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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 3-21-22

Situational Awareness
The House is not in session this week as House Republicans will be in Ponte Vedra, Fla., for their annual three-day issues conference. The Senate is in session this week and will attempt to take up legislation called the COMPETES Act, aiming to foster domestic innovation and manufacturing. The Senate will also attempt to move several nominations and a bill passed by the House to end permanent normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus..

NCA To Meet With Department of Labor
Last week, I was invited to meet with officials at the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 22 to discuss the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees. The DOL is holding a series of listening sessions to hear from various stakeholders on possible revisions to the regulations implementing minimum wage and overtime exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees. There are four main points the DOL is seeking input and I welcome comments from NCA members on the impact an increase in the salary threshold will have on club operations and budgets. Please send me your thoughts by April 15. You can reach me at [email protected]. The issues the DOL is seeking input on are:

  • The appropriate salary level above which the exemptions for bona fide executive, administrative or professional employees may apply;
  • The costs and benefits of increasing the salary level to employers and employees, including increasing wages and reducing litigation costs;
  • The best methodology for updating the salary level, and the appropriate frequency of updates;
  • Whether other changes to the overtime regulations are warranted.

SCOTUS Hearings Begin This Week
The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court this week. If confirmed, Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. The confirmation hearings are expected to last several weeks and begin with a series of opening statements from senators serving on the Judiciary Committee. Judge Jackson will deliver an opening statement once the senators have completed theirs. Then begins a lengthy process of questioning, which could take several weeks.

Economic Growth Expected to Slow
During an NCA webcast last week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Economist Curtis Dubay projected the economy would continue to grow, albeit at a more modest pace than in previous quarters. In the chart below, Dubay projects economic growth of just 1.6% in the first quarter of this year—a significant reduction of previous estimates and a fraction of what occurred in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Pennsylvania Bill Banning Smoking Includes Private Clubs
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is continuing to schedule stakeholder meetings through April to Last week, legislators in Pennsylvania introduced a bill that would ban smoking in casinos, private clubs and bars in the state. The bill aims to protect workers by closing loopholes in current law that still allow smoking in some public places. In a press conference last week, the legislators invited employees to share their experiences working in environments where smoking is still allowed. The workers cited health issues, such as chronic bronchitis, from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Colorado Gas Powered Engine Bill Loses Horsepower
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 7.9 percent the last 12Legislation that had proposed banning the use and advertisement of gas-powered lawn equipment in Colorado has been stripped of those provisions and now aims to provide incentives for people to switch to electric-powered lawn equipment, such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers, through tax credits.