70 noncompete bills in 31 states, 6 in Congress…

Corrected for count (70, not 69).

As of March 9, there are 70 noncompete bills pending in 31 states, plus 6 in Congress. (As a reminder for comparison, there had been a total of 98 noncompete bills in 33 states last year.)

Executive summary 

This year’s bills range from complete noncompete bans (9 bills in 7 states plus NYC and 2 in Congress) to some type of wage/job criteria/threshold (7 bills in 6 states plus NYC and 1 in Congress) to bans for veterinarians (4 bills in 3 states) to regulations in the healthcare industry (27 bills in 18 states and 2 in Congress), and 13 of the bills (in 8 states plus NYC) include some type of notification requirement, while 15 of the bills (in 9 states plus NYC) include some type of fine or penalty, and 1 (federal) bill relates to Covid vaccine mandates (yep).

One bill (in Washington) is already on the Governor’s desk, two other bills (in Illinois and Maine) are worth watching, and 3 bills (in California, Utah, and Virginia) have died.

States with noncompete bills

The 70 noncompete bills break down by state and number of bills (if more than one) as follows (states with dead bills are red):

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado (2)
  • Connecticut (2)
  • Florida (2)
  • Hawai‘i
  • Illinois (4)
  • Iowa (5)
  • Kentucky (3)
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland (2)
  • Massachusetts (4)
  • Michigan (3)
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri (5)
  • Nebraska (2)
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York (6, three of which are at the NYC Council)
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma (3)
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania (5)
  • Rhode Island (5)
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin (2)

Breakdown of the bills 

  • 9 propose a complete ban:

Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, NYC (not New York State), Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin (two bills)

  • 7 include “low-wage” criteria

Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York (one at the legislature and one in NYC), and Pennsylvania

  • 4 relate to veterinarians

Maryland (two bills), Massachusetts, and New Mexico

  • 26 relate to the healthcare industry (corrected count)

Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida (two bills), Illinois, Iowa (three bills), Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland (two bills), Massachusetts, Missouri (three bills), Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania (two bills), and Rhode Island (two bills)

  • 13 include some type of notice requirements

Illinois, Kentucky (two bills), Maine, Michigan (two bills), New York (two at the legislature and one in NYC), Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin (two bills)

  • 15 include fines or penalties

California (which died), Illinois, Iowa (two bills), Kentucky (two bills), Maine, Michigan (two bills), New York (three at the legislature and one in NYC), Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

It’s also worth noting that Missouri, North Carolina, and Oklahoma have bills proposing to adopt the Uniform Restrictive Employment Agreement Act (UREAA).

Three dead bills

  • California’s bill to impose sanctions (suspension or disbarment) on lawyers who assist parties entering into or enforcing unlawful restrictive covenants.
  • Utah’s bill to ban noncompetes for nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and for employees who were laid off.
  • Virginia’s bill to move from a wage threshold to a complete noncompete ban.

Three bills to keep an eye on  

Illinois’s bill to not only ban noncompetes completely (undoing its sweeping 2022 changes, which replaced its 2017 low-wage threshold), but to follow California’s lead with the following two sections (emphasis added):

An employer or former employer shall not attempt to enforce a contract that is void and unenforceable under this Act regardless of whether the contract was signed and the employment was maintained outside of this State.

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Notice to employees and former employees. On or before April 1, 2025, an employer who entered into a covenant not to compete or a covenant not to solicit with an employee, or a former employees who was employed after January 1 2023, shall notify the employee or the former employee that the covenant not to compete or the covenant not to solicit is void and unenforceable. Notice made under this subsection shall be in the form of a written individualized communication to the employee or former employee and shall be delivered to the last known address and the email address of the employee or former employee.

Maine’s bill to ban noncompetes has made substantial progress in the House and Senate. The bill not only replaces Maine’s 2019 wage threshold with a complete ban (prospectively), but it includes notice requirements and includes a $5,000 minimum fine for requiring or permitting a Maine employee to sign a noncompete.

Washington’s bill, which is awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto, will (if enacted) modify its 2022 noncompete law as follows:

  • It will add that “[t]he provisions in this chapter facilitating workforce mobility and protecting employees and independent contractors need to be liberally construed and exceptions narrowly construed.”
  • It will expand the definition of “noncompetition covenant” to include “an agreement that directly or indirectly prohibits the acceptance or transaction of business with a customer.”
  • It will limit the sale of business exemption to someone that holds at least a one percent interest in the company.
  • It will void any noncompete that “allows or requires the application of choice of law principles or the substantive law of any jurisdiction other than Washington state.”

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Federal bills

There are currently six noncompete bills pending in Congress:

(1) Senators Young and Murphy (along with the support of two other co-sponsors) filed the Workforce Mobility Act of 2023, again proposing a ban on all employee noncompetes (i.e., permitting sale of business noncompetes).

(2) Representative Scott Peters (along with the support of two other co-sponsors) filed the Workforce Mobility Act of 2023, which is the House version of the same re-proposed ban.

(3) Representative Claudia Tenney reintroduced her Ensure Vaccine Mandates Eliminate Non-Competes Act (the “EVEN Act”) “[t]o void existing non-compete agreements for any employee who is fired for not complying with an employers COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and for other purposes.”

(4) Senators Marco Rubio and Maggie Hansen reintroduced the Freedom to Compete Act. Like the prior versions, the bill would ban noncompetes for anyone not exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201, et seq.) — the approach taken first by Massachusetts and later by Rhode Island.

(5) Senators Klobuchar, Collins, Rosen, Tillis, King, Thune, Merkley, Capito, Coons, Paul, Durbin, Moran, Shaheen, Wicker, Smith, Marshall, Blumenthal, Cramer, and Boozman introduced the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act, which primarily addresses immigration issues for physicians in underserved communities, but would also ban the use of noncompetes for those covered by the Act.

(6) Representative Bradley Schneider introduced the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act, which is the House version relating to physicians in underserved communities.

These bills are separate from the FTC’s proposed ban, the NLRB’s General Counsel’s memo finding noncompetes illegal under the NLRA, the FTC’s enforcement actions, and the NLRB’s unfair labor charges.

Two other bills worth noting are two companion bills (one in the Senate and one in the House) to ban B2B no-poach agreements:

While these bills serve a laudable goal, they cut too far, and can interfere with B2B agreements that legitimately prevent disintermediation.

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Additional resources: 

We know how hard it is to keep up with the ever-changing requirements around the country. To help, we have created the following resources (available for free):

We hope you find all of these resources useful. More are coming.

And please note that we are grateful for all of the input we’ve received over the years, and welcome any suggestions for improvements that you may be willing to share.

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*A huge thank you to Erika Hahn for all of her extraordinary help in tracking and monitoring all of the bills around the country and helping me make sure that all of our resources are current and accurate. And thank you to David Sanders at my former firm (Foley & Lardner) for highlighting the NYC bills for me.