SERVICE OF ALCOHOL AND WINE AT BEVERAGE AND WINE MANUFACTURERS: The House voted to pass HB 1725 with amendment. This bill is the continuing creep of beverage and wine manufacturers wanting to serve more of their product at their facilities without having to make an investment in food service, essentially becoming bars with no (or little) requirement to serve food. As amended the bill would enable beverage manufacturers to serve two pints of beer. Wine manufacturers would go from 2-ounce samples per label to two 5 ounce glasses. This change moves the manufacturers from allowing patrons to “sample” their product to allowing patrons to pull up to the bar and enjoy a couple drinks. The bill now goes to the Senate.
REDUCING LABOR REGULATIONS: The House delayed action on HB 1762 until next Thursday. The House Labor Committee has voted 17-4 to recommend that the bill be referred to interim study. The bill would reduce and eliminate many state labor regulations. It would: prohibit fines from being imposed if the general intent of the law was met; written documentation would not be required to meet the intent of the law and paperwork discrepancies would not be fined; working hour restrictions for 16 and 17 year olds would be eliminated; employees could buy company clothing; the need for employee signing/documenting when leaving before 2-hour minimum on their own, when correcting hours to be paid due to their clock in errors, or when receiving pay increases would be eliminated; no random audits of employers would be allowed; employers would be allowed to have mandatory tip-sharing policies; opportunity for unpaid internships would be expanded; reduce record keeping from 4 to 3 years; warnings before fines by providing employers 30 days to fix violations; fines for not posting labor laws in “conspicuous” place would be eliminated; and it would eliminate need for written safety plan. The full House was scheduled to vote on the bill this past week. The snowstorm delayed action until next week. A similar bill was tabled in the Senate.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: The Senate postponed action on SB 318 once again. Introduced at the request of NHLRA, the bill would repeal employment restrictions for 16 and 17-year olds. Current state law limits the number of hours 16 and 17 year olds can work. Federal Labor law has no such restrictions, so this bill will make NH law consistent with federal labor law. During Senate Commerce Committee deliberations on the bill, Senator Sanborn added a lengthy and controversial amendment to the bill which complicates the bill’s passage. NHLRA is working to try to salvage the original bill. We hope to get the Senate to pass the original bill without amendment next Thursday.
INCREASE IN TIPPED EMPLOYEE WAGE: The House killed HB 1246. The bill would have increased the tip wage from $3.27 to the full minimum hourly wage by January 1, 2020. NHLRA opposed the bill.
PAYMENT FOR UNUSED VACATION OR PERSONAL TIME: A motion by the House Labor Committee to kill HB 1201 failed on a vote of 159-162. The House then passed the bill with amendment on a vote of 192-139. As amended, the bill would require employers to pay employees earned but unused vacation time. The bill now goes to the Senate. Next Thursday, the House will vote on a similar bill. HB 1393 would require an employer that terminates an employee for any reason to pay that employee no later than the next regular pay period for unused vacation time or personal time. The House Labor Committee has voted 12-9 to recommend that the bill be killed.
LOCAL SURCHARGE ON OCCUPANCY UNDER THE MEALS AND ROOMS TAX: The House delayed action on HB 1609 until next Thursday. The Ways & Means Committee has voted 14-7 to recommend that the bill be killed. The bill would allow cities and towns to add an additional surcharge not to exceed $2 per occupancy per 24-hour period on rentals within that city or town. This surcharge would be in addition to the state’s 9 percent meals and rooms tax. The licensee would remit the surcharge to the state along with the 9 percent state tax. The state would then send those funds collected back to the city or town. NHLRA opposes this bill.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.