage. NHLRA strongly opposes this bill and will testify in opposition.
3% COMMISSION FOR COLLECTING MEALS AND ROOMS TAX: On Thursday, January 11 at 2:30 p.m. the House Ways & Means Committee will hear HB 1710, which would cap the amount meals and rooms tax operators could retain at $100 per month and divert the rest to the School Building Aid Fund. In fiscal year 2017, meals and rooms tax operators retained $9.1 million. Applying the capped provision in this bill would have reduced that amount to $2.9 million resulting in $6.2 million being transferred to the School Building Aid Fund. NHLRA strongly opposes this bill and will testify in opposition.
MANDATORY TRAINING FOR SERVERS OF ALCOHOL: On Thursday, January 11 at 9:00 a.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1705, which would require anyone serving alcohol in a licensed establishment to attend server training within 30 days of being hired. NHLRA believes our industry already does a good job at making sure servers are trained in the service of alcohol and questions the need for this bill.
REMOVING REGULATION OF EVENT TENTS: On Thursday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m. the House Executive Departments Committee will hear HB 1421, which would eliminate the regulation of event tents on private property under the state building code and state fire code.
ALLOWING ENTERTAINERS TO DRINK ALCOHOL WHILE PERFORMING: On Thursday, January 11 at 9:45 a.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1285, which would allow entertainers in premises serving alcohol to drink alcohol while performing. Under current law, entertainers are considered “employees” of the licensed establishment and prohibited from consuming beverages while working.
LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWAL DATE: On Wednesday, January 10 at 1:15 p.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1692, which would allow a liquor licensee to select an anniversary for the renewal of their liquor license.
PAYING EMPLOYEES FOR UNUSED VACATION TIME: On Wednesday, January 10 at 10:00 a.m. the House Labor Committee will hear HB 1201, which will require employers to pay employees for earned but unused vacation time within 30 days after the end of the period in which such vacation time is earned.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.