Senator talked about bipartisan legislation she has previously introduced that protects recreational industry jobs
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema met with the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association to discuss meaningful, lasting solutions to fuel Arizona’s recreational tourism industry. The Senator also talked about bipartisan legislation she has previously introduced that protects recreational industry jobs.
“Arizona’s outdoor recreational tourism industry is a major economic engine for our state – and we’re working with Grand Canyon River Outfitters and other partners to expand recreational jobs and opportunities across our state, delivering real results so everyone benefits,” said Sinema.
Sinema and the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association discussed how new wage rules would negatively affect family-run small businesses in northern Arizona. That is why Sinema previously introduced bipartisan legislation – backed by the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association – that allows outfitters and guides to receive an exemption from overtime hour requirements that do not meet the reality of their day-to-day jobs.
Current overtime requirements increase the costs of multi-day trips and force outfitting companies to replace guides halfway through the trip when they reach the 40-hour limit. Whenever it is not practical for replace guides, outfitting companies may choose not to offer as many multi-day trips – negatively impacting Arizona’s tourism economy, especially in northern Arizona.
Most guides work part-time during the summer season and are paid a daily rate and work several days in a row. Rules revolving around a traditional 40-hour work week do not appropriately fit the unique circumstances of backcountry guides. Sinema’s bipartisan legislation addresses this issue and makes outdoor recreational outfitters on par with similar industries, such as ski and seasonal amusement or recreation locations.
Sinema has also previously cosponsored the bipartisan Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act – legislation that improves the permitting process for outfitters, educational organizations, and community groups to enjoy Arizona’s public lands.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, Arizona’s outdoor recreation economy generates 100,514 direct jobs, $9.4 billion total outdoor recreation value added, $5 billion in wages and salaries, and 2.3% share of GDP.