Hot off the Grill: Week 5

Hot off the Grill: Week 5 https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/WA-Capital-Building.jpg
We are now are on the downhill side of the 2016 legislative session. Two cut-off dates have passed: the initial policy committee and fiscal committee cut-offs. Now bills are being voted on the floor. TVW covers much of the floor debate in both chambers. If you would like a quick overview of how a bill becomes a law you can click here. The next cut-off date, where bills must have been voted out of their original house, is February 17.
Below is an overview of some of the issues that topped the list of priorities this week. If any of the issues from past editions are not listed below and you would like to know more, you can check on our bill tracker (to the right).
The WRA/WLA team advocates for you on a wide variety of issues. To get a more in-depth perspective on what the GA team is handling you can become a Government Affairs Committee member!
It’s easy to participate in a weekly GA teleconference, get the inside details and give us your important insight. Just email KaareN@warestaurant.org to participate; any WRA/WLA member can join.
For any questions about this newsletter, or for general questions about the Hot Off The Grill, emailStephanieD@warestaurant.org.
Liquor letter
As we informed you last week, state distributors introduced legislation this session that didn’t make it past cut-off. The bill left out our industry’s position on the topic and aimed to amend current laws that allow price differentials to occur for any reason. Before these bills died, state distributors sent a letter to all liquor license holders. If you have received a copy of this letter and have questions, or would like to see the WRA’s response to it, please email KaareN@warestaurant.org
Minimum wage Bill continues 
Last week SB 6087, passed out of committee. This continues to be the most likely “vehicle” for a minimum wage increase. The bill would pre-empt local governments, except counties, from increasing the minimum wage. However, it preserves ordinances already in place in Tacoma, SeaTac, and Seattle. Due to action by the prime sponsor, Senator Mike Baumgartner, that changed the title of the bill, the wage and benefit issue could be included in the bill as the session moves forward. The WRA/WLA GA team continues to participate in discussions on this bill and increasing minimum wage the right way with all key stakeholders and legislative leadership.
The legislature has been spurred to action to find a legislative compromise largely in part to the SEIU/UFCW backed coalition, Raise Up Washington, filing a statewide initiative to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020 and mandate paid leave benefits. You can read the full text of the initiative here.
By July 3, Raise Up Washington must gather around 300,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot.
Music licensing passes House
Last session, Rep. Van de Wege introduced a bill which would regulate music licensing companies: House Bill 1763.

The bill lets restaurant owners know what their responsibilities are and requires licensing companies to give notice and lists of music so bars and restaurants can choose what to play.

This bill is currently passed out of the House with overwhelming support. It now goes to the Senate for hearings and voting. The WRA/WLA GA Team will continue to pursue this bill and keep you updated.
Helping our National partners
The WRA/WLA participated in a call to action from our national hotel partners to support recently introduced, federal legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives called the ‘Stop Online Booking Scams Act.’
The legislation was prompted by impacts to consumers from online ads and search engine result that mislead people into believing they are booking directly with a hotel’s website, when in fact they are not booking directly with the hotel.
The Act would require all third-party hotel booking websites to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, that they are not affiliated with the hotel. And would allow the Attorney General to go after perpetrators in federal court.
The ‘Stop Online Booking Scams Act’ would be a great win for consumers and hoteliers!