Things are moving quickly at the Minnesota Capitol, and here are the issues on deck this week. Look for the actions you can take to weigh:
Workforce: Online Hospitality Training Our bill to create a new online hospitality training program modeled after the South Dakota program will be heard in the House Workforce Division on Wednesday. Hospitality remains down 20,000+ jobs since pre-pandemic levels and we need to rebuild the workforce.
Alcohol Policy: Open Wholesale on Spirits On Wednesday, the House Commerce Committee will hear HF2767, a bill to ensure open wholesale on spirits in Minnesota. Hospitality Minnesota is part of a coalition supporting this critical legislation that impacts all purchasers of spirits in our state. See our coalition statement.
RRF Tax-Free On Thursday, Executive VP Ben Wogsland testified before the House Tax Committee in favor of a provision in the Governor’s supplemental budget that would make RRF tax free in Minnesota
Lodging Tax Also on Thursday, we testified against HF1676, a bill to impose a new 6% lodging tax in the City of Woodbury and redirect 2/3 of those funds for capital projects, rather than the statutory purpose of promoting tourism. Watch our opposition here (discussion on bill begins at 35:30-minute mark). Read our Issue Brief.
Property Tax Based on our work with Chair Nelson, we anticipate that tomorrow a bill will be introduced to eliminate the state levy portion of the property tax, a long-term goal of our association. Read our Issue Brief.
Sales Tax on Restaurant Equipment Both tax chairs expressed interest in working on our bill to make restaurant equipment exempt from the sales tax (HF921). This bill received positive hearings in both the House and Senate Tax committees last year and we are working to build on that momentum.
New Municipal Taxes This week—as part of a coalition—we also opposed HF3256, a bill that would allow new municipal property taxes to fund street improvements. Read the coalition statement.
Hotel and Resort Regulation On Thursday, we sent a letter to legislators expressing our concerns about HF702 which has now been sent to the House Floor. This bill would create an entirely new and additional local licensure and regulatory structure at the city level in addition to the state/county system already in place. We are strongly opposed to this unnecessary and burdensome legislation.
Explore Minnesota Tourism Funding Also on Thursday, the House Environment Committee heard HF3616, a bill to provide $6 million to Explore Minnesota Tourism to create a tourism industry recovery grant program that supports the return of meetings, conventions, and group business. The bill has already received a favorable hearing in the Senate. Read our Issue Brief.
Protecting Liability Waivers This week, we joined an Amicus Brief (friend of the court) at the Minnesota Supreme Court, advocating for businesses continued ability to use liability waivers in Minnesota at resorts, attractions, hospitality businesses and other locations. In recent years we have worked as part of a coalition to block legislation that would eliminate waivers in Minnesota.
Civility Caucus Workforce Panel Last week, Executive VP Ben Wogsland presented to the bi-partisan Civility Caucus at the U of M Humphrey Institute on a workforce panel that included Lisa Shannon, CEO of Allina and John Hausladen, President of the Minnesota Trucking Association. The panel was moderated by Rep. Daudt (Crown) and attended by 50 legislators as part of their work to deepen their understanding of the issues that come before them.
Meetings with Leaders Coming Up Over the next two weeks we will be meeting with Majority Leader Miller, Speaker Hortman, Minority Leader Daudt, Commissioner Grove (DEED), Director Bennett-McGinty (EMT) and other key policymakers. We hope to use these meetings to advance our industries initiatives prior to the committee deadlines.
Advocate on Issues that Matter to You Don't hesitate to reach out to your elected officials on any of the issues outlined above. You can find out who they are here. If we can be helpful as you prepare, contact Ben.
Want to Get More Involved? Become a member of the Hospitality Minnesota Advocacy Group, which meets once per month to set our policy priorities and strategy. Sign up to receive notices here.
Follow as we advocate for the hospitality industry at the local, state and federal levels. This work has been a hallmark of the Association for decades, and will continue to be a core benefit of membership.