Wyoming State Liquor Association Final Report: Legislature, 2007
The 2007 Legislative Session continued through early March 2007. HB means House Bill and SF means Senate File. Please call the WSLA office at 307-634-6484 with any questions!
Congratulations! Our four most important bills have passed the Wyoming Legislature. However, one of our bills, SF 23 (Gambling–definitions), needed another bill, HB 332, to get to final passage because of concerns that SF 23 opened up the door to electronic bingo. HB 332 made the transition from being introduced, passing both the House and Senate, and being signed by the Governor in two days! Great credit goes to the Wyoming Legislature, most especially Senator Bruce Burns (Sheridan) and Representative Pat Childers (Cody), and Governor Dave Freudenthal for their cooperation and persistence on passing these bills.
Gambling–definitions (SF 23) among other things, reestablishes the ability of Wyoming businesses to have casual card (including poker) games by eliminating wording the Attorney General objected to. It also provides standards for bingo games, limits games to charitable and nonprofit organizations existing for three years and specifies uses for proceeds of bingo games.Bingo (HB 332) repeals the definition of “bingo game” created by SF 23. The Wyoming Attorney General felt that the definition created a loophole for the usage of electronic bingo, so the bill was modified to delete that language by HB 332. HB 332 also further clarified the intent of the Legislature against electronic bingo. WSLA supported both of these bills.Both bills have been signed by the Governor into law.
SF 23 and HB 332 do not take effect until July 1, 2007. Furthermore, it is important to remember that although these bills will permit “social gaming” of anything from cribbage to poker and allowing wagering between patrons, it does not allow Wyoming businesses to entice new customers through outside advertising and promotions. In other words, if your customers are already there and playing Texas Hold ‘Em, that’s fine, but you cannot advertise or promote additional business using Òsocial gamingÓ, that becomes direct profit and remains illegal. For more information, we will have a complete description of what you can and cannot do in the next WSLA newsletter.
Liquor license signatories (HB 272) wreduces the requirements for signing and verifying applications for liquor licenses or permits for corporate officers from two to one. WSLA supports.Signed by the Governor into law.
Dispensing rooms–minors (SF 70) prohibits the mixing and pouring of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of twenty–one, but removes state limitations for 18 – 20 year old employees from doing any other job in the dispensing room like serving food. WSLA supports.Signed by the Governor into law. This bill makes significant improvements on allowing 18 Ð 20 year old employees to work in dispensing rooms, especially for restaurants.
Other important WSLA issues:
Optional alcoholic beverage tax – 2 (HB 155) and Optional alcoholic beverage tax – 3 (HB 230) would create a local option to increase the excise tax on alcohol for the funding of local alcohol abuse treatment of prevention programs. This tax would be imposed and paid by the retailer by volume. They would increase the malt beverage tax by 12 times and the alcohol and wine tax by an average of 3 times. WSLA opposes both of these bills. HB 155 died without Committee Hearing and HB 230 was killed in House Revenue.
Malt Beverage excise tax (HB 162) would quadruple the Wyoming malt beverage tax from 2 cents a gallon to 8 cents a gallon. The moneys would be earmarked for substance abuse and DUI treatment. WSLA opposes.Killed in House Revenue.
Minimum wage for tipped employees (HB 80) increases the tip credit minimum wage for employees from $2.13 to $5.15 per hour. This increase is significantly higher than last year”s defeated proposal ($4.00/hour). WSLA opposes.Died on House General File.
Minimum wage (SF 122) increases the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour July 1, 2007. Even more ominously, it provides for automatic increases to the minimum wage every 5 years beginning January 1, 2012 based on the cumulative comparative cost–of–living index for Wyoming. WSLA opposes.Died without Committee Hearing.
Smoking in public places (HB 141) would ban smoking in public places and Wyoming businesses including bars, clubs and restaurants. WSLA opposes.Killed in House Labor.
County authority-smoking (HB 238) would have allowed counties to prohibit or limit smoking in public places (including businesses). If a county ban was passed, all municipalities in the county without their own ban would have been forced to follow the county prohibitions. WSLA opposes.Killed in House Corporations.
Bar and grill liquor licenses (HB 299) increases the number of bar and grill liquor licenses available to counties and municipalities. WSLA opposes.Died on House General File.
Alcohol compliance checks (HB 297) prohibits employees of an alcohol retailer from participating in compliance checks of his employer.Died on House General File.
Tobacco tax increase (HB 295) increases the excise tax for cigars, snuff and other tobacco products as cigars, snuff and other tobacco products from 20% to 30% of the wholesale price. WSLA opposes.Killed in House Revenue.
Moist snuff tobacco tax (HB 59) wwould change the existing excise tax on non–cigarette tobacco (other tobacco products or OTP) from price–based to weight based. WSLA have no position as long as no increases to the tax are made.Killed on House 3rd Reading.