Protection of independent contractors a priority
State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 23.
In a letter to Gov. Bill Walker, NFIB strongly objected to his appointment of union activist Chad Bolduc to an industry position on the Workers’ Compensation Board. NFIB is preparing to call on its members to contact legislators to vote against his confirmation. NFIB has been talking to members of the Legislature who understand and agree with its position. And, NFIB has also been contacting other organizations to join its effort.
House Bill 142, the increase in the unemployment insurance benefit, was moved from the House floor back to the Rules Committee. This is a significant win for NFIB. While there may still be 21 votes to pass this bill to the Senate, because of NFIB’s call to its members to contact their legislators, the sponsor is needing to count his votes. There has been more objection to the inflation adjustment and the size of the increase.
Shopping Bag Fee
House Bill 264 by Rep. Andy Josephson was amended to eliminate communities under 5,500 from the requirement for certain retailers to charge $0.20 per disposable bags. It passed out of House Community and Regional Affairs Committee to the Labor & Commerce Committee. NFIB maintains its opposition to the bill because it is poorly drafted and the definitions are confusing as to which retailers are covered. The $0.20 charge and inventory requirements would become challenges for our members who might be covered under the definitions.
House Bill 79, workers’ compensation reform, has moved to the Rules Committee for scheduling for a House vote. NFIB expects it will pass to the Senate. It has the language NFIB worked on to protect independent contractors. That language is also in Senate Bills addressing workers’ compensation. NFIB will continue watching this bill to assure it does no harm to small businesses.
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[Tile photo courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature’s Capitol Updates]