2014 Legislative Updates
WSLA records a successful 2014 Legislative Session
2014 was a very good, but very busy year for Wyoming liquor retailers and our associates. bills such as Senate File 20 will benefit all retailers, and the bills that would have harmed our industry all died.
During the Session, we sent out thousands of e-mails and fliers and made uncounted phone calls to let you know the vital legislation we needed your support on. It’s much to your credit that our year was a success. Thanks so much. Listed below are some of the major bills:
Senate File 20 (Local government- legal publications) reduces the number of required public notices for the application, renewal or transfer of liquor licenses from four to two. Since the notices are paid for by liquor retailers, this bill will save everyone with a liquor license money. WSLA supported. 3/10: Governor signed into law.
House bill 151 (Malt beverage tax increase) would have increased the beer state excise tax $0.17/gallon, or an approximately $0.38/case increase. This would have been an increase of over 800%. The WSLA successfully opposed a previous malt beverage excise tax last September at an Interim Joint Revenue Committee meeting. Happily, the result for this bill was the same as the September proposal. WSLA opposed. 2/13: Killed on Introduction.
House bill 130 (Cigarette taxes) would have increased the state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes from sixty cents to $1.60 per pack. That would have resulted in a carton of cigarettes costing $10 more (in state excise taxes only) than Idaho and Nebraska, and considerably more, with sales tax included, than any surrounding state but Utah. WSLA opposed. 2/13: Killed on Introduction.
House bill 45 (Minimum wage) would have raised the Wyoming minimum wage to $9.00/hour and the tip credit minimum wage to $5.00/hour. This would have given Wyoming the highest minimum wage over any surrounding state and the highest tip credit minimum wage over any surrounding state except Montana. WSLA opposed. 2/11: Killed on Introduction.
House bill 154 (Exemption for gratuities) was a follow-up bill to the 2013 Hb 111 (Tips and gratuities–sales tax) that the WSLA supported. Added language was needed to further clarify that all tips are exempt from sales tax, and Hb 154 did that. WSLA supported. 3/10: Signed by the Governor into law.
House bill 156 (brewery and microbrewery licenses-definition) would have raised the cap for the production of malt beverage for breweries and microbreweries from 15,000 barrels/year to 25,000 barrels/year. The bill passed Introduction 57 – 3 and the House Corporations Committee 9 – 0, but time ran out before it was able to make it any further. We will see this bill again in 2015. WSLA supported. 2/21: Died without consideration on General File.
House bill 93 (Shipment of wine) would have removed the limit on out-of-state direct shipments of wine to Wyoming customers, currently set at 18 liters/year. The WSLA originally opposed this bill, but worked with the bill sponsor to raise the cap from 18 liters to 36 liters. WSLA was neutral. 2/21: Died without consideration on General File.
House bill 53 (Wyoming lottery – definition) defined the term “vendor” for purposes of disposition of funds. WSLA monitored. 3/10: Signed by the Governor into law.
House bill 54 (Lottery board) would have amended the limitations on board members and others to purchase tickets from other lotteries. WSLA monitored. 3/4: Killed on Senate 3rd Reading.
House bill 55 (Funding for substance abuse) would have earmarked 15% of the excise taxes collected on alcohol and 15% of the profit from the mark-up at the Wyoming Liquor Division for a long-term substance abuse fund. WSLA monitored. 3/3: Killed in House Appropriations Committee.
House bill 122 (Cigarette certification) would have moved the enforcement of the Wyoming Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity Act from the state fire marshal to the Department of Revenue. WSLA monitored. 2/21: Died without consideration on General File.