FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
Additional COVID-19 Relief On Hold Until Mid-July as Congress Confronts Summer Deadlines
While Congress and the Federal Reserve have already allocated more than $6 trillion to COVID-19 relief, many, including Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, are seeking additional relief for small businesses and individuals impacted by the pandemic. Congress is tasked with deciding how much more of a spending boost, and in what form, is needed to spur an economic recovery. As they debate this issue, important deadlines are on the horizon. Deferred tax payments are due July 15. Extra unemployment benefits that millions of jobless Americans have been collecting are scheduled to disappear at the end of July, unless Congress extends these additional benefits. State and local governments, which are facing drastic budget deficits due to COVID-19 economic restrictions, were to have completed their annual budgets by June 30. States are eagerly waiting to see if federal aid is made available to assist in closing their respective deficits. Legislation passed by the House addresses this issue and others, with a $3 trillion price tag, but has no expectation of passing the Senate, as Senators are deciding on their next phase of COVID-19 relief.
Important Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program Enacted
On June 5, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which provides small businesses and other loan recipients of the Program more flexibility and time to use funds and still qualify to have the loan forgiven. For more information on changes to the PPP, check out this Government Relations Spotlight post on the NKBA newsfeed. Following these changes, the Small Business Administration issued two documents on June 16: a new loan forgiveness application and new interim ruling that provides updated guidance for PPP recipients.
Congress Introduces Unemployment Training Services Tax Credit Legislation
This month, legislation known as the Skills Renewal Act (S. 3779 and H.R. 7032) was introduced in both chambers of Congress by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The Skills Renewal Act aims to provide financial incentives to individuals who are seeking new training, skills, and professional recognition by creating a $4,000 “skills training credit.” With this tax credit, individuals could apply to cover the cost of professional training programs — including stackable credentials, certificate programs, apprenticeships and traditional two- and four-year programs — that build skills expected to be in high demand by employers. The credit will be made available to anyone who lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can be applied to the cost of training programs any time in 2020 or 2021. NKBA was one of more than 1,200 organizations who signed onto an ASAE letter to Congress, informing lawmakers of our support for this piece of legislation, which would positively impact NKBA members. If you would like a fact sheet regrading this piece of legislation, please contact NKBA Government Relations Specialist Steven Campeau at email@example.com.
Senate Votes to Extend the Application Deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program
The Senate, just hours before the PPP was sent to expire, voted to extend the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to August 8. With $130 billion in allocated funds that remain unused, small businesses are encouraged to apply and take advantage of this extension, which is expected to pass the House in the near future. To date, more than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized roughly $520 billion in PPP funds to stay afloat during the pandemic. NKBA will continue to monitor this recent development and provide updates to our members as it progresses.
CDC Issues New Guidance on Events and Gatherings
Planning an NKBA Chapter meeting or a business-related event? Be sure to review new guidelines on events and gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Per the guidelines, organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings. These Federal guidelines are meant to supplement, not replace, guidance from your state and local governments.
STATE LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
Interior Design Title and Practice Act Legislation Stalls in Several States
NKBA continues to monitor and track title and practice act legislation in Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska and New York. Additionally, title and practice act legislation in Alaska, Oklahoma, and Iowa failed earlier this year. For more information on these legislative bills, please see below:
- Florida: Florida House Bill 1193 was passed by the state legislature in March, but has been delayed in being sent to the Governor for action due to COVID-19. The bill was sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 17, and signed into law on June 30. This legislation replaces the current licensing scheme for interior designers with a registration for certain local permitting activities.
- Massachusetts: NKBA is currently working with ASID on legislation in Massachusetts, House Bill 4453 and Senate Bill 165, to ensure amendments that protect NKBA designer members are included.
- Missouri: Missouri House Bill 2046 is a comprehensive professional licensing/registration bill. NKBA has been tracking this bill through its membership in the Professional Certification Coalition (PCC). According to the Missouri Division of Professional Registration, any individuals who receive a title granted by a private certification organization, such as NKBA, may continue to use that title.
- Nebraska: NKBA is monitoring Nebraska Bill 1068, which includes agreed-upon language that protects kitchen and bath designers.
- New York: New York Senate Bill 2232 relates to mandating continuing education for certified interior designers. It has not progressed in the Senate since it was introduced.
State Legislative Sessions Coming to a Close
State legislatures continue to adjourn for the year, bringing the total number of states adjourned or not in session to 33. Out of those 33 states adjourned, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, and Tennessee still have Governor’s deadlines pending for passed legislation. NKBA continues to monitor bills on each state’s respective Governor’s desk as well as legislation that may impact the kitchen and bath industry across the 17 states still in session and on the federal level. Please be aware that, due to COVID-19, states may decide to hold special sessions for legislative priorities related to the pandemic. NKBA will continue to monitor if session schedules change at any time.
COVID-19 State Updates and Available Resources
To keep up-to-date on what individual states are doing to combat COVID-19, this interactive map, online platform and resource center may be of interest. The interactive map shows all COVID-19-related legislative activity that your respective state has enacted, while the online platform and resource center provide important information related to COVID-19.
Federal and State Legislative Contacts
Don’t forget to contact your Federal and State Legislators for government information and resources. Legislative staffs are available to answer any questions on legislation, or walk you through governmental processes.
NKBA Legislative Contact
NKBA will monitor relevant legislative developments at the state and federal levels, and, where appropriate, provide information to members concerning material issues and developments — including laws and regulations that might impact the kitchen and bath industry. If you have any questions or comments on legislation, please reach out directly to Steven Campeau, NKBA’s Government Relations Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: NKBA is providing this material for general information only. This information does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax/investment advice, accounting services, or professional consulting of any kind, nor should it be construed as such. NKBA is not a lobbying organization and does not have a Political Action Committee (PAC). Resources such as this are meant solely for informational purposes.