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BPAA Biweekly State Policy Updates - April 5, 2019

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  • Gov. Lujan Grisham signs minimum wage increase into law: New Mexico’s minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour by 2023 – and to $9 an hour next year – under legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The increase will affect an estimated 110,000 workers – most of them women – and will mark the first statewide minimum wage hike in more than a decade, after several proposed wage adjustments were vetoed by Lujan Grisham’s predecessor, former Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican. “New Mexicans have waited too long on this,” Lujan Grisham said during a ceremonial bill signing in the Governor’s Office, as members of several immigrant rights groups that pushed for increasing the state’s minimum wage looked on. Although some cities have enacted higher local minimum wage ordinances, New Mexico’s current statewide minimum wage of $7.50 an hour has not gone up since 2009. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who took office in January, made a minimum wage increase a central part of her platform in her campaign for governor, arguing that boosting workers’ pay would improve the state’s economy. Read more at the Albuquerque Journal.


  • Maryland Approves Minimum Wage Increase to $15 an Hour: Maryland has become the sixth state in the nation to adopt a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour. The state’s Democratic-controlled legislature overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto on March 28, 2019. The current minimum wage in Maryland is $10.10 per hour. Under the new legislation, businesses with at least 15 employees (Large Employers) will have to pay workers a series of increases starting on January 1, 2020, to arrive at $15.00 per hour by 2025. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees (Small Employers) will have an extra year to raise wages to $15.00 per hour. Read more at National Law Review.


  • Bloomberg Government reports - Arkansas House Rejects Bids to Scale Back Minimum Wage Hike: The Arkansas House has rejected efforts to scale back a minimum wage increase that voters approved last year, voting down proposals to exempt many from the promised pay hikes. The House Monday rejected by a 42-34 vote a proposal to exempt workers under the age of 19 from future increases promised under the voter-backed measure that gradually raises the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021. Arkansas' minimum wage increased from $8.50 an hour to $9.25 in January under the measure and will increase to $10 next year. The House also voted 45-29 to reject a proposal to exempt small businesses and some nonprofits. The proposals would have kept pay at $9.25 an hour for those exempted. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month said he opposed the measures.



  • Bloomberg Government reports - Kansas Governor Vetoes $187 Million Tax Cut Bill: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill that would have returned the state’s $187 million revenue windfall from the federal tax overhaul to taxpayers. The bill (S.B. 22) would have provided nearly $50 million in relief to individual taxpayers by allowing those taking the standard deduction on their federal returns to itemize deductions on their state returns, and $137 million to corporate taxpayers through exemptions for repatriated income and Global Intangible Low-Tax Income. The bill also would have cut the state’s sales tax on food by one percentage point. It also would have given the state authority to require remote retailers to collect the state sales tax in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling. 



  • Bloomberg Government reports - Rhode Island Becomes Fifth State to Allow Mobile Sports Bets: Rhode Island has joined four other states in legalizing online sports bets and will launch a mobile sports betting app later this year. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed companion bills (S.37 SubA/H.5241 SubA) into law March 25. The state legislature had overwhelmingly approved the measures, although some Republicans wondered if online sports betting constituted an expansion of sports wagering, which would require a voter referendum. Democrats argued that allowing online sports betting simply expanded how people could place bets.


  • Why A Lawmaker Is Trying To Keep Legal Online Sports Betting Out Of Indiana: Mobile wagering in Indiana sports betting ran into one opponent in a high place. House Public Policy Committee Chairman Ben Smaltz explained to Legal Sports Report why he insisted on the online aspect’s removal from S 552 before advancing the bill through his committee last week.
    • “I think having it available everywhere within the four walls of the state is a problem, and I think consumer protections are a problem,” Smaltz said. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t have all casino games allowed to be played on a device if we are going to allow sports wagering on that device.” Even though many stakeholders at the committee hearing held a week before the vote made the argument that mobile wagering was needed for the regulated market to capture the current black market, Smaltz didn’t see the connection.
    • Smaltz claimed that a black market also would have other advantages that would keep people from moving to a regulated market, such as betting on credit or not having the same age requirements or background checks. Read more at Legal Sports Report.


  • How Close Is Iowa Sports Betting? Just A Few Steps Remain Ahead Of Key Vote: The Iowa Senate sports betting bill is on the move, and it’s getting closer to matching the bill that already is on the House floor. Sen. Roby Smith, sponsor of S 366, tells Legal Sports Report that he expects his legislation to pass through the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday to reach the Senate chamber. The bill advanced in a Ways and Means subcommittee Tuesday by a vote of 2-0-1. Smith indicated that the sports betting bill will be amended Thursday in Ways and Means to make five main changes, three of which will align it with the House bill:
    • Ban in-game bets for Iowa collegiate games.
    • 6.75% state tax on gross gaming revenues.
    • Extend the 11% of casino revenue that Prairie Meadows uses to subsidize its live horse racing program to sports betting revenue. This will drop to 6%, though, as Prairie Meadows goes over $200 million in total contributions to horse racing.
    •  Read more at Legal Sports Report.



  • Cuomo Says No To Mobile New York Sports Betting, Which Is Removed From Budget: The new budget in New York will create congestion charges and a mansion tax, but it won’t expand sports betting. Early Sunday morning, the legislature came together on a $175 billion spending package for the upcoming fiscal year. According to the New York Times, the budget Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved largely meets its progressive targets.
    • “This is the best budget that has been produced since I’ve been governor,” Cuomo boasted post-passage.

Provisions to legalize recreational marijuana use and online sports betting, however, ran into the red pen. Lawmakers ultimately omitted both controversial issues from their final package. Read more at Legal Sports Report.

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