Legislation Coming up in September – $15.00 Minimum Wage, Online Lottery & More

While thousands of bills have already been given a public hearing this year, the joint committees of the Massachusetts Legislature still have some work to do when they return in September after the August recess.  

The Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development has scheduled a hearing for September 19th to hear testimony on bills relating to tips, overtime and the minimum wage.  The likely focal point of that hearing will be the legislation to establish a $15.00 minimum wage here in the Commonwealth.  The bill being pushed by the public unions would raise the minimum wage by $1.00 per year until it hits $15.00 on January 1, 2021.  The legislation also slowly eliminates the tip credit for tipped employees, raising the cash wage to be paid to tipped employees annually until completely eliminating the credit by 2026.  Proponents have a similar ballot question they are threatening to pursue in 2018 if the Legislature fails to act on this bill.

Also on the 19th, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure will meet to hear testimony on legislation that would authorize the MA State Lottery to create online lottery games.  RAM member convenience stores see the Lottery as an important driver of foot traffic into their stores and view the push to allow online sales as potentially devastating to that existing partnership.

Later in October, the Labor Committee is also expected to hear bills relative to regulating non-compete employment agreements, unemployment insurance reform legislation, and bills regarding the state’s independent contractor law.