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Petroff Seeks To Clarify Tip Laws

January 16, 2013 State of Wyoming, Town of Jackson No Comments
tips

Two bills sponsored by Jackson Representative RuthAnn Petroff in the Wyoming House seek to correct Wyoming laws that pertain to tips received by service people in the state’s bars and restaurants. Both, explains Petroff, seek to bring the state statutes in line with federal laws pertaining to such gratuities and relate directly to the Fair Labor Standards Act. One would remove a state requirement that gratuities added to bills for parties of over a certain number is taxed since it is invoiced by the establishment. Petroff explains legally the tips are the property of the service employee or employees who receive them and as such are subject to employment taxes by both the employer and employee. Petroff says “Since they are treated the same way (under federal tax law) we think they should be treated the same way with regard to sales tax as well.” The other bill she says seeks to limit the amount an employer can require a member of staff to share in a tip pool to be distributed to other employees. She says the bill mirrors federal law protecting employees by saying that if you are a server, you cannot be required by your employer to contribute more than 15% of your tips to a tip pool. That she says would be the pool shared among auxillary servers like hosts or bus personnel, but only personnel who share in the responsibility of serving customers. Specifically, she says it prohibits splitting tips with non-service personnel like management, kitchen staff or dishwashers. That law, she goes on, also precludes employees from being required to place all their tips into a common pool to be shared evenly among the servers. At the same time, it will help employers meet the requirement of ensuring all tipped employees average at least $7.25 per hour through their hourly wage and tips combined.

The continuation of a moratorium on eminent domain for obtaining right-of-way for power transmission lines from wind farms was passed on first reading in the Wyoming House of Representatives Monday. Representative Keith Ginger says that moratorium is detrimental to the development of alternative energy sources in the state. Gingery says without assurance of connectivity, the wind energy industry will not continue in Wyoming. However, he says the House voted to keep the statute for another two years. Still, he says he is hopeful as it sees more discussion on future readings, the moratorium’s role in blocking such diversification in the state’s economy will be better understood.

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