MFA NEWS SCAN UPDATE - JANUARY 23, 2012

U/I RATE FREEZE IN SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
On J"> News Scan Update - week of: January 23, 2012

News Scan Update - week of: January 23, 2012


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U/I rate freeze, meals tax holiday rejected, domestic violence bill advances, OSHA form 300

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MFA NEWS SCAN UPDATE - JANUARY 23, 2012

U/I RATE FREEZE IN SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
On January 19 the Senate approved legislation (S2108) designed to supplement the state's present fiscal budget, (called a supplemental budget), which contained language that would freeze the present unemployment insurance rate for employers. The proposal would keep the rate schedule at the present schedule “E”. This would be the fourth straight year the rate has stayed the same. The House had also approved its own version of a supplemental budget (H3887) that also contained the rate freeze. The two bills now go to a conference committee to work out the differences. If a similar measure appears in both versions of a bill that go to a conference committee, it cannot be removed from the final version, so the rate freeze will appear in the final version. Upon completion of the conference committee's work, it again goes before the Legislature, which can only vote for its approval or disapproval and cannot make any changes or amendments to the final bill.

SALES TAX HOLIDAY ON MEALS REJECTED
While the House was working on its version of the supplemental budget (see above) an amendment was offered to create a “Sales Tax on Meals” holiday week, which would have suspended the state's meals tax for the period of March 18 through March 23. The House rejected the proposal, and instead sent it to a special commission for further review, essentially placing the proposal in a study where it most likely will remain through the rest of the legislative session.

MA LEGISLATURE ADVANCES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL
On, January 12 the Massachusetts Senate approved (engrossed) legislation (S918) that would establish employment leave and safety remedies to certain victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. The bill now moves on to the House for approval. If passed in its present form, the legislation would require employers with 50 or more employees to give up to 15 days of leave in any twelve month period, with or without pay, if their employee or a family member of the employee is a victim of abusive behavior, or is seeking medical attention, counseling or assistance. Except in cases of imminent danger, employees seeking leave must give appropriate advanced notice as may be required by the employer's leave policy. If advanced notice cannot be given the employee must notify their employer within five days that such leave is being taken or will be taken.

OSHA 300A FORM MUST BE POSTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 2012
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that the OSHA 300A Form must be posted in a prominent place from February 1 through April 30, 2012. Please CLICK HERE to learn more about this form for recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

GOVERNOR PATRICK TO RELEASE FY ‘13 BUDGET NEXT WEEK
WITH NEW REVENUE SOURCES EXPECTED
Governor Patrick is expected to unveil his proposed fiscal budget soon for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2012. The proposed budget is expected to include an expansion of the state's bottle deposit law and a proposed “snack tax” to raise revenue for another anticipated fiscal budget deficit. Early predictions indicate that the state may face another fiscal deficit of close to $1 billion, so the Legislature will be looking for new sources of revenue, including increases in fees. We will keep you informed.

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News Scan Update - week of: January 23, 2012


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U/I rate freeze, meals tax holiday rejected, domestic violence bill advances, OSHA form 300

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