Legislative Updates
March 14, 2023
By: Birch

Disability Protections
On March 2, 2023, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed AR S.B. 186 designed to protect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The act requires criminal background checks, adult/child maltreatment registry checks, sex offender registry checks and drug screenings of employees of community service providers that provide state or federally funded services.

Child Labor
On March 8, 2023, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the Youth Hiring Act of 2023. According to the law, minors under the age of 16 are not required to request permission from the Division of Labor in order to work. They won’t be required to obtain an employment certificate, which formerly served to confirm their age, outline their job and work schedule, and include formal parental or guardian consent. On Tuesday, Sanders made the legislation official.

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is launching its Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant. The retail access grant will prioritize areas where national surveys find high cannabis consumption but have little to no access to legal cannabis retail. This grant program seeks to incentivize local best practices by prioritizing programs that support equity operators and utilize existing licensing and permitting practices. For more information on the retail access grant, please visit: https://cannabis.ca.gov/aboutus/grant-funding/local-jurisdiction-retail-accessgrant/

Dispute Resolution
On March 7, 2023, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that the Department of Law is establishing a new consumer complaint referral program that will seek to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses through informal negotiations overseen by the department.

Employee Leave
On March 10, 2023, Gov. Jared Polis signed CO H.B. 23-1045 clarifying that a member of the Colorado National Guard or any other component of the military forces of the state who is an officer or employee of a public employer is entitled to a leave of absence from employment for training or active state military service for the equivalent of 3 weeks of work on the officer’s or employee’s regular work schedule each year. The officer or employee is entitled to use any paid leave available to the officer or employee or to use unpaid leave.

City of Stamford
On March 6, 2023, the Board of Representatives voted to permit outdoor dining to
occur in parking lots and roads. The dining is permissible in the “public right-of way”
defined by the new code as the exterior area of any city-owned street, sidewalk, or parking space that is not under the control of the Parks & Recreation Commission.

City of Meriden
On March 6, 2023, the City Council voted to use additional use additional ARPA funds for the Meriden Big grant programs to assist businesses in amounts up to 15k-25k. Information on the program can be found here.

County of McDuffie
On March 3, 2023 the Board of Commissioners passed a measure to create a county holiday to be held on Juneteenth (June 19).

Paid Leave
On March 13, 2023, Gov. JB Pritzker signed IL S.B. 208 mandating paid time off for employees of all companies in the state to be used for any reason. The legislation provides employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period, meaning approximately 1.5 million workers will begin earning paid time off starting in 2024. Beginning March 31, 2024, or 90 days following commencement of employment, workers can begin using their earned time off for any reason without the requirement of providing documentation to their employer under the Paid Leave for Workers Act. The legislation provides that paid leave shall accrue at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employees will be paid their full wage while on leave and tipped workers will be paid the minimum wage in their respective locale. An employer cannot require an employee to find their replacement for the leave.

On March 9, 2023, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced $26.88 million in grant funding through the final round of Destination Iowa, a $100 million investment in quality of life and tourism attractions. In recognition of the high interest in the program, Gov. Reynolds also announced an additional investment of $15 million to fund Destination Iowa applications from rural communities that did not receive grants in previous rounds. Information on the grants can be found here.

Hairstyle Discrimination
Effective August 1, 2023, the definition of race under the Minnesota Human Rights
Act (MHRA) is amended to encompass traits associated with race, including but not
limited to hair texture and hair styles such as:
• Braids
• Locs
• Twists
The effect of the amendment is to ban hairstyle discrimination in employment.
MN H.B. 37

New Jersey
Child Labor
Effective June 1, 2023, New Jersey’s child labor law is amended to:
• Require employers that hire minors to register certain information with the
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
• Repeal parental consent requirements for most exemptions from working time restrictions
NJ A.B. A4222

New Mexico
COVID-19 Health Emergency
On March 4, 2023, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the renewal of the COVID-19 executive order will be the final extension. It will remain in effect until March 31, 2023, and then will be allowed to expire.

New York
Warehouse Workers
The Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA) is amended to extend its effective
date to June 19, 2023 (from February 19, 2023) and to revise its provisions regarding:
• Definitions
• Notice of quotas
• Recordkeeping
• Employees’ right to inspect quota records
• Retaliation
• Enforcement
The WWPA is now applicable to businesses with 100 or more workers at a single warehouse distribution facility in the state or 1,000 or more workers (formerly, 500 or more employees) at one or more warehouse distribution facilities in the state. Additionally, starting on June 19, 2023, businesses must give each employee a written summary of any production quotas they are subject to, either upon hiring or within 30 days of that date (previously, February 19, 2023). NY A.B. 1000

New York
Hero Act
The New York Health and Essential Rights (NY HERO) Act is changed to mandate that covered employers recognize a workplace safety committee within 15 days of its formation, as opposed to the previous five-day requirement, as of March 3, 2023. Employers are required by the NY HERO Act to create an exposure prevention plan for airborne infectious diseases. A joint labor-management workplace safety committee made up of employee and employer designees must be established and run by employees if an employer has 10 or more employees. NY S.B. 848

New York
On March 13, 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans to launch the new Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Portal – part of the State Department of Labor’s multi-year technology modernization plan. This tool will give businesses the ability to file notice of layoffs in a faster, more streamlined manner and will provide workers more time to transition into new employment. The new system will also help NYSDOL assist laid off employees faster, connecting them to support services and resources including new employment and training opportunities. The Governor also announced changes to the State’s WARN Act regulations to address the post pandemic employment climate and help to ensure compliance of the New York State WARN Act.

New York
New York City
Effective April 15, 2023, an employer or employment agency in New York City is not permitted to screen a candidate or employee using an automated employment decision tool unless:
• The tool has been the subject of a bias audit within the last year
• Prior to using the instrument, the findings of the most recent bias audit of the tool were made publicly accessible on the website of the business or employment agency

A candidate must be given the opportunity to request an alternative selection procedure or accommodation if an employer utilizes an automated employment decision tool and notice to employees and candidates must be given at least 10 business days prior to usage. Violations may be punished by civil penalties of up to $500 for a first violation and up to $1,500 for subsequent violations.

Medicaid Enrollment
On March 8, 2023, Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready issued Bulletin 1-2023 regarding the requirement of state Medicaid agencies to continue coverage for Medicaid enrollees through the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (COVID-19 PHE). Due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act the continuous enrollment period from the public health emergency will terminate effective April 1, 2023. A special enrollment period (SEP) on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace has been established that will run from March 31, 2023 to July 31, 2024 for those making the transition.

South Dakota
Insurance Documents
On March 7, 2023, Gov. Kristi Noem signed SD S.B. 64 amending provisions regarding delivery of electronic insurance documents. A sponsor or policyholder of a group health plan may consent to notices and documents delivered by electronic means, unless there is a federal requirement for a specific mode of delivery, on behalf of the sponsor or policyholder’s covered employees and covered persons.

The Washington State Department of Commerce announced a new grant opportunity for businesses in the hospitality and lodging industry that suffered business losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Available to restaurants, food stands, trucks, carts, caterers, breweries & microbreweries, wineries & distilleries, hotels, motels, or similar establishments, and other hospitality organizations. The application portal opens on March 14 at wahospitalitygrants.com.

The information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes and to provide a general understanding of regulatory events, legislative changes and the law – not to provide specific legal advice. Employers are advised to discuss and/or receive counsel from their licensed legal or accounting professional, prior to implementing any new policy or policy change.