NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt reports from the State Capitol on the legislative week ending April 15, 2016
An adjournment of the legislative session remains unscheduled. The House Finance Committee will hear bills on Monday (April 18). NFIB expects a special session in Anchorage sometime in May.
NFIB has succeeded in securing amendments to the crime bill, Senate Bill 91. The proposed increase in the felony threshold was reduced from $2,000 to $1,000, the maximum fine for a misdemeanor was raised from $10,000 to $25,000, and language on restitution was added.
With these changes, NFIB withdrew its opposition. See letter to legislators.
We thanked Reps. Charisse Millett, Bob Lynn, Matt Claman, and Wes Keller for the work they did securing these amendments. A copy of the thank-you letter can be read here.
NFIB also gave a big thanks to its leadership council members Chris Nettels and Al Tamagni for their commitment to solving this issue for small businesses.
House Bill 317, by Rep. Tammie Wilson, would prevent property seizure unless a person is charged with a crime. It has moved to the Senate and will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this weekend.
House Bill 345 and Senate Bill 156 would mandate 12-month prescriptions of contraceptives. Both of these bills are dead for this session, but NFIB secured precedent-setting amendments that included state employee plans in the mandates. In the future, the state will need to face the costs of any mandates they think small employers will face. As with these bills, NFIB believes it will change the attitude about mandates.
Personal Income Tax
There seems to be a movement to send House Bill 250, the personal income tax, to the House Floor for a vote. Although NFIB doesn’t believe it will pass, there seems to be a political desire to let folks who have been talking about their desire for this tax to get themselves on record with a public vote. NFIB opposes this bill and will make it a key vote. The key vote notice
will be distributed to all House members.
Senate Bill 74, Medicaid reform, passed the House and was returned to the Senate for consideration of House amendments.
The bills dealing with other taxes on mining, fisheries, and motor fuel are being heard in the finance committees, so, too, are the bills dealing with the restructuring of the use of Permanent Fund Earnings. These bills are likely to be addressed in special session.