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Past Wyoming Legislative Victories

Date: May 19, 2014

From 1996 to the 2012 session

From the 2011/2012 session

Won a $500 tax credit for collecting taxes for the state of Wyoming
NFIB lobbied extensively to pass House Bill 147 which allows vendors collecting the state sales taxes a tax credit up to $500 for collecting and submitting the sales taxes.

Helped defeat a proposal to increase the fuel tax by 10¢
Armed with the best weapon at its disposal – its member ballot results – NFIB/Wyoming successfully fought to persuade legislators not to pass House Bill 0022, which would have increased the state sales tax on fuel by 10¢ per gallon.

Passed legislation preventing state agencies from being in direct competition with private business
SF077 allows business owners to lodge concerns regarding state and local government entities competing against the private sector small businesses.

Killed proposal to increase employer liability under WOSHA Act
Defeated an attempt to increase fines and civil penalties under the Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Act. Certain provisions of the Act would have raised fines and civil penalties from $8,000 dollars to $120,000. This was an unreasonable increase without specific due process for employers.  
Issues.

From the 2009/2010 session

Stopped tax on download of software or technical services
Prevented Senate File 0027 from including tax on downloadable software or technical services, limiting the measure to products defined as digital audio-visual works, digital audio works, or digital books. Now, the law only applies if the purchase has permanent use of the specified digital product.

Defeated attempt to give state Department of Transportation tolling authority on I-80
Tolling on I-80 – Defeated an attempt by Wyoming Department of Transportation to obtain tolling authority on portions of I-80. Senate Bill 35 would have allowed the Wyoming Department of Transportation to apply for tolling authority from the federal government. NFIB/Wyoming members opposed the issue of tolling on I-80 by 64 percent in a 2009 member ballot.

Killed proposal to increase employer liability under WOSHA Act
Defeated an attempt to increase fines and civil penalties under the Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Act. Certain provisions of the act would have raised fines and civil penalties from $8,000 dollars to $120,000 dollars for employers who knowingly and willfully violated the act. This was an unreasonable increase without specific due process for employers.  

Won protection for small business owners against the predatory pricing of big-box stores
Although it did not go far enough, Senate File 0112, which NFIB lobbied for in its various forms, does give some new protection to small business owners against predatory pricing tactics from big-box stores by prohibiting actions that would prevent or destroy competition.

Halted a greater government incursion into a company’s sick-leave policy
House Bill 0181 would have prohibited employers from terminating employees who used the company’s sick-leave policy. The measure sounded innocent enough, but when NFIB looked closer, there was much more than met the eye, setting small business owners up for potential lawsuits. In the end, NFIB helped convince lawmakers that HB 0181 was more an interference between employer and employee than it was any new and understandable right.

Stopped mental injuries from being added to the list of ailments covered by workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation premiums are one of a small business owner’s highest costs. Add some new coverage and rates only shoot higher. Senate File 0018 would have added mental injury to the list of illnesses covered under workers’ compensation. It passed the Senate, but NFIB helped kill it in the House of Representative. NFIB reminded legislators that 80 percent of NFIB members opposed covering mental injuries under workers’ compensation on the 2009 ballot. Members’ votes contributed to the success of SF 0018’s defeat.

Defeated attempts to hold small business owners responsible for the employees of independent contractors
It would be nice to report that Wyoming legislators are resistant to bad national trends, but that is not always the case. One of organized labor’s goals is to place as many restrictions as possible on small business owners who operate as independent contractors. House Bill 0273 would have held the owner of a property legally responsible for the employees of an independent contractor working on it. NFIB succeeded in contributing to this bad idea’s demise.

Strengthened state’s eminent domain law
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision made it much easier for governments to seize property under eminent domain laws, but it also left it to state governments to curtail abuses of the law. Lobbying by NFIB/Wyoming helped strengthen the law against property seizures.

Highlights of prior years' NFIB/Wyoming victories:

Defeated health insurance mandates
NFIB was instrumental in defeating legislation that would have added several mandates on health insurance in Wyoming. This saved employers and employees an average of 10 percent on their health insurance premiums.

Defeated legislation that would have increased workers' comp rates for small business
NFIB led the fight to defeat a rule change that would have rewritten our workers' comp formulas. This rule, if adopted, would have lowered workers' comp rates to large corporations and raised rates to small-business owners. The result was that small-business owners saw no increase in average workers' comp rates.

Defeated workers' compensation employer fault provision
NFIB/Wyoming and its members played a key role in defeating a proposed rule that would have introduced the concept of fault by the employer into third-party recoveries for workers' compensation, overturning more than 90 years of Wyoming law.

Prevented workers' compensation rate increases
With passage of SF 79, large rate increases were avoided when the date to have the reserve fund become solvent was extended from 2008 to 2013 and reserves could be discounted for future value.

Defeated increased exemptions for bankruptcies
This bill would have greatly increased the amount of property a debtor could keep from his or her creditors in a bankruptcy, which in turn would have greatly reduced the amount of money a business could have recovered from the debtor.

Passed the Commonsense Consumption Act
In the 2005 session, NFIB/Wyoming was able to get the Commonsense Consumption Act passed, which will protect any business producing, selling or serving food from suits by obese people claiming it was the fault of the business that they got fat. NFIB/Wyoming also succeeded in amending the law to apply to many more businesses than originally proposed.

Supported sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing equipment
NFIB supported HB 44, which exempts the purchase of manufacturing equipment from sales tax. Small business can now expand at a lower cost. This bill will also attract new businesses to Wyoming.

Gasoline and diesel fuel tax increases stopped
NFIB/Wyoming helped defeat two proposed fuel tax increases. One bill would have increased fuel taxes at 2 cents per gallon, the other 6 cents per gallon, phased in over three years.

Sales and use tax exemption of manufacturing equipment
HB 44 exempts the purchase of manufacturing equipment from sales tax. Small business can now expand at a lower cost. This bill will also attract new businesses to Wyoming.

Workers' compensation – cost of recoveries
NFIB/Wyoming played a key role in defeating HB 130, which intended to have the workers' compensation system pay a portion of an employee's attorney's fees in suits involving third parties.

Tort reform
HJR 11 amended the constitution to allow the establishment of a medical review panel for malpractice cases in an effort to weed out poor cases and ease up on the caseload in the court system.

Workers' compensation – back to work
HB 53 simplifies and improves the mechanism used to get injured employees back to work quicker when they can handle duties that are lighter than their previous position required.

VICTORY: 2002 -- NFIB/Wyoming worked hard to defeat a proposal that would have mandated parity for mental health coverage on health insurance policies, a mandate that could have increased premiums three to five percent.

VICTORY: 2002 -- NFIB is closely monitoring proposals coming before the full legislature to ensure small business is not adversely affected. Health insurance costs and availability are currently being reviewed by several legislative committees and some recommendations may work against small business' efforts to make insurance affordable employees.

VICTORY: 2001 -- With hard work and by not panicking, NFIB/Wyoming members were successful in the defeat of many proposed new taxes and tax increases. Total savings to Wyoming's small business exceed $100 million.

VICTORY: 2000 -- Tax Increases Defeated: All of the proposed tax increases that NFIB opposed were defeated. These included increases to the general sales tax, fuel tax, a new sales tax on services and a gross receipts tax. Taxes for small businesses will remain at their current levels for the next year. Total savings by defeat of these tax bills could exceed $300 million.

New Program Limitation Enacted: A small but important step in preventing undue growth in government occurred with the passage of HB 142, New Government Programs - Limitations. Hopefully the legislature will recognize the need to eliminate programs when they feel the need to add new ones. Child Support Withholding Help Available - Small businesses faced with the complex task of calculating multiple child support withholding orders will now be able to get assistance from their local clerk of court. A provision included in HB 30, Child Support Income Withholding, now allows the clerks of court to assist employers who want help making the calculations.

State Owned Telecom/Electrical Transmission Facilities Defeated: With the defeat of SF 76, Infrastructure Authority, the State of Wyoming will not be getting into private business by operating telecommunications or electrical transmission facilities. At the same time, constitutionally protected funds in the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund will not be at risk of loss and won't be used to subsidize government competition with the private sector.

1999:

Increased Sales Taxes: House Bills 139, 195 and 197, all dealing with increased sales taxes, were defeated, which saved the taxpayers more than $200 million. Additionally, NFIB's retail members in areas that must compete with states with lower or no sales taxes were protected from further competitive disadvantage.

In-State Contractor Preference: Passage of House Bill 310 will help ensure that only local Wyoming contractors qualify for a 5 percent bid preference on public works projects and that shell corporations will not.

1998:

Workers' Compensation: Legislation passed which will give employers a premium tax credit from the workers' comp fund. Also, NFIB helped ensure that an existing rate reduction program was not repealed as proposed in the bill.

Sales Tax: NFIB helped to defeat a proposal to increase the statewide sales tax to generate additional education funds.

Health Insurance: The Legislature defeated a bill mandating certain benefits which would have increased private health insurance costs.

1997:

Environmental Self-Audit: NFIB's biggest victory of the session came when, after nearly two years of effort, the Department of Environmental Quality was forced to develop rules that would implement a non-enforcement policy for small businesses who voluntarily report environmental problems to the department.

Fuel Tax Increase: Defeat of the fuel tax increase by the Senate was an important victory. Concerns about increased taxation, increased cost of doing business, inefficient government operations, and the strong voices of NFIB members led to its defeat.

Third Party Recovery in Workers' Compensation: The defeat of HB 107, which would have reduced recovery by the state from a responsible third party in workers' compensation contested cases, protected the soundness of the workers' compensation fund and preserved fair administration of the program.

1996:

Employment - Good Faith Disclosure: Senate File 36 allows employers to give good faith references for employees without fear of lawsuit.

Fuel Tax Increase: House Bill 18, which would have raised all fuel taxes by 5 cents per gallon, was defeated during this session, but may be even more important next year if the legislature looks for tax increases to fund education.

Copyright Contracts: Passage of House Bill 33 will help keep copyright organizations from harassing small businesses who play a radio in their place of business for incidental purposes.

Health Insurance - Adult Wellness Benefits: Employers and employees will not be forced to purchase unwanted or unneeded insurance benefits. Senate File 44, which would have required all health insurance policies to include benefits for wellness examinations, was defeated.

 

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