NFIB To Fight Alaska Bid to Spike UI Wages

Date: March 04, 2017

Members coming forward to testify on other key small-business issues

NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt’s report from Juneau for the legislative week ending March 3

“Allowing programs to grow without legislative review is poor public policy.”

So wrote State Director Denny DeWitt in a letter opposing House Bill 142 to Rep. Chris Tuck, author of the measure that would increase the maximum wage for unemployment insurance from $42,000 to $59,500 then allow for inflation increase every two years.

Alaska is still in a recession, added DeWitt. NFIB will vigorously fight HB 142.

In other news important for small business …

Theft

Ron Flint, a member of NFIB/Alaska’s leadership council, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 3 on the increase in theft below $250 and how it has affected his business.

He encouraged committee members to pass Senate Bill 54, saying it returns “levers” to law enforcement so that the culprits are not out on the street immediately without any consequence for their actions. The committee is working on additional amendments and will hear the bill again March 6.

Workers’ Compensation

Thanks to the continued opposition by NFIB, House Bill 38, which would increase the workers’ compensation level for disability awards and provide a death benefit to non-dependents or an estate was heard and held in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

Civil Forfeiture

House Bill 42 relating to civil forfeiture was heard again in the House Judiciary Committee. It has been amended and will be heard again. The amendments resolve several problems but still allows the bill to limit the ability to seize property without a conviction. NFIB continues its support of the measure.

Independent Contractors

NFIB continues its opposition to House Bill 179, which would change the definition of an independent contractor for the purpose of workers’ compensation coverage. NFIB is sending a letter outlining its concerns to Heidi Drygas, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Chris Nettels, a member of NFIB/Alaska’s Leadership Council will be testifying against HB 179.

Contraceptives

House Bill 25 would mandate insurance coverage for a 12-month supply of contraceptives. NFIB is working with the sponsor to assure that state employees are also covered by this mandate. NFIB believes that any mandate appropriate for small businesses who insure employees, it is certainly appropriate for the state to offer it to theirs.

Previous Reports & Related News Releases

February 24 Report—Gas Tax Increase, State Income Tax Bills Still Alive

February 17 Report—NFIB to Testify Against Assault on Independent Contractors

February 10 Report—NFIB Looking at Four Fixes to Omnibus Crime Bill

February 3 Report—Flaw in SB 91: What Penalty for Petty Theft?

January 27 Report—Independent Contractors Once Again in Crosshairs of Alaska Legislature

January 20 Report—Costly Bills Make Return Engagement in Juneau

January 5 News Release—Poll: Alaska Should Not Be in The Retirement Business

[Tile photo of Representatives Tammie Wilson and Scott Kawasaki of the House Finance Committee courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]

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