Bill increasing unemployment insurance payments and taxes passes
State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the Legislative week ending March 16
It has been a busy week for legislation of interest to NFIB.
- House Bill 142, increasing the unemployment insurance payments and taxes, passed the House, March 14, on a 22-16 vote. It now goes to the Senate where NFIB will continue to strongly oppose this bill. Thanks to Rep. Dan Saddler for opposing the bill and sharing NFIB’s concerns with his colleagues. Representative Neuman also took to the floor to speak against the bill. Thank you to those NFIB members who took the time to share their opposition with members of the Legislature. This was a Key Vote bill.
- House Bill 79, workers’ compensation administrative reform, passed the House, March 12. This is the bill that has the language to protect independent contractors. There was an interesting discussion about NFIB’s position on the House floor. NFIB assured members it had removed our opposition and that this was not a Key Vote for NFIB. NFIB appreciates the number of legislators looking to NFIB for assurance that the bill was not harmful to small businesses.
- House Bill 264, by Rep. Andy Josephson, requiring a 20-cent fee on all disposable bags was heard on March 10. The sponsor indicated that it would be amended to prohibit plastic bags and maintain the fee on other disposable bags. There was no amendment provided, so focusing opposition is difficult. The concept discussed seemed to address none of NFIB’s concern with the bill. We are waiting to see if it is scheduled for additional hearings in the Labor & Commerce Committee.
- House Bill 193, by Rep. Jason Grenn, attempts to protect consumers from added medical costs when they seek emergency care out of network or have out-of-network providers providing services in a network facility. While the intent may be worthy, the method seems to be increased premiums for insurance that provide health care networks. With health-care costs high, this is not looked at as a benefit to NFIB businesses paying the premium.
- Senate Bill 196, the state spending cap, passed the Finance Committee and is on the way to the Senate Floor. NFIB supports this attempt to control state spending.
- House Bill 38, also by Representative Josephson, would increase workers’ compensation benefits and provide a benefit to non-dependents should be going to the House Floor soon. NFIB has delivered a Key Vote notice to all members of the House.
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[Tile photo courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature’s Capitol Updates]