AHA! The National ARVC Q1 Advocacy Update
Come February it isn't so much a new year anymore. So far this year the National ARVC Public Affairs team has already reviewed over 3,000 bills. We'd been anticipating an increase in federal and state bill introductions and carryovers in 2023, and it's delivering so far. This increase is due to all states being in legislative session, as well as a change in the complexion of the House and Senate following the midterms.
That's a lot of bills, and we know you don’t have time to track every new policy, regulation, or potential law that could affect your outdoor hospitality business—but we do. Trust we're still out here serving as the gatekeeper, monitoring and protecting the outdoor hospitality industry. And this issue of AHA! will make sense of a few of the most important and often complicated legislative issues that are relevant to you and the work we're doing.
3 AHA! Moments
The things you must know for the first quarter of 2023
Do You Know Your State's Minimum Wage? Because It Might Change
23 states have raised the minimum wage – and four more plus Puerto Rico and D.C. will raise their state minimum wage later in 2023. Make sure you know the minimum wage in your state
Nothing Is Certain But Death & Taxes
But death and taxes shouldn't be so inextricably tied to the future success of family members. Requiring grieving families to pay a confiscatory tax on their loved one’s nest egg far too often forces families to sell assets like farms and businesses. Other times, employees of the family business must be laid off and payrolls slashed. We are supporting the efforts of the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition (FBETC) to work with our congressional champions to re-introduce the Death Tax Repeal Act.
Web Accessibility Compliance Standards
National ARVC will be working with Sen. Budd and our lobbyist to get sponsors for the introduction of a similar bill in 2023 in both the House and Senate. This common-sense legislation would permit small businesses time (90 days to be exact) to cure or correct perceived deficiencies in their websites before being subject to a lawsuit. It's a big step in the right direction to protecting park owners in the digital space.
There is growing support for the belief that serial lawsuits don’t encourage ADA Title III compliance and are unduly burdensome, especially for small business owners. It is our belief that legislation should be focused on eliminating the motivation for drive-by lawsuits to simply give the opportunity to remove barriers to accessibility, the intended focus of the ADA, before a lawsuit may be filed.
On June 8, 2022, Jeff Sims, Senior Director of State Relations & Program Advocacy, ARVC and Jaqueline Gloria, Senior Manager, Membership, ARVC met with bill sponsor Rep. Ted Budd’s staff on Capitol Hill to discuss a gameplan to move this much-needed legislation forward. Rep Ted Budd was elected to the U.S. Senate and the ARVC team will be having discussions with Sen. Budd to secure the reintroduction of similar legislation in 2023.
Why is this important?
Outdoor hospitality business owners and operators are being subjected to costly and time-consuming frivolous lawsuits. A cure period would give an owner time to rectify a website issue before a lawsuit can be filed.
National ARVC will be working with Sen. Budd and our lobbyist to get sponsors for the introduction of a similar bill in 2023 in both the House and Senate.
ORR Releases 2022 Annual Report
ORR released their 2022 Annual Report showcasing our industry-wide efforts to bridge the gap between federal agencies and outdoor recreation businesses, educate lawmakers on the impact of the outdoor recreation economy, provide support for rural economic growth through recreation, convene cross-segment leaders around how to drive the future of the outdoor recreation industry, highlight our sector’s economic impact, build welcoming spaces for all outdoor participants, and so much more. We’re proud of the work ORR and our members have accomplished and look forward to an equally strong 2023. ORR Annual Report: 2020 (recreationroundtable.org)
Getting to Know the New Members of the 118th Congress
Download this handy guide to view the CQ profiles for all 82 new members of the 118th Congress so you can start getting familiar with them and their issues, and kick off your outreach strategy. CQ(prdinfocqcom.wpenginepowered.com)
Tax overhaul bill to get first floor vote since initial introduction in 1999
The House is expected to vote on a bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code this year, marking the first time in the bill's 24-year history that either chamber of Congress has considered it on the floor.
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) introduced on Jan. 9 the Fair Tax Act of 2023, which would repeal income, payroll and estate taxes and impose a national sales tax. Tax overhaul bill to get first floor vote since initial introduction in 1999 (politicopro.com)
Resilient US economy grows 2.1 percent in 2022
The U.S. economy powered through high inflation, rising interest rates and an energy shock to grow at a solid pace throughout 2022, according to data released 01/26/2023 by the Commerce Department.
U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.1 percent last year with fourth-quarter GDP growing by 2.9 percent. Economists had been expecting 2.8-percent growth in the fourth quarter, a modest fall-off from 3.2-percent growth in the previous quarter.
BEA News: Gross Domestic Product by State and Personal Income by State, 3rd Quarter 2022
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has issued the following news release:
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 47 states and the District of Columbia in the third quarter of 2022, with the percent change in real GDP ranging from 8.7 percent in Alaska to –0.7 percent in Mississippi.
Personal income increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the third quarter, with the percent change ranging from 14.2 percent in Colorado to 1.4 percent in Kentucky.
The full text of the release can be found at Gross Domestic Product by State and Personal Income by State, 3rd Quarter 2022 | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Wins That Are Worth Bragging About
Campground Inherent Risk Bills Introduced
Inherent Risk bills offer owners, operators and employees of campgrounds and RV parks protection from frivolous lawsuits when an injury or death occurs as a result of an inherent risk of camping. In January, CT H 5095 went to the joint committee on judiciary and VA H 1958 passed from the House to the Senate. Other Inherent Risk bills have been passed throughout the country.
CT H 5095 Duties and Liability of Campground Owners: Concerns the duties and liability of campground owners; promotes campground safety for visitors and legal certainty to campground owners.
VA H 1958 Campgrounds: Relates to campgrounds; relates to inherent risks; relates to liability; provides that a person who goes camping at a campground shall be presumed to have known the inherent risks of camping, as defined in the bill; provides that a campground and any owner, operator, employee, or officer of the campground shall be immune from civil liability for personal injury or death or property damage that occurs while a person is camping at such campground and that resulted from the inherent risks of camping.
The State of the States
Legislative Updates from Our State Executives
The 2023 Indiana General Assembly opened January 9 and must end no later than April 29.
SB 381 was introduced by State Senator Linda Rogers (R - Granger) which would eliminate the collection of Indiana sales tax from all out-of-state and out-of-country residents who purchase an RV or cargo trailer in Indiana. Instead of paying Indiana sales tax, those consumers would register, license, and pay sales tax in their state or country of residence. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.
Senate Bill 324, authored by State Senator Sue Glick (R - LaGrange), proposes tort reform for the commercial trucking industry like those transporting RVs and manufactured homes. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It creates a procedure to bifurcate a trial of a civil action filed against the operator of a commercial motor vehicle and the employer of the operator or the owner of the commercial motor vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident. This is aimed at curtailing multimillion-dollar awards juries are awarding in crashes even when the commercial carrier is not at fault.
HB 1508 by Representative Mike Speedy (R - Indianapolis) would give a 50% excise tax break to RV owners 65 and older. Representative Speedy’s father was a campground owner and Mike is RV friendly. HB 1508 has been assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee.
The Ohio Campground Owners Association works on a variety of issues at the state level and track many pieces of the legislation. Over the last several years, we worked successfully to enact legislation to establish limited liability protections for campgrounds when there are injuries as a result of activities inherent to camping. We are also working proactively and consistently to ensure our regulator, the Ohio Department of Health, is working in a common sense and business-friendly manner. We expect to focus even more attention on that issue in 2023. We also have a constant working relationship with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio EPA on issues impacting campgrounds. Below is a summary of legislation the OCOA followed that was completed at the end of 2022.
Asset Management Legislation
House Bill 464 was introduced to eliminate the asset management program for public water systems. HB 464 would eliminate the requirement to submit these plans to Ohio EPA for transient noncommunity water systems. Separately, the provisions of HB 464 were ultimately incorporated into HB 364 regarding waterworks infrastructure which has been sent to the Governor for signature. Under the bill "Transient noncommunity water system" means a noncommunity public water system that does not regularly serve at least twenty-five of the same persons over six months per year and is not a community water system or a nontransient noncommunity water system. This is a bill that was supported by OCOA.
Poultry Legislation Loaded Up
House Bill 507 was originally intended to decrease from 6 to 3 the minimum number of poultry chicks that may be sold in a lot. After passing the House unanimously, it went to the Senate for consideration. Before reporting the bill out of the Senate Agriculture Committee, a host of amendments were added. A few of those are summarized below. This bill has been signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
- Incorporated Senate Bill 338 to require the state departments of health and agriculture to adopt rules governing the assessment of registered environmental health specialists and environmental health specialists in training who conduct inspections of food service operations. The assessments created under this bill would test health inspectors’ knowledge of food safety and Ohio’s food code. This should help ensure local inspectors are fairly, accurately and competently inspecting food service operations.
- Prohibits a political subdivision from regulating or banning the packaging, registration, labeling, sale, storage, distribution, use, or application of a pesticide registered with the Department of Agriculture on private property, including private property that is open to the public.
- Requires, rather than authorizes, state agencies to lease land for oil and gas resources for development (drilling). This provision has been heavily criticized by environmental groups.
Splash Pad Bill Enacted
House Bill 178, legislation to regulate the pressure from splash pads was passed and signed by the Governor. This bill was supported by OCOA. Under HB 178, the flow rate through a feature nozzle of a water feature will not be able to exceed twenty feet per second.
Funny you Should Ask
What is an omnibus spending bill?
An omnibus spending bill is a type of bill in the United States that packages many of the smaller ordinary appropriations bills into one larger single bill that can be passed with only one vote in each house of Congress. There are twelve different ordinary appropriations bills that need to be passed each year (one for each appropriations sub-committee) to fund the federal government and avoid a government shutdown. An omnibus spending bill combines two or more of those bills into a single bill.