The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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Two Bills Address H-2B Visa Program

(Congress, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

The H-2B visa program has faced increasing costs this year with the finalization of substantial changes to the program in April. In recent months, advocates of the program have introduced legislation in both houses of Congress to address the modification and the shortcomings in this program.

In October, a bipartisan group of senators including Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced S 2225, the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2015. This bill will streamline the H-2B program to eliminate ambiguities and establish clear parameters for employers hiring foreign workers. This would include creating an H-2B returning worker exemption; reverting to an employer attestation model; eliminating the requirement to provide housing; and changing the wage rate to compensate for an employee’s job duties and experience versus meeting a statistical measure. This bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Read more...

Senate Takes Action on Waters of the US

(Congress, Regulation) Permanent link

Take ActionDuring the week of November 2, the US Senate devoted several days to the consideration of two measures related to the Waters of the US expansion mandated earlier this year by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. The rule itself is currently on hold pending action in the US Circuit of Appeals Sixth Circuit.Senate Takes Action on Waters of the US

First, the Senate considered a motion to proceed on S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Act. This bill would require the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the current proposed rule and develop a new rule in consultation with stakeholders, state partners and regulated entities. In order to allow consideration, 60 votes were needed in the Senate but the measure failed to pass by three votes on the Tuesday, November 3. Read more...

OSHA: Increased Fines and Latest Injury and Illness Statistics

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

OSHA is raising its fines. For the first time since 1990, OSHA fines will increase under the recently passed budget deal. The exact amount has not yet been determined but OSHA will have the option for a substantial, one-time increase, as much as 50 percent.

In subsequent years, the fines can automatically adjust based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). These adjusted fines are slated to become effective as early as August 1, 2016.

This was included in HR 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act, passed November 2. OSHA will now work with the Office of Management and Budget to finalize the new fines. 

But for some good news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its 2014 report. Employers reported nearly 54,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases than 2013.

More Questions on the Proposed Overtime Regulations

 Permanent link

10_27_15_QuestionMarkCMAA recently held a webinar on The Impact of the Proposed Overtime Regulation on the Club Industry. More than 280 members attended the session, which is now available as an archived webinar for all CMAA members on CMAA University. Select CMAA Member Education, Archived Webinars, External & Governmental Influences Webinars.

With the complexity of this issue, presenter Melissa Low, Senior Director, Communications and Advocacy, takes time out to answer many of the FAQs following the session.

When Are the Proposed Rules Slated to Become Effective?
The official comment deadline closed in early September. Based on comments made by the Department of Labor (DOL), we expect the final rules to be published and become effective in the first quarter of 2016. Read more...

Understanding the Cadillac Tax

(Health Care Reform, Regulation) Permanent link

10_27_15_CadillacThe High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Excise Tax, more commonly referred to as the Cadillac Tax, is slated to become effective in 2018. Under this provision of the Affordable Care Act, if the total premium cost of the plan provided to an employee exceeds a specific dollar limit, which is revised annually, the excess is subject to a 40 percent excise tax. So that total premium cost is the sum of what your club pays and what the employee pays. 

Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is developing guidance about the tax for employers and employees. Read more...

Clean Water Act Injunction Expanded Nationwide

(Regulation) Permanent link

 10.09.15 CWA

On Friday, October 9, Judge David W. McKeague of the US Circuit of Appeals Sixth Circuit issued a stay for enforcement of the Clean Water Act for all 50 states. The stay will prevent the enforcement of the rule which expanded federal oversight and jurisdiction over many water bodies on golf courses including rivers, streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds, ditches and ephemeral drainages. The stay will remain in effect while the Courts determine the issues of jurisdiction and the multiple legal challenges brought by the states and private parties. Read more...

USDA and EPA Join Together to Tackle Food Waste Reduction

(Regulation) Permanent link

09.21.15 TrashOn September 16, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  announced their joint effort to address food waste in the US. In the establishment of the first-ever national food waste reduction goal, the agencies are calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. As part of this effort, the agencies will lead a new partnership with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation's natural resources.

According to the USDA and EPA, food loss and waste in the United States accounts for approximately 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers. Food loss and waste is single largest component of disposed US municipal solid waste, and accounts for a significant portion of US methane emissions. Landfills are the third largest source of methane in the United States. Read more...