State By State Advocacy Series – September 2020 Northeast Recap

Here’s a recap of NMMA’s state advocacy efforts for September in the Northeast region. Contact Libby Yranski, lyranski@nmma.org with questions.

Sales Tax: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s final budget does not include any tax changes for the boating industry. Governor Murphy had previously proposed removing the reduced boat sales tax as well as the sales tax cap in his budget proposal. This would have doubled sales tax on boats from 3.5% to 7% and removed the $20,000 tax cap. NMMA, the NJ Marine Trades Association, MRAA and AMI partnered together to fight against these proposals as they would severely harm the boating industry within the state. Sales tax changes will be monitored throughout the fall and into the 2021 session for states along the east coast as states try to financially recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Particular states that we will be watching are New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.

Business Liability: As businesses deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdated business liability rules have come to the forefront of business protection needs. Many of the states in the Northeast have passed laws to protect healthcare workers from civil liability COVID-19 suits. Currently active legislation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania would expand these protections to all businesses.

  • Massachusetts: HD5163 would protect all businesses designated as essential in the Governor’s March 23, 2020 COVID-19 Order No. 13 and any subsequent extensions of such order defining essential businesses and services, including the business or organization’s individual employees, owners, directors or agents. This bill is still pending, Massachusetts legislature meets year-round.
  • New Jersey:  A4279 would protect manufacturers of PPE, AB4189/S2502 would provide general immunity for businesses and non-profits. Both sets of bills have not been scheduled in Committee as the week of September 28. AB 4190/SB 2522 would protect retailers including bars and restaurants, the Senate bill has passed the Senate and its first Assembly Committee. These bills are still active and pending, New Jersey legislature meets year-round.
  • Pennsylvania:  HB2639 would protect manufacturers of PPE. SB1194 would not only protect businesses from COVID-19 suits and limits the time a person has to file a lawsuit. Both bills have been referred to Committees but have not been scheduled for a hearing.
  • Virginia: HB5019 and HB5037 both protect individuals and those manufacturing PPE from civil liability suits regarding COVID-19. These bills are still active and pending legislative action.

Travel Restrictions:

  • Beginning in June, the Governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have required visitors from states in which more than 10 per 100,000 residents tested positive for the virus or more than 10 percent of tests were positive, on a seven-day rolling average. Visitors from those states, which totaled 33 as well as Puerto Rico and Guam as of September 29, must self-quarantine for 14 days and submit a self-identification form.
  • Rhode Island requires visitors to self-quarantine if they travel  from any of the 29 states listed here  unless they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Travel restrictions will begin in Massachusetts on August 1, all travelers including returning residents must complete travel forms prior to arrival, unless visiting from one of the nine lower-risk states and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in the Commonwealth.
  • Visitors to Maine must self-quarantine for 14 days or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or be a resident of the following exempted states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to any states with a positivity rate of 10% or higher, anyone traveling from these states should be tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This public health advisory applies to personal, family or business travel of any kind, to read the full advisory click here.