Active State Issues
Active Federal Issues
WWI worked alongside the restaurant/hotel and craft beer industry lobbyists to draft, amend, and pass one of the more complex and meaningful pieces of alcohol legislation of the 2021 session in HB 1480. The bill created legal allowances for cocktails to go, wine by the glass to go, curbside service, home delivery, and modernizing outdoor seating allowances, and many other sales privileges through 2023. We will be back with Hospitality and the WA craft brewers to push for permanence on all the allowances allowed in HB 1480 in 2023.
The 18–20-year-old production work bill. With the passage of this bill, 18–20-year-olds are now allowed to work in the production area of a winery facility as long as there is a 21+ employee present. This is an exciting workforce development effort to allow younger viticulture and enology graduates and other employees within a winery get experience and hands on learning of wine production to understand if this is a profession they want to enter.
Ag OT and safe harbor from lawsuits. The legislature removed the long-standing exemption for the Agriculture industry on Overtime pay rules and instituted a three year phase in for the new required level of pay up to at least current 1 1/2x pay similar to the rules other industries currently have in place. . Frustratingly the Legislature did not include a seasonality provision recognizing how seasonal farming is in practice that several other states did recognize by including such an exemption for a specific amount of time. In WA, the Agriculture industry is asking for up to 12 weeks for the exemption to allow us to provide employment to as many seasonal labor workers who rely on these jobs as possible.
One year pause on alcohol licensing fees – To help alcohol licensees across the state struggling through the pandemic, the Legislature adopted a one year pause on licensing fees for all WSLCB licensed businesses.
$12 Million Budget Appropriation for Tourism Marketing and Promotion: WWI worked alongside tourism and hospitality leaders during the 2021 session to secure a historic amount of tourism funding for Washington State to inject a meaningful amount of money into promoting tourism in Washington State at a time our wine industry, hospitality overall, and state need it the most due to the pandemic and the devastating losses incurred by loss of tourists spending in our local communities throughout the state.
Unemployment Insurance relief due to the employment losses during the pandemic-related shutdowns throughout the state.
CARES Act: Covid-19 Stimulus Summary
On March 27th, the President signed into law the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (the CARES Act), the largest economic relief act in our country’s history. The bill authorizes $367 billion in Small Business Administrations Loans
WineAmerica has provided a basic summary of the CARES Act and benefits for the wine industry here.
The US Travel Association has provided a list of relief resources through new or existing federal programs as a result of this legislation. You can find those specific programs here
Federal Tax Changes
For updates of federal tax changes, please view the PDF file below
Congress Extends the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act Through 2020
Washington, DC, December 18, 2019–WineAmerica is pleased to announce that the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CMBTRA) has been extended through December 31, 2020.
The bill was passed as part of a package of tax extenders that was included as an amendment to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. WineAmerica applauds the House and Senate for coming together to extend these credits through the end of 2020, avoiding costly increases for the entire American wine industry.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the bill that carried the extension by a bipartisan vote of 297 to 120. The bill was then sent to the Senate for approval. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 71 to 23, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature, which is expected.
“This is a major victory for the American wine industry, and a huge relief for wineries of all sizes across the country,” said Marty Clubb, owner/winemaker of L’Ecole No. 41 in Walla Walla, Washington who is the current Chair of the WineAmerica Board of Directors. “While there is more work to be done, this extension is a major step forward.”
WineAmerica has been working throughout the year with our colleagues in the beer, cider, mead and spirits sectors on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Our ultimate goal has been to secure permanence on this essential tax savings that have allowed for substantial savings and spurred reinvestment from wineries of all sizes. The larger CBMTRA currently has 74 Senate sponsors and 332 in the House. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to secure either permanence or a long term extension.
“WineAmerica just demonstrated its incredible value to the American wine industry,” said Jim Trezise, the organization’s President. “The powerful combination of daily work by our staff and lobbyists, national grassroots advocacy, and collaboration with other beverage associations was the perfect recipe for success.”
The new extension of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act also includes a very important fix particular to the wine industry. Bonded wine cellars and fulfillment houses will once again be eligible to take the credits on the wine in their facilities, and bond-to bond transfers between wineries will also be eligible for the credits. The correction is a retroactive fix, and will be retroactive to January 1, 2018.