Erik Forsberg | Devil's Advocate
On Tuesday, the House Taxes committee heard HF893, which is being led by Representative Dave Baker. HF893 would exempt restaurant equipment from sales taxes, much like other manufacturing equipment. Hospitality Minnesota member Erik Forsberg testified in support of the bill. We submitted a letter of support, as did the Chamber of Commerce, linked below. Please note the updated language for HF893 more clearly defines food service equipment and will go into effect, if passed, July 1, 2023.
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law committee heard HF909, brought forward by Representative Brian Daniels regarding closed captioning. The bill requires closed captioning to be turned on in public places when television services are available to others. According to the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, Deafblind & Hard of Hearing, 20% of Minnesotans have hearing loss. Hospitality Minnesota plans to work with the author to better understand the requirements and impact on hospitality businesses.
Next Wednesday, March 1, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee will hear SF1578 which appropriates $250,000 as a grant for the ProStart and Hospitality Tourism Management Programs. This is one of our priority bills this session and we are thrilled the hearing coincides with our first Day at the Capitol. We are working now to line up students to testify on the bill.
On Tuesday, our busy day started with a Senate Taxes hearing on the proposed Wayzata Food and Beverage Tax, SF1470 brought forward by Senator Morrison. Hospitality Minnesota members Randy Stanley of 6Smith and Terri Huml of Gianni’s Steakhouse testified, expressing concerns regarding the establishment of a food and beverage tax of up to 1% in the city of Wayzata. City officials testified for the need to implement the tax as Wayzata is a regional destination and publicly available services need to be covered. The bill was laid over for potential inclusion in the tax omnibus bill, but Chair Rest encouraged Senator Morrison to work with the restaurant community to better explain the need for the tax.
The proposed tax would include all sales of food and beverages by a restaurant or place of refreshment, including retail on-sale of intoxicating liquor and fermented malted beverages. The tax may be used to pay for city parks, public safety, costs related to downtown business attraction and retention, and authorize capital expenses including securing or paying debt service on bonds or other obligations issued to finance the construction of park capital improvements.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Senate passed HF4, the Drivers Licenses for All bill. The bill will allow all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status, obtain a drivers licenses. This will provide a safer, more reliable way for employees to connect with their employers. Hospitality Minnesota has long supported this policy change as apart of our comprehensive immigration reform policies.
The Senate version of the bill is slightly different then the House version, so it will go back to the House for final approval before it can go to the Governor’s desk for signature. The House vote is expected shortly and the Governor has indicated he will sign the bill.
Robert Kisabeth | TPI Hospitality and Jill Sims | Hospitality Minnesota
testifying before Senate Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans
On Tuesday, the Senate heard Senator Marty's SF833, a bill that would establish authority for municipalities to establish ordinances on hotel licensing. Hospitality Member Robert Kisabeth of TPI Hospitality as well as Hospitality Minnesota’s Jill Sims, testified. We requested more time to work with stakeholders on the bill language to establish clearer parameters for licensing outside of Minnesota Health Department. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill, giving time to work with the author to make the bill stronger. On the House side, the bill has had its second reading and is awaiting a House floor vote.
Prior to the hearing, Hospitality Minnesota worked with Senator Marty to include a definition of a hotel, which would also include short term rentals. Hospitality Minnesota will work with the City of Roseville, and other appropriate stakeholders to ensure the bill more clearly delineates the authority in which municipalities could manage hotel licenses, but allows cities the ability to remove problematic hotels/motels.
Yesterday, HF626, a bill that would establish authority for municipalities to establish ordinances on hotel licensing passed the House State Local Government Finance and Policy Committee. The bill was sent to the general register and will become eligible for a House floor vote.
The bill is being led by Representative Becker-Finn, in an effort to address 3 problem hotel properties in the City of Roseville. Hospitality Minnesota has weighed in repeatedly to convey that there are multiple options and mechanisms available to address this local issue. Legislation that impacts hotel properties statewide is unnecessary and burdensome. Hospitality Minnesota will continue to work with the City of Roseville as well as appropriate legislators in an effort to make amendments so the bill clearly delineates the authority in which municipalities could manage hotel licenses.
For the remainder of the call, Jill Sims provided an update on various pieces of legislation and where they are in the process. Those updates can be found in the slide deck she used during her presentation, and in the items that follow.
All Hospitality Minnesota members are invited to join the Advocacy Work Group calls. They take place on the third Thursday of each month. To get on the notification list to receive the link to the call, contact Jill Sims.
Last night, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed Rep. Olson's HF19, the Earned Safe and Sick Time bill. The bill will allow Minnesota workers to accrue “earned sick and safe time” hours at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked; up to 48 hours of accrual per year. Up to 80 unused hours may be rolled over to a new calendar year. These hours are paid at the same rate as normal hours worked. Employers must begin offering this benefit by January 1, 2024. Read the final version of the House bill below.
In the Senate, the bill has potentially only one more committee stop before a floor vote. Our senators need to hear from hospitality member businesses about the impact the one-size-fits-all provisions will have on individual operators. Please look for a Call-to-Action next week. You can use our Call-to-Action tool to customize a draft letter on the issues and direct them to your senators.
Thank you to all who attended our Operating Now webinar on Paid Family Medical Leave this morning with Stinson labor attorney Greta Bauer Reyes. The recording, along with other legislative resources, is also available on the Legislative Materials page under the Additional Resources tab of the Member Portal.
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.