Advocacy & Government Relations
As a member of Hospitality Minnesota, you can count on having voices in the public arena -- ours and yours.
Our lobbying team has deep experience and extensive networks in Minnesota public policy-making. We work hard to bring relevant perspective to the state and federal policy development process, and to advocate for legislation and ordinances that will help, not hinder your business.
February 23, 2021
This afternoon, Ben Wogsland and HM members Erik Forsberg (Devil’s Advocate) and Tony Boen (Grandma’s) testified before the House Tax Committee in support of House File 921, a bill authored by Rep. Dave Baker to exempt restaurant equipment from the sales tax and to provide tax relief on certain equipment purchased in 2020-2021 in response to COVID-19.
February 17, 2021
Ben Wogsland testified in defense of the appropriate use of the lodging tax in the House Property Tax Division and in opposition to House File 551.
The City of Plymouth is seeking to make permanent an additional 3% lodging tax, in part to use to fund capital projects, which is outside of the scope of intended use -- marketing and promotion that attracts visitors.
We oppose this on its own, and because it sets bad precedent for others seeking to redirect lodging tax funds away from marketing and promotion. We were joined in opposing by the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus. Hospitality Minnesota has followed up with a meeting with the committee chair, Rep. Youakim to reiterate our opposition, and we will be watching this closely in the Senate.
Watch the debate and testimony [Ben Wogsland at 56:30].
February 12, 2021
The Road To Recovery plan was the focus of a conversation by the Minnesota House Subcommittee on Legislative Process today. CEO Liz Rammer and member, Ken Jarka, General Manager of the Hilton Minneapolis and Chair of the Greater Minneapolis Hotel Association, provided testimony on the importance of signaling the market that Minnesota has a plan for expanding events and venue capacity in order to stop losing business to other states.
February 8, 2021
This morning, Rep. Baker (Willmar) announced a Phased “Road to Recovery” proposal to try to move our state forward in a strategic way that will safely expand capacity and put Minnesotans back to work. Liz Rammer and several Hospitality Minnesota members spoke to the press about the importance of building public confidence and signaling to the market that Minnesota has a plan to expand capacity for events, hotels and restaurants to speed our economic recovery.
Rep. Baker is working to build bipartisan support for this effort. We have asked Commissioner Grove to address such a “phased” strategic framework on the Hospitality Roundtable in hopes of moving this conversation forward. This is a work in progress, and we will be continuing to seek the governor’s engagement on helping this industry to recover and expand capacity as swiftly as safely possible. Stay tuned.
February 3, 2021
Re-Opening and Expanding Capacity:
Hospitality Minnesota is advocating directly with the Administration and legislators for the expansion of operations. Events, which are critical to operators in all three sectors and driving economic recovery, must be expanded. We are working independently and in coalition with efforts by the Minnesota Chamber, Greater Minneapolis Hotel Association, Meet Minneapolis, the Downtown Council, the MN Events Coalition, and others to push for expanded event capacity now. Our other immediate priorities include increasing restaurant table size to 10, opening bar seating in Minneapolis, extending hours of operation, expanding dining capacity beyond 50%, and expanding pool capacity to 50%. We are advancing work to allow resorts, campgrounds, houseboats and outfitters to be as open as possible for our upcoming tourism season, so we do not repeat the closures of last spring.
Senate Jobs Committee. Hospitality Minnesota member Terri Huml (Gianni’s Steakhouse) testified before the Senate Jobs Committee on SF1, (Sen. Mathews) a bill that would remove the current capacity restrictions in the Executive Orders and allow businesses to utilize safety plans, social distancing and enhanced sanitation instead.
Ms. Huml has been a strong leader on the Hospitality Roundtable, advocating for our industry with the Governor and the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Watch her testimony. Thank you to Jobs Chair, Senator Eric Pratt for working to move this issue forward.
House of Representatives. Bipartisan conversations—led by Rep. Baker—are ongoing in the House of Representatives about how to best convince the governor and the Minnesota Department of Health to move forward in a phased approach, given the improved state of the public health data. Expect more on this in the coming days.
January 26, 2021
Hospitality Minnesota had the chance to advance our agenda when we were invited to testify in favor of making PPP tax-free in Minnesota. Today, Ben Wogsland spoke before the Senate Tax Committee in support of SF263, introduced by Senator Tom Bakk, a bill to conform Minnesota to the federal treatment of PPP funds.
This is one of Hospitality Minnesota’s top legislative priorities this session. As at the federal level, operators receiving emergency relief assistance in the form of PPP should not be taxed on these funds and should be able to make deductions for business expenses.
2020 Law Review Addendum
The 2020 Law Review Addendum contains new information on laws and ordinances from 2019. This is an addendum to the full, comprehensive 2019 Hospitality Minnesota Law Review with coverage of all state and federal laws or rules.
Whats’ New? This Addendum includes information on new laws and ordinances, including:
Duluth sick and safe time ordinance (pg. 2)
Statewide wage theft law (pg. 9)
Minneapolis wage theft ordinance (pg. 10)
Federal eligibility thresholds for overtime (pg. 2)
Minneapolis and Duluth bag fee ordinance (pg. 5)
St. Paul Sustainable-To-Go ordinance (pg. 7)
October 2020 elimination of J-1 student worker unemployment insurance tax (pg. 3)
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