Reviving three bills left over from last year a top priority.
The second regular session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature convenes for business on January 15, 2018, with bills introduced in 2017 still alive and with NFIB fighting for passage of three of them.
Restoring Petty Theft Penalties
Senate Bill 54 was introduced to correct problems caused by last year’s crime reform bill. The most significant part for small businesses is re-codifying the ability to address fourth-degree theft with potential jail time rather than just a citation. While there was general support for NFIB’s reform proposal, there were other issues that became controversial, and as a result, the bill was held in the House State Affairs Committee.
Reducing Workers’ Compensation Premiums
There were several bills dealing with workers’ compensation. None passed this year but will be a focus next year. Sen. Cathy Giessel introduced Senate Bill 112 on behalf of the business community. It will be the bill the Senate will work with. NFIB will continue to work to find changes to reduce premiums while protecting those truly injured on the job.
Passing Veteran Hiring Preferences
House Bill 2, by Rep. Chris Tuck, would allow private employers to offer a veteran’s preference in hiring. Because of the many anti-discrimination laws, the only way a private employer can offer a preference to veterans is if the state passes a permissive law that complies with federal law. The bill has passed the House and will be heard in the Senate when it returns in January 2018. NFIB supports this bill.
Fighting Reinstitution the State Income Tax
NFIB/Alaska will continue its work in opposition to House Bill 115, the personal income tax introduced by the House majority, as it would cause additional damage to an economy still in a recession. NFIB made the point that the approach used in HB 115 embodied the basic unfairness toward small businesses that are not C-Corporations embedded in the existing federal tax code.
Also opposed by NFIB are House Bill 36, by Rep. Les Gara, that proposed an income tax on sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs and S-corporations; and House Bill 142, by Rep. Matt Claman, that would have created an income tax called an education tax.
[Tile photo courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]