- Starting July 1, 2016, the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee approved amendments to The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Seas’ (SOLAS), will require that shippers verify gross container weight prior to shipping. complete article: cwlfirm.com
- Beginning July 1, 2016, up to four patients who are entered in the database can join together to form a cooperative garden. Patients and designated providers who participate in a cooperative may grow the total number of plants authorized for the participants. This is particularly important to patients who live in areas where there is no retail store where they can purchase medical marijuana. complete article: http://www.liq.wa.gov
- On July 1, 2016, state fuel tax and several licensing related fee increases will go into effect in Washington. The increases were approved by the Legislature in 2015 as part of Connecting Washington, a transportation package to fund many important, impactful transportation projects around our state.These projects include highway and local road construction and maintenance, bike path and walkway projects, rail and transit projects, ferry system improvements and fish barrier removal.The state fuel tax for both gas and diesel will increase by 4.9 cents to 49.4 cents. State fuel taxes provide funding for state, county and city transportation projects and maintenance, ferry construction and operations and other transportation-related needs.
The Enhanced Driver License fee will increase to $9 per year. This means the cost to upgrade a standard, six-year driver license or ID card to an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card will increase from $18 to $54. Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards are available to U.S. citizens as federally approved identification that can be used in place of a U.S. Passport at U.S. land and sea border crossing stations.
Several commercial driver license (CDL) fees are increasing. The fee for obtaining a CDL instruction permit will increase from $10 to $40. CDL knowledge (written) tests will increase from $10 to $35, CDL skills (driving) tests will increase from $100 to $250 except for the school bus driver test, which will remain $100. The new CDL skills test fee will allow a driver to take one no-charge retest if the test isn’t passed on the first attempt.
The electric vehicle renewal fee increases $50, from $100 to $150. This fee is collected to mitigate the impact of electric vehicles, which pay little or no fuel taxes, on our state’s roads and highways.
Annual motor vehicle weight fees for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and other types of vehicles up to 14,000 pounds that pay the state’s $30 basic registration fee will increase. The amount of the increase will range from $15 to $35 depending on the weight of the vehicle. For example, the motor vehicle weight fee for a passenger vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds or less will increase by $15, from $10 to $25.
Gross weight license fees for trucks, commercial vehicles, and other types of vehicles up to 10,000 pounds that are not subject to the state’s $30 basic registration fee also will increase. The amount of this increase also will range from $15 to $35. A new freight project fee will be collected on vehicles subject to the gross weight license fee with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds. This fee will be 15 percent of the gross weight license fee due at the time of annual registration.
- Planning, directing or coordinating activities undertaken by supervisors or other employer representatives, including meetings and interactions with employees
- Providing material or communication for dissemination to employees
- Conducting a union avoidance seminar for supervisors and other employer representations
- Develop or implement personnel policies, practices, or actions for the employer that are intended to influence or persuade employees regarding their rights to engage or abstain from engaging in union organizing activities
Important update regarding DOL’S new “Persuader Rule”
In addition, the Persuader Rule requires employers to tell employees when any speeches made or materials provided to them about union organizing were prepared by consultants or attorneys.
The new Persuader Rule has met with staunch opposition by a variety of employer groups and by the American Bar Association. Currently, there are at least four lawsuits pending in federal courts in Arkansas, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin. The hope is that one or more of these courts will enjoin the implementation of the new Persuader Rule prior to July 1. However, whether a court will do so is difficult to predict.
However, another option may be available for employers. In the case pending in Arkansas, the DOL filed a status report on the Persuader Rule which included the following statement:
While the effective date of the Rule is April 25, 2016, the rule is only applicable to arrangements and agreements made on or after July 1, 2016, and to payments made pursuant to arrangements or agreements entered into on or after July 1, 2016…. The Department will not apply the Rule to arrangements or agreements entered into prior to July 1, 2016, or payments made pursuant to such arrangements or agreements.
Also, at a presentation representatives of the DOL recently gave regarding the new Persuader Rule, a presenter stated that arrangements and agreements entered into by an employer and a consultant prior to July 1, 2016 are subject to the interpretation of the DOL’s prior Persuader Rule, which generally exempted indirect “persuader” activities such as the four listed above from the reporting requirements. Further, in a communication to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a DOL representative stated that the new reporting form will not apply to services and payments made pursuant to a multi-year agreement even if they occur after July 1, so long as the agreement was signed prior to July 1.
In light of these statements by the DOL, employers that want to continue their relationship with their employment lawyers under the DOL’s old interpretation of the Persuader Rule may want to seriously consider entering into a written engagement letter with that lawyer or law firm prior to July 1, 2016. The engagement letter should specifically include reference to the indirect “persuader” activities to be performed or that could be performed in the future on the employer’s behalf.
If you have any questions or would like more information on this topic, please feel free to contact Fred Pressley, Mike Underwood, Franck Wobst or any other Porter, Wright attorney with whom you work.