Wyo Liquor

2016 Legislative Updates

Legislation Summary of the 2016 Wyoming Session

For WSLA members, it was a successful 2016. All the bills we supported have been signed by the Governor into law, and the bills we opposed died. Here’s a short overview of some of the bills of interest (HB is a House Bill, SF is a Senate File). First, legislation the WSLA supported:

HB 84 (Catering permits) increased the amount of “catering permits” available for full retail and resort licensees from 24 to 36. Signed by the Governor into law.

SF 62 (Homemade beverages) allows home manufacturers of beer, mead, wine and fermented fruit juices to hold tasting events, while charging a cover charge, under a catering permit from an existing full retail or resort liquor licensee. SF 62 originally allowed those home manufacturers to take out a malt beverage permit to sell product, which the WSLA opposed. However, with the help of supporters of the bill, as well as the hard work of the bill sponsors, most especially the primary sponsor, Senator Dave Kinskey (R-Sheridan), SF 62 was successfully amended to a form all supported. Signed by the Governor into law.

Bills the WSLA opposed:

HB 4 (Minimum wage) would have raised the minimum wage in Wyoming to $9.50 an hour (although it included allowing a “training wage” of $7.50 for new employees) and the “tip credit” minimum wage to $5.50. HB 4 was killed on House Introduction.

HB 5 (Prohibited question on job applications) would have prohibited employers from asking on an employment application about the applicant’s past criminal history. HB 5 was killed on House Introduction.

HB 94 (Wine at public auditoriums and events centers) would have allowed public auditoriums, civic centers and event centers with a special malt beverage permit to additionally sell wine. HB 94 was killed in the House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee.

Other bills of interest:

HB 22 (Shipment of manufactured wine) would have allowed Wyoming retail customers to purchase wine products listed by the Wyoming Liquor Division directly from the winery. HB 22 was withdrawn.

HB 30 (Obsolete laws) is a 29 page bill that primarily replaced the word “Commission” with “Division” in Title 12 of Wyoming statute (our liquor laws). This was primarily a housekeeping bill to make Title 12 conform to the change from the Liquor Commission to Liquor Division, which occurred about 20 years ago. WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.

HB 40 (Operation of watercraft under the influence of alcohol) would have lowered the BAC for intoxication for the operation of a watercraft from .10% to .08%. WSLA was neutral. HB 40 passed the House, but died waiting for the Senate.

Tax issues: Although the 2016 Session had no alcohol or tobacco tax increase bills for the first time in recent memory, we successfully opposed a proposal in the Interim Revenue Committee to raise the state excise tax on cigarettes $1/pack as well as increases in other tobacco products last November. We’ll undoubtedly continue to encounter attempts to increase “sin taxes” in the immediate future.

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