South Dakota US Senator Tim Johnson retiring in 2014
Senator Tim Johnson, the South Dakota Democrat who suffered a major brain hemorrhage a month after his party retook the Senate in 2006 and recovered enough to run again two years later, recently announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014.
US Chamber provides resources for your business: Preparing for the health reform law
Here are a number of educational resources to help you prepare for implementation of major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that take effect in January 2014.
SC congressional special election shaping up as national showdown
It's a congressional race featuring political drama, big names and big money — everything that can make American politics so fascinating. The special election in South Carolina's First District will pit a former governor seeking political redemption after his career was derailed by an extramarital affair against the sister of one of the nation's most popular political satirists.
Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act
HR 1249, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, was introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., and additional members, to provide flexibility in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes a requirement that vending companies with 20 or more machines disclose calorie information before the point of purchase. This legislation does not currently affect vending machines.
Labeling of products using Genetically Modified Organisms
The Natural Products Association is renewing its push to create a uniform standard for labeling of GMO's.
Energy Savings Act introduced
Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, recently introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. The bill, as drafted, is similar to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, S. 1000, as it was marked out of committee last Congress. Previous legislation related to energy consumption in federal buildings has indirectly impacted beverage vending machines.
Comments requested from NAMA members: House draft proposal would simplify tax rules for small businesses
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a new draft proposal, HR 633 that calls for simplifying tax rules for small businesses and making compliance easier.
Repeal of Affordable Care Act employer mandate
Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kan., cosponsored S 399, the American Job Protection Act, legislation which would repeal the employer mandate provision included in the President's $2.6 trillion health law. The provision requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide a prescribed level of health insurance or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week. Companion, bipartisan legislation, HR 763, has also been introduced in the House. Click here to read more about the ACA employer mandate, S 399, and to view a list of organizations supporting repeal of this mandate.
USDA proposal for implementation of Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in schools
On Feb. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued proposed rules that would enact nutrition standards for "competitive" foods not included in the official school meal. The rules are a result of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The rules would apply to any school, public or private, that participates in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. The proposed changes are intended to improve the health and well-being of the nation's children, increase consumption of healthful foods during the school day and create an environment that reinforces the development of healthy eating habits. Click here to read more on these proposed rules.
Update on FDA calorie disclosure rules and USDA rules covering vending in schools
Emily Refermat, editor of Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch presents an update on calorie disclosure required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules covering vending in schools with the help of Eric Dell, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMA.
Comments due on USDA proposed regulations for competitive foods in schools
USDA recently announced it will seek public comment on proposed new standards to ensure that children have access to healthy food options in school.
Iowa: Bill introduced to raise bottle fees
The Senate has introduced SB 1247 which will force bottlers to reimburse redemption centers two cents per unit on PET containers rather than the one cents they currently pay.
Iowa: Administration of tax
Proposed SSB 1243 relates to the administration of the tax and related laws by the department of revenue and to the individual and corporate income tax; provides that the language to eliminate the requirement that notices of assessment issued after the twentieth day of a month include an interest calculation for the next month applies to the real estate transfer tax relates to sales and use taxes and, by reference, the monitor vending machine excise tax.
North Carolina: Proposal to allow vending services at museums and historic sites
HB 438 has been introduced, which would allow the Department of Cultural Resources to generate revenue by providing food and vending services at museums and historical sites.
South Carolina bill would limit food in school vending machines
Snack food would be eliminated from all South Carolina school vending machines and lunch rooms under a bill now in the state House of Representatives.
Texas: Senator files bill to impose fee on soda manufacturers
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. announced the filing of a bill imposing a fee on soda manufacturers. Senate Bill 493 would impose a one penny per ounce fee on soda. Senator Lucio filed a similar bill in 2011. This Session, the bill would place the tax on the manufacturer, rather than directly on consumers, thus making revenue collection easier. The fee could generate as much as $1.1 billion in 2014. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Vermont: House bill would tax all vending machine sales
HB 528 would apply the meals and rooms tax to food or beverage sold through a vending machine.
Wisconsin: Madison Food Policy Council sets healthy vending goals
The Madison Food Policy Council recently met to set goals for 2013. Among the 10 goals identified by the Council was the initiative to remove unhealthy vending from public buildings. Recommended next steps include assessing vending contracts in city facilities; developing nutrition standards; product labeling; writing a city-wide vending policy; identifying opportunities for mobile vending at city facilities and evaluating the program.
NAMA Government Affairs urges members to comment on proposed small business tax reform
As part of NAMA's fight for small business on Capitol Hill, the association is leading a communications effort, urging members to submit comments to elected officials in support of a new proposal to reduce the burden the federal tax code imposes on small business.
Mississippi governor signs law protecting freedom of choice for consumers
One week after a judge blocked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on sodas larger than 16 oz., Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill preventing local governments and municipalities from enacting their own rules designating food and beverages as "healthy" or "unhealthy." This could signify a broad shift in state laws throughout the country in determining the role of government in regulating citizens' dietary decisions.