Laws and Regs
Golf leaders nationwide convened in Washington, D.C., on May 1 to discuss key golf issues and the many benefits of the game during a record-244 meetings with members of Congress. As part of National Golf Day, this 12th annual event was coordinated by a coalition of leading associations and industry partners collectively called, WE ARE GOLF.
During these meetings the more than 300 leaders discussed the game’s $84.1 billion economy, nearly $4 billion in annual giving, nearly 15,000 diverse businesses and two million jobs supported by golf.
The day before, more than 200 participants joined together for the third-annual Community Service project to beautify and preserve historic landmarks between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.
“We are here to educate our elected officials that the golf industry is made up of many small businesses that contribute to our national economy,” said Jay Karen, CEO of National Golf Course Owners Association and Chair of the WE ARE GOLF Board. “The importance of fair and good taxation policies is paramount to the success of our businesses.”
The National Club Association bolstered the effort with a special breakfast and presentation by Brian Looser, Legislative Director for Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) at the Capitol Hill Club. This event dovetailed with the National Club Conference held during the previous several days, providing dozens of club leaders to support the National Golf Day activities.
The New York City Council has passed a bill that would prohibit employers from drug testing prospective employers for marijuana as a condition of employment. The legislation exempts safety and security positions, such as law enforcement, childcare, commercial drivers and other jobs that have the potential to significant impact public safety. The law will go into effect one year after Mayor de Blasio signs the legislation.
It is also unclear whether testing would be permitted after employment has begun, such as after a workplace accident. New York City clubs should review their hiring practices to begin planning for this new law.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed a bill that would permit golf courses and country clubs to sell stronger beer (above 4 percent alcohol content) and wine for consumption on the golf course. In October 2018, the state legislature passed a bill that restricted alcohol consumption to only the clubhouse. This new law supersedes the October legislation.
NCA remains active on Maryland and New York tax assessment bills that would dramatically increase clubs’ tax liability. NCA attended a meeting in New York to discuss the issue with several club general managers, board members and organizations working to prevent the legislation from advancing in the legislature. NCA also attended a meeting of the Maryland Coalition of Concerned Clubs to discuss strategy moving forward with preventing similar legislation in Maryland. NCA will continue to support efforts in these states to block detrimental proposals that would significantly increase property taxes on private clubs and will be putting together a "tool-kit" for private clubs so they can be prepared if or when similar proposals come up in their states.
An Iowa club is being sued in a wrongful death case after a man was killed after standing on the back of a golf cart when it flipped over. The club hosted a golf outing in which it provided alcohol to participants. The driver of the cart was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
The lawsuit alleges that the club failed to protect the deceased by allowing golfers to stand on the cart when it was in operation, serving alcohol in excess, failing to supervise participants, allowing someone to operate the golf cart inebriated, among other claims. NCA will update you on the outcome of this case.
On May 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor announced the release of an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for seasonal workers. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is accepting petitions using the Department of Labor attestation form ETA-9142-B-CAA-3. NCA has been advocating for the additional visas along with many other organizations.
Last month, the Department of Labor (DOL) officially published a new proposed rule to revise the joint employer status definitions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the proposed rule, if an employer meets a four-point test, it is determined to be a joint employer. That four-point test includes:
Determinations of joint employer status are made on a case-by-case basis and all four tests do not necessarily have to be met in order to be deemed a joint employer. Given the number and frequency that clubs engage contractors, this proposed rule is a positive development and will help provide consistency and clarity for all employers.
The National Labor Relations Board has also been active in the joint employer space for the last several years through rulings and rulemakings. The DOL issued the proposed rule to “promote certainty for employers and employees, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy.” The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule. NCA will continue to analyze the proposed rule for its effects on private clubs.