The 29th Alaska State Legislature ended July 15, 2016–after five special sessions. NFIB took away some big victories for small business.
From the 2016 half of the session.
Won Greater Access to Capital
NFIB lobbied for passage of Senate Bill 126, which created statutes to permitting crowd investing in Alaska.
Kept the Felony Threshold Low
In a particularly intensive lobbying effort, NFIB succeeded in persuading lawmakers that raising the felony threshold to $2,000 would harm its retail members enormously. In the end, NFIB helped knock the proposed threshold increase down to $1,000 while increasing the misdemeanor maximum fine from $10,000 to $25,000. (Senate Bill 91)
Obtained Health Insurance Premium Relief
Working with the state’s insurance director, NFIB successfully helped secure state funding for high-cost claims in the individual insurance market, holding proposed increases to 10 percent from 40 percent and maintaining insurers in that market.
From the 2015 half of the session.
Won Income Restitution for Victims of Property Crime
Testimony provided by NFIB-member Chris Nettles is credited with helping both House and Senate passage of Senate Bill 5, which now allows courts to order a defendant to pay for the loss of income to victims of property crimes. The measure by Sen. Peter Micciche was signed into law by Gov. Bill Walker. The new law is an important step toward having restitution orders include loss of income, as well as loss of property. An appellate court erred in ruling that a victim in a recent case was not entitled to restitution that covered loss of income. Now, for instance, a criminal who disables a commercial fishing boat at a time when the boat would be fishing causes harm to more than the boat. It limits the person’s ability to earn an income from the activity for which the boat is used. That loss is clearly the result of the criminal act and should be compensated. This is similarly true of a contractor’s loss of equipment and subsequent loss of a job.
Stopped a Spike in Workers’ Compensation Premiums
NFIB lobbied heavily for the defeat of House Bill 114, which would have changed the character of the workers’ compensation program by adding a death benefit not connected to dependency.
Defeated Two Paid Sick Leave Proposals
House Bill 124 and Senate Bill 12 would have mandated paid sick leave. In response to NFIB’s strong opposition to both bills, neither has been heard and neither is expected to be heard. NFIB reminded lawmakers that time off, for any reason, has been successfully worked out between employer and employee forever, and that making it a law would needlessly interfere with the natural order of things already working well.