Action Needed on ACA Full-Time Definition & State Update
January 7, 2014

The year 2015 is off to a racing start on both the federal and state level, with federal issues more visible, but more quiet development on the state level.

FEDERAL LEVEL
With the new Congress in office and a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and now also the Senate, the dynamics of what issues move through Congress will likely change; however, passed legislation will require approval by President Obama, which means that it is not so easy to predict if and when negotiations on party positions and issues will be successful.

There is one issue that is important for you to weigh in on TODAY, as the House is already planning a vote tomorrow. AH&LA sent out a notification yesterday, and again this morning; however, we want to be sure that all of our lodging members are aware and contacting their Congressional representatives. Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a definition relating to coverage that states "full-time" is employees working 30 hours a week or more. For months, AH&LA and state lodging associations such as WH&LA have been
seeking support on the federal level to change the definition of full-time in the ACA to 40 hours per week. Please see AH&LA's notice below and click on the link today to help to generate more support from Wisconsin Congressional Representatives:

... the House is also scheduled to vote this upcoming Thursday on H.R. 30, the "Save American Workers Act" which will restore the traditional definition of full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) back to the 40-hours per week which the American workforce has used by for decades. As you know, changing this definition back to 40 hours has been one of AH&LA's priorities since the ACA became law as it would provide much needed scheduling flexibility to both employers and employees and reflects the variable nature of the lodging industry workforce. This is an excellent opportunity for us to influence the outcome of this vote.

Below is a link that was sent out earlier urging our members to take action, contact their respective members of Congress and urge their support for this critical legislation. I ask each of you to take a couple minutes out of your busy day to click on the link, and ensure your voice is heard!

CLICK HERE

Finally, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) will be introducing the Senate version of this important legislation entitled "Forty Hours is Full Time Act" this week as well. Early introduction of this legislation, in conjunction with an overwhelming House vote, will hopefully generate momentum for the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the President for his signature.   

STATE LEVEL
Following the November elections, at the State level, we continue to have a Republican majority in both the State Senate and State Assembly, along with Republican Governor Scott Walker, who was sworn into office on Monday. While this is not a structural change for this session, the gap for the majority party in both houses has grown, which will mean some votes on the majority party line may be more secure even with a few voting the other way. What will be interesting is that the priorities of each entity may not be aligned, so the timing of legislation and votes may shift around, plus when you add in the major focus between now and June 30 - negotiation and passage of the State Budget that begins July 1 - there will be a lot of issues bouncing around.

WH&LA will be publishing our handy WH&LA 2015/16 Legislative Directory for the biennium session within the next two weeks, so please watch for it and keep it handy for quick reference. We will also be sending out more WH&LA Capitol Insider emails to keep you informed on key issues for our industry, with some informational only, and others with a call for action. We can only succeed with protecting your industry when your voice is part of our voice, so please help us to reach all parts of the state legislature when our collective voice is needed.

The following are only just a few state level issues we know that we will be actively involved with this session: the state Tourism marketing budget, transportation funding proposals, state lodging per diem rates, room tax reform, more carbon monoxide detector regulation changes, proposed changes relating to "camping unit" and other campground regulations, minimum wage increase proposals, potential changes in lodging regulations, and so much more.

With your support, we will do our best this session to protect your businesses and keep you informed on key issues.

 


Contact: Trisha Pugal
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association
pugal@wisconsinlodging.org
262/782-2851