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BI-WEEKLY UPDATE




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HAPPENINGS AFFECTING OUR INDUSTRY


New Jersey Congressman Tom Macarthur Visits Midlantic Vending
New Jersey Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) visited Jack & Jill, D.S.D. and Midlantic Vending in Moorestown, New Jersey on May 6, according to Eric Dell, NAMA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "Congressman MacArthur's visit to Jack & Jill and Midlantic Vending was a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the power and scope of the refreshment services industry and more specifically the ice cream distribution and vending portion," said Dell. "The Congressman is a strong supporter of small business and reasonable government regulation. As a first-term Member of Congress, this visit allowed us to identify industry-specific issues and introduce him to industry leaders in his district."
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Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council Hosts Annual Legislative Day at Pennsylvania Capitol
Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council (Tri-State) hosted its annual legislative day Tuesday May 5, 2015 at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As an organization, Tri-State has garnered respect from some of the state's highest ranking officials, and its annual legislative day is one of the most highly anticipated events each year. Fifteen Tri-State members met at the Capitol Building, where they attended meetings with: Sen. Robert Tomlinson, Rep. Madeleine Dean, Rep. Tim Briggs, Rep. Barry Jozwiak, Rep. Martin Causer, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, Rep. Matt Gabler, Rep. Dan McNeill, Rep. Joe Petrarca and Rep. Stan Saylor. They also delivered sample bags to 253 legislative offices.
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Illinois Automatic Merchandising Council Participates In Legislative Day with Industry Partner Associations
The Illinois Automatic Merchandising Council (IAMC) participated in a legislative day with industry partner associations, the Illinois Beverage Association (IBA), the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) and the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), on May 6, 2015 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. IAMC members met with their state legislators to educate and inform them about the industry and the contributions of the member businesses to the state’s economy. The legislative event focused on relationship-building with elected officials and educating them on key industry issues –particularly a penny-per-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage tax bill that was re-introduced this legislative session. IAMC members delivered sample bags to more than 175 Illinois Senate and House legislative offices.
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GOVERNMENT AFFAIR NEWS — FEDERAL & STATE

FEDERAL ISSUES


USDA'S New GMO-Free Label Is a Gift to Big Food
The Department of Agriculture is developing its own GMO labeling program, according to a Thursday report from Associated Press. Considering that, for year, activists have been pushing for a federal standard for foods made with genetically modified ingredients, action from USDA would appear to be big news. But even with a USDA labeling program, which would be both voluntary and geared at products that are GMO-free, the battle over what kind of label — if any — will be required in the U.S. on food made from genetically modified ingredients is far from over. Unfortunately, the whole thing sounds a bit suspect, starting with the fact that the USDA apparently doesn't want you to know about the program — at least not yet.
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STATE ISSUES


California: Assembly Committee Rejects Another Soda Tax Bill
The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday rejected the latest effort by health groups to impose taxes on sugar-flavored soft drinks and other beverages to fight what was described as an epidemic of diabetes. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1357 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, would have imposed a two-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, making soda-drinking more expensive and raising at least $3.5 billion a year for health education and dental programs. It garnered only six votes in the 19-member committee, all from Democrats, while three Democrats joined seven Republicans in opposition and three Democrats didn’t vote, which had the same effect as voting no.
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Maryland: New Howard Bill Would Set Nutritional Standards, With More Exceptions
New healthy food and drink standards could be coming soon to Howard County's vending machines. Four months after County Executive Allan Kittleman repealed a policy that banned sugary drinks and limited high-calorie snacks for sale on government property, County Councilman Calvin Ball is introducing legislation that would adopt a similar set of nutritional guidelines aimed at "promoting health and choice." The move comes in response to growing concerns about obesity in Howard and across the nation. A 2012 health survey conducted in the county found that more than half of adult residents were overweight or obese. This March, an advisory report from Kittleman's transition team recommended "aggressively [addressing] the county's obesity issue."
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Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief Bill Passes House; Raises Sales, Income Taxes
Pennsylvanians would see billions in lower school property taxes under a proposal that made it out of the state House on Wednesday and into the hands of the Senate. The House voted 105-86 for what supporters called the most significant action in decades on relief from the state's widely reviled property taxes. "Today we begin a journey that has come 1,000 miles, and we hope to conclude that journey over the next six weeks," said Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana. He said the vote keeps the issue in the mix during the Legislature's most intense period of the year, ahead of the June 30 budget deadline.
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Vermont: Brent Farrell — Proving the Importance of Relationship Building in Advocacy
Let me introduce you to Brent Farrell, the owner of Vitality Vending in the State of Vermont and someone who understands the importance of relationships when it comes to advocating successfully on behalf of the industry. Brent and I have worked on making the industry's voice heard on legislation introduced in the Vermont legislature over the past few years and he has been a "go-to guy" for legislative testimony. Vermont is not a state with a large number of vending operators, so it is nice to have folks like Brent involved on a minute's notice.

This year, a situation arose that proves the value of the relationships Brent has built during his volunteer advocacy work on behalf of the industry. Brent was recently informed about Vermont's pending proposal to impose the rooms and meals tax on vending machines, and a sales tax on candy and soda from a relationship built over time through his advocacy efforts. Without this connection, Brent would most likely have never known about the State Senate Finance Committee hearing in time to testify on this important proposal.

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Keeping In Touch With NAMA Government Affairs
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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