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.