4 Things Arizona Small Business Owners Want in 2016

Date: January 05, 2016 Last Edit: January 07, 2016

Employment laws and passage of Proposition 123 top small business owners' priorities.

On Jan. 11, elected officials will take their seats for the second half of the 52nd Arizona State Legislature, handing small business owners another full plate of legislation to fight for—and against.

Here’s what Arizona small business owners are hoping for in the 2016 legislative session.

1. Declaration of Independent Business Status (DIBS)

For many small employers, independent contractors keep their company’s wheels spinning. Last year, however, the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division sought to broaden the definition of an employee by releasing a memo that curbed small employers’ hiring flexibility.

“The guidance is going to make it harder to classify workers as independent contractors,” NFIB Senior Executive Counsel Beth Milito told the Wall Street Journal at the time.

The Declaration of Independent Business Status (DIBS), sponsored by state Rep. Warren Petersen and supported by NFIB, hopes to change that this year. The bill would create a “safe harbor” for workers and Arizona small business owners, allowing them to define the independent contractor’s role and rights—a positive move for small businesses.

2. Unemployment insurance appeals reform

When independent contractors improperly claim unemployment benefits, the appeals process can be excruciatingly time-consuming and costly for small business owners. Under legislation sponsored by Petersen, the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) would have to rule within a year of the business owner filing a request for appeal. If the DES fails to do so, the employer wins by default.

3.  Review of exempt regulatory rulemaking

NFIB/Arizona is stepping up to the legislative plate with proposed legislation to require an official review of exempt regulations written under emergency conditions. The review must take place within a year of the regulation’s passing or it will become invalid.

4. Passage of Proposition 123

Proposition 123 is Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to prepare the next generation of job-makers by pouring $3.5 billion into K-12 classrooms over the next decade—tax hikes not included. NFIB/Arizona urges members to vote “yes” when this question appears on voters’ ballots. Passage would also settle a $1.3 billion lawsuit against the state.

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