NFIB prepares for March 12 hearings on bills affecting independent contractors and unemployment insurance beneficiaries
State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending March 9.
This has been an interesting week. Remember, it takes 21 votes in the House to pass legislation. The House majority has been short of members because there was one vacancy until March 9, when a new representative from Bethel, Tiffany Zulkosky, was sworn in.
That vacancy took the majority from 22 down to 21. The flu and other health issues have kept two or three majority members absent every day this week. On Monday, there were more minority members than majority members on the House Floor. Thus, no contested legislation was brought to a vote.
Two bills of interest to NFIB have been held on the House calendar since March 5. They will be on the calendar for March 12. Those are House Bill 79 dealing with workers’ compensation and House Bill 142. NFIB is watching to make sure the former maintains the protection for independent contractors. NFIB is opposing the latter measure because it would increase unemployment insurance payments and, commensurately, UI taxes.
Senate Bill 196, which would set a state spending limit, passed the Senate State Affairs Committee and is now with Senate Finance Committee, where it’s scheduled for hearing March 15. NFIB supports limiting spending to reduce the size and scope of our growing government. A letter of support was sent to Sen. Anna MacKinnon, who is co-chairwoman of the committee.
House Bill 264, by Rep. Andy Josephson, was heard in the House Labor & Commerce. NFIB continues its opposition to this bill that would tax reusable bags used in retail stores.
House Bill 193, By Rep. Jason Grenn, requires insurers to pay out-of-network providers higher payments for emergency care and prohibits balance billing for these services. NFIB continues its opposition.
Senate Bill 78, by Sen. Click Bishop, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance Committee, March 15. This bill establishes a lottery allowing people to use all or part of their permanent fund dividend to enter the lottery. A price level would be set and the balance of the income would go to education funding. NFIB is watching this bill because it could contribute additional funding for state government and lessen the pressure for income or sales tax proposals.
NFIB’s 75th Anniversary
Reps. Charisse Millett and Tammy Wilson have introduced a citation honoring NFIB’s 75 anniversary. It will work its way through the process in the next few weeks.
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[Tile photo courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature’s Capitol Updates]