INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE: A subcommittee of the House Labor Committee has voted 3-2 along party lines to recommend that HB 186 should pass with amendment. As amended, it would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 on January 1, 2020; to $10.75 on January 1, 2021; and to $12.00 on January 1, 2022. It would also increase the wage for tipped employees from 45% of the minimum to 50% of the minimum. Lastly, it would set a youth wage that would be $1 less than the minimum. The full committee will vote on the bill next Tuesday, March 5. The subcommittee will dispose of the two other minimum wage bills - HB 178, and HB 731. Meanwhile, next Tuesday, March 5 the Senate Commerce Committee will hear SB 10, which would increase the minimum wage to $10 on January 1, 2020. On January 1, 2022 it would increase to $11.00 if an employer offers at least 10 paid sick days to an employee, or $12.00 per hour if an employer does not offer at least 10 paid sick days to an employee. There was a drafting error in the bill that would eliminate the tip wage. The sponsor intends to ask the committee to strike that provision from the bill.
ALLOWING TOWNS TO ADOPT A LOCAL ROOMS TAX: On a vote of 194-151, the House gave initial approval to HB 641, which would allow cities and towns to collect a daily charge of up to $2 per room containing occupied beds, or as a percentage of the price of the room, provided that the rate doesn’t exceed $2 per occupancy per 24-hour period. NHLRA opposes this bill. It will be heard in the House Ways & Means Committee next Wednesday, March 6 at 11:30 a.m.
TRAINING FOR SERVERS OF ALCOHOL: The House Commerce Committee has voted 19-0 to recommend that HB 533 be killed. The bill would require any person serving alcohol to attend a Total Education in Alcohol Management training offered by the Liquor Commission within 30 days of hire. The full House will vote on the bill on March 7.
ALLOWING DOGS IN RESTAURANTS: The House Commerce Committee has voted 14-6 to recommend that HB 249 be killed. The bill would permit restaurants to allow dogs on the premises. They would not be allowed in food preparation or production areas. The full House will vote on the bill on March 7.
CAPPING THE COMMISSION PAID TO ROOMS AND MEALS TAX LICENSEES: The House killed HB 254 on a voice vote. The bill would have capped 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.
BANNING CHAINS: The House killed HB 561, which would have allowed cities and towns to ban “formula businesses.” A formula restaurant business would have been defined as one that has at least 2 of the following features: a standard menu; a trademark or service mark identifying the business; a standardized interior décor; a standardized color scheme; or standardized uniforms.
FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE PROGRAM: On a vote of 199-133, the House gave initial approval to HB 712, 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 Finance Committee for further review.
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: The Senate Finance Committee has voted 4-2 to recommend that SB 310 be killed. The bill would authorize 2 casinos in the state. The full Senate will vote on the bill on Thursday, March 7.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.