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BPAA Biweekly State Policy Updates - July 12, 2019

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  • Politico reports - Oregon Senate Passes Paid Leave Plan: The Oregon Senate on Sunday passed a bill, H.B. 2005, that would create a state insurance fund to provide workers paid family and medical leave, the Oregonian's Hillary Borrud reports. The measure — which cleared the Oregon House on June 20 — now heads to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown (D), who is expected to sign it into law.
    • The bill would provide workers 12 weeks' paid leave to deal with family, medical or domestic violence issues. Women with complications related to pregnancy would get an additional two weeks. Lower-wage workers (those who earn 65 percent or less of the state's average weekly wage) would receive 100 percent wage replacement. A formula would determine paid leave amounts for higher earners, but payments would max out at 120 percent of the average weekly wage.
    • The bill's passage makes Oregon the eighth state to approve a paid family and medical leave bill, according to Time to Care Oregon, a group backing the measure.
  • City, County Minimum Wage Increases Kicking in July 1: Hourly workers across the U.S. will see a bump in their paycheck after July 1 as wage increases take effect in cities and counties in California, Illinois, Minnesota, and Maryland. Montgomery County, Md., is one of the most recent to pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance, and the July 1 bump brings workers there one year closer to realizing that goal in 2022, three years before a $15 minimum wage takes effect statewide. More than 40 local jurisdictions have passed minimum wage laws, according to Bloomberg Law data. These ordinances are one of several ways local lawmakers pass measures to benefit workers when they deem state or national laws are lagging. Paid leave, pay equity, and background check measures have followed similar trajectories of starting local before expanding more broadly. Most raises amount to about $1 per hour, and minimum wages in the areas about to get increases range from $12 in Cook County, Ill., to $16.30 in Emeryville, Calif.
    • As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in California increased to $12 per hour for employers with 26 or more workers and $11 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer workers. 9 different local wages in California rose to $14 or above on July 1.
    • Some states have pushed back against local minimum wage mandates. Bloomberg Law data shows 25 states have passed preemption laws in recent years, responding to a wave of progressive wage and benefits measures passed by local governments.
  • Bloomberg Government Reports: Paid Leave ‘for Any Reason’ Laws Embraced by States, Localities: State and local laws mandating paid time off “for any reason” may be a way to please both employer and worker advocates. The PTO measures, however, aren’t without drawbacks. Maine and Nevada recently enacted laws that will require businesses to give workers paid time off for any reason, structured similarly to paid sick leave laws across the country. In the coming months, both the New York City Council and New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners will consider proposals giving leave for any reason.
    • The state and local measures, while similar to PTO programs many employers already have, could result in more workers using more leave. Businesses may be able to reduce paperwork by advocating for the PTO model, but they also may find themselves managing absences more frequently.
    • Starting Jan. 1, 2021 Maine employers with 10 or more workers will need to give employees 40 hours of paid leave per year that can be used for a range of reasons, from the flu to an unexpected house repair. The new law was a way to please business groups such as the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, which favored the more general paid leave mandate over earned sick leave insurance plans. About 85% of the state’s private-sector workers will be covered.
    • Employers with at least 50 employees in Nevada have only until Jan. 1, 2020 to put in place a paid leave plan that allows workers to accrue one hour of time off for every 52 hours worked. Employees won’t have to give a reason to take the leave, according to the law.


  • Gov. Evers signs Wisconsin budget with 78 partial vetoes; ‘A down payment on the people’s budget’: Gov. Tony Evers made 78 partial vetoes to the state budget passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature before signing it Wednesday, ignoring pleas from some liberals who wanted the new Democratic governor to reject the entire two-year spending plan. In a message to lawmakers, Evers said he considered taking the unprecedented step but decided against it because it "would have been more of the same divisiveness and petty, political theatrics that the people of Wisconsin have had to put up with for far too long." Instead, Evers took a more moderate approach and used his broad veto powers to increase funding for K-12 schools and Special Education. He also eliminated a provision benefiting electric car manufacturer Tesla -- and scrapped funding to replace a correctional facility in Green Bay.
    • Republicans stripped his proposals to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, legalize medical marijuana and increase the gas tax as part of a long-term plan to pay for roads.
    • Evers acknowledged some successes, including a 10% middle class tax cut, more than $465 million in new funding for roads, efforts to combat water pollution and more funding for health care programs. Read a breakdown here at  


  • Don’t Expect New Hampshire Sports Betting To Launch Anytime Soon: New Hampshire sports betting will join the national party today. Gov. Chris Sununu will sign H 480 into law Friday morning, legalizing and regulating sports betting in his state. Lawmakers passed the enabling language prior to adjourning in June, but it took the better part of a month for the bill to make its way to the governor’s desk. His approval makes New Hampshire the sixth US state to get a sports betting bill across the finish line this year. Nine states already have regulated industries up and running, and another seven — plus Washington, D.C. — have laws in place pending launch.
  • Next Steps For Iowa Sports Betting Take Shape At Public Hearing: True to its Midwest roots, Iowa continues to advance toward legal sports betting with quiet, steady movement as it aims for a late-summer launch. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) held a public hearing Thursday to discuss its proposed regulations to govern Iowa sports betting. Sources told Legal Sports Report the meeting went largely without issue, an unsurprising case given regulations that closely mirror Iowa’s recently passed sports betting law. As nearby Indiana pushes toward a September 1 launch to open before the start of the NFL season, Iowa hopes to do the same. Retail sports wagering clearly can be ready sooner but the law allows for statewide mobile Iowa sports betting as well.
  • Why The NC Sports Betting Bill Stalled For Months Until Today (July 9): After an unexpected monthslong delay, a bill to authorize North Carolina sports betting at two tribal casinos is back on track. Rep. Kevin Corbin, sponsor of the companion House NC sports betting bill, told Legal Sports Report he expected the legislation to advance through committee and pass on the House floor by Thursday. The Rules Committee assigned S 154 to the House Commerce Committee for a hearing Tuesday morning. The bill cleared Commerce on a voice vote and heads back to Rules. Barely more than a page, the simple bill adds NC sports betting to the Class III games permitted at Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian casinos. Read more at Legal Sports Report.
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