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Legislative Updates – July 13, 2021

 

Arizona

State Tax

On July 9, 2021, Gov. Doug Ducey signed AZ S.B. 1783 establishing a new and lower alternative small business income tax structure. Under the plan, “small business income” is defined as interest, dividends, profits and certain capital gains.

 

California

Workers’ Compensation

Effective August 1. 2021, the medical treatment utilization schedule drug list will be updated by the California Workers’ Compensation Division to include COVID-19 treatments.

City of San Francisco

On July 8, 2021, Mayor London Breed introduced the Francisco Small Business Recovery Fund providing zero interest loans in amounts up to $100,000 for small businesses damaged by the pandemic. Small businesses can apply online at CALoanFund.org.

 

Colorado

Data Privacy

On July 8, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed CO S.B. 21-190 creating personal data privacy rights. The legislation applies to legal entities that conduct business or produce commercial products or services that are intentionally targeted to Colorado residents.

Safety Precautions

On July 8, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis ended the Health Emergency Executive Orders for COVID-19 and rescinded all previous Executive Orders issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loan Program

On July 8, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed CO H.B. 21-1288 creating the Colorado startup loan program to provide loans and grants to businesses seeking capital to start, restart, or restructure a business.

Workers’ Compensation

On July 1, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed CO H.B. 21-1050 requiring the following:

  • An injured worker who is claiming mileage reimbursement for travel related to obtaining compensable medical care to submit a request to the employer or insurer within 120 days after the expense is incurred and requires the employer or insurer to pay or dispute mileage within 30 days after submittal and to include in the brochure of claimants’ rights an explanation of rights to mileage reimbursement and the deadline for filing a request.
  • In addition, it prohibits the reduction of an employee’s temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or medical benefits based on apportionment under any circumstances; limits apportionment of permanent impairment to specific situations; and declares that the employer or insurer bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, at a hearing regarding apportionment of permanent impairment or permanent total disability benefit.
  • The following conditions must be met for an employer or insurer to request the selection of an independent medical examiner when an authorized treating physician has not determined that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI): An examining physician must have examined the employee at least 20 months after the date of the injury, have determined that the employee has reached MMI, and have served a written report to the authorized treating physician specifying that the examining physician has determined that the employee has reached MMI; and the authorized treating physician must have responded that the employee has not reached MMI or must have failed to respond.
  • Prohibits an employer or insurer from withdrawing an admission of liability when 2 years or more have passed since the date the admission of liability on the issue of compensability was filed, except in cases of fraud
  • Increases the threshold amount that an injured worker must earn for permanent total disability payments to cease and allows for annual adjustment of the threshold amount starting in 2022.

Single Use Bags

On July 6, 2021, Gov. Jared Polis signed CO H.B. 21-1162 prohibiting single-use plastic bags and polystyrene products effective January 1, 2024.

 

Connecticut

Hiring Process

Effective October 1, 2021, employers are prohibited from requesting or retaining the following from a perspective employee: age, date of birth or school graduation (exception-occupation qualification). CT S.B. 56

 

Hawaii

Business Operations

On July 7, 2021, Gov. David Ige set additional vaccination benchmarks for gatherings and restaurants when the state achieves a 60% vaccination rate. Restaurants are permitted to have 75% capacity (with maximum groups size of 25 indoors and 75 outdoors). Social gatherings can have up to 25 individuals indoors and 75 outdoors.

 

Illinois

Employer Reporting

On July 9, 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed IL H.B. 351 requiring the fire chief of a secondary employer to report any injury, illness, or exposure incurred by a secondary employee during his or her employment to the Department of Insurance (DOI).  The legislation also requires secondary employers to transmit to the DOI a certified copy of their report, accounting for all hours worked by the secondary employees.

Employee Wages

On July 9, 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed IL H.B. 118 entitling an employee to recover damages of 5%, rather than 2%, of the amount of any underpayments in wages for each month following the date of payment during which such underpayments remain unpaid.

Telemedicine

On July 9, 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed IL S.B. 332 requiring that an insurer or network plan make available, in electronic or print form, information related to the provider’s use of telehealth and telemedicine.

Grants

On February 2, 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a $9 million investment to expand the community navigator outreach program designed to help small businesses take advantage of economic recovery grant programs. An expansion to the existing community navigator program leverages 13 community navigator organizations. Businesses can obtain additional information at the DCEO webpage.

 

Kansas

Paid Family Leave

On July 6, 2021, Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order expanding parental leave benefits to primary caregivers, secondary caregivers, and foster parents.  Under the order, care givers receive additional leave.

  • Primary caregivers receive eight weeks of leave (an increase of two weeks from the original policy).
  • Secondary caregivers receive four weeks of leave (an increase of one week from the original policy).
  • Foster parents are now eligible for parental leave, with primary caregivers receiving eight weeks of leave and secondary caregivers receiving four weeks of leave.
  • Parental leave can now be used thirty days in advance of the birth date, adoption, or fostering of a child or children per calendar year.
  • New State employees become eligible after 180 days of employment. Current employees will not be subjected to this requirement.

Unemployment Benefits

On July 9, 2021, the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) issued a reminder to claimants to complete the two-step program requirement the “My Reemployment Plan” (MRP). Claimants who do not participate in the program may be disqualified from receiving benefits under the new state law.

City of Wichita

On July 6, 2021, the City Council voted to adopt an anti-discrimination (employment, housing, business) ordinance prohibiting discrimination due to age, color, disability, familial status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin or ancestry, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other factor protected by law.

 

Louisiana

Pregnancy Accommodation

Effective August 1, 2021, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL) expands to include coverage for lactation or the need to express breast milk, more frequent paid breaks or bathroom breaks, a private place, other than a bathroom stall, for expressing breast milk; suitable seating. Employers are further required to provide reasonable accommodations, unless an undue hardship exists and to post and distribute a written notice of rights. LA S.B. 215

 

Maryland

Unemployment Benefits

On July 3, 2021, Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a temporary restraining order requiring the state to continue its unemployment programs including the extra $300 being paid to those receiving benefits.

City of Baltimore

On July 12, 2021, the Baltimore County Board of Liquor License Commissioners voted to resume to-go cocktails for carryout or delivery at restaurants, bars and taverns.

 

Missouri

Liability Protections

On July 7, 2021, Gov Mike Parson signed MO S.B. 51 limiting liability for COVID-19 exposure claims unless the defendant is engaged in reckless or willful misconduct that caused an actual exposure and resulted in personal injury. These protections are extended to health care providers, manufacturers, and others who may have altered their practices to accommodate the changing needs of patients and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

New Jersey

Employee Misclassification

On July 8, 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a four-bill legislative package furthering state efforts to stop employee misclassification. NJ A-5890/S-3920, NJ A-5891/S-3921, NJ A-5892/S-3922, NJ A-1171/S-1260. Through the new legislation, the Office of Strategic Enforcement and Compliance within the Department of Labor (DOL) will be created and the DOL will create a database to track payroll projects, critical steps to tracking and eliminating misclassification. The other bills in the package will simplify the process for identifying misclassified workers and implement stop-work orders at worksites where misclassification is identified.

 

North Carolina

City of Raleigh

On July 6, 2021, the City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyle or hair texture.

 

Oregon

Discrimination

Effective January 1, 2022, the definition of race under the Oregon Fair Employment Practices Law is amended to include physical characteristics that are historically associated with race, including but not limited to natural hair, hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles. OR H.B. 2935

Safety Precautions

On July 6, 2021, Gov. Kate Brown directed Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) to enact emergency rules this week to ensure urgent protection for workers from extreme heat. The temporary rules are expected to expand requirements for employers to provide shade, rest time, and cool water for workers during high and extreme heat events.

Multnomah County

On July 8, 2021, the County Commission voted to provide tenants that are behind on their rents an additional 30 days of protection if they have applied for financial assistance.

 

Washington

Eviction Moratorium

On July 2, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee extended the State’s eviction moratorium until September 30, 2021.

 

Wisconsin

Unemployment Insurance

On July 8, 2021, Gov. Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 406, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 59, which prevents the increase of unemployment insurance (UI) contribution rates, otherwise known as the UI tax rates, on employers by ensuring the state remains in Schedule D in tax years 2022 and 2023.