As Legislature Winds Down, NFIB Vigilant for Last-Minute Amendments

Date: April 20, 2018

Two unemployment insurance bills have small businesses’ immediate attention

State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending April 20

It has been a busy week, lots of activity but little final output. This time of year, there are many bills being heard and held for amending or further discussion or decision if it is going to move this year.

The operating budget is in conference committee, so bills only need a 24-hour notice for a hearing. Separate bills on the same general topic are getting amended together. So, it is a time NFIB needs to be watching to be sure nothing slips by.

Unemployment Insurance

House Bill 38 would increase unemployment insurance premiums on small-business owners by 2.8 percent in order to:

  • increase benefit levels for permanent partial disabilities
  • award a benefit to parents who are not dependent on the worker
  • increase the time of benefits to children to five years beyond when they are considered a child under current law
  • increase benefits to dependent parents and applies CPI adjustments to benefits.

The bill was heard and held in the Senate Finance Committee, which has expressed an interest in hearing what the dollar cost is to small businesses. NFIB issued a call to action to its members to send an email to committee Chairwoman Anna Mackinnon and let her know of the effect HB 38 would have on their enterprises.

There is a rumor that this bill may become a vehicle for workers’ compensation reform, so letting the Senate know it is not good for small business is critical.

House Bill 142, meanwhile, has been amended to reduce the proposed unemployment insurance benefit increase by half the original proposal. It also increased the benefit floor. NFIB will work with others to increase the employee share of the premium, which is now at 27 percent and could be increased to 30 percent.

Criminal Justice Reform

The Senate Finance Committee spent all day April 19 hearing Senate Bill 127, which would repeal Senate Bill 91, the major crime reform bill form two years ago. Through Senate Bill 54, last year, NFIB secured many of SB 91’s critically needed changes. While there are many additional valid concerns about the crime bill, NFIB is monitoring the hearings to assure small businesses will not be adversely affected.

State Spending

Senate Bill 196, the state spending limitation, has passed the House State Affairs Committee and is now in the House Finance Committee. This concept is looking like it will be part of the adjournment plan.

NFIB’s 75th Anniversary

Reps. Charisse Millett and Tammie Wilson sponsored a citation honoring NFIB’s 75th anniversary. “The members of the Thirtieth Alaska Legislature join business owners, operators and the thousands who benefit from the increased employment and economic activities available as a result of the hard work of the NFIB in congratulating them on this milestone. May they continue to be successful in their goal to support those who work to make our communities exceptional places to live.”

Inset: Rep. Tammie Wilson presenting NFIB Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt with an official proclamation on NFIB’s 75th anniversary. Main photo, from left to right: Leadership Council Southeast Vice Chairman Ron Flint, Leadership Council Member PeggyAnn McConnochie, Rep. Charisse Millett, and NFIB State Director Denny DeWitt.

 

Previous Reports, News Releases, Guest Editorials, Action Alerts

April 13 Report—Legislators Seek NFIB Guidance on Workers’ Compensation Bill

April 6 Report—NFIB Digs in for Fight on Four Bills

March 30 Report—House Still Struggling With State Budget

March 23 Report—Capitol Consumed by State Operation Budget

March 16 Report—House Members Look to NFB for Position on Workers’ Comp. Measure

March 9 Report—Flus, Vacancy Slow Legislative Work

March 2 Report—NFIB Opposed Appointment to Workers’ Comp. Board Bounced

February 23 Report—NFIB-Crafted Language in Workers’ Compensation Bill

February 16 Report—NFIB Members Succeed in Delaying UI Tax Increase

February 9 Report—Will Bag Bill Create Checkout Line Arguments

February 2 Report—NFIB Takes Lead in Fight Against UI Tax Increase

January 29 Action Alert—Register Your Opposition to House Bill 142

January 26 Report—Plastic Bag Fee Called ‘Administrative Nightmare.’

January 19 Report—To Slow Down or Speed Up Governor’s Tax Proposal

January 12 Report—Alaska Legislators Return for Business, January 16

December 19 News Release—Alaska Small-Business Owners Vote on Four Issues Ahead of Session

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Click the graphic below to read the Alaska Legislature's citation commemorating NFIB on its 75th anniversary.

Click the graphic below to read the Alaska Legislature's citation commemorating NFIB on its 75th anniversary.

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