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Home   Membership   Expos   Publications   Knowledge Center   Education   Coffee Service   Gov. Affairs Jun. 1, 2012
 
 
 


EPA expected to release final version of the new Energy Star Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machine Specifications on June 1
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the final version the Energy Star specification for refrigerated beverage vending machines, entitled Version 3.0, on June 1. On April 6, NAMA submitted comments to the EPA that described the industry impact of the more stringent standards, manufacturing trends, and suggestions to include CO2 technology in the Energy Star program. Depending on the machine type, these standard levels are equal to or more stringent than current Energy Star Version 2.1 requirements, which have been effective since July 2007. While the EPA's revised specification does present an opportunity for the Energy Star program to deliver additional energy savings (especially for vending machines that utilize HFC-based refrigerant), it may have the effect of excluding vending machines that utilize the more environment-friendly CO2-based refrigerant. Many vending machines with CO2 refrigerant are in the early stages of development, and the necessary components to optimize those refrigeration systems are not yet commercially available. Thus manufacturers could be prevented from receiving the Energy Star designation for their machines that are more environment-friendly.

In its first two Draft Specification Proposals, the EPA initially recommended a final effective date of Aug. 31, 2012. However, given the delay in finalizing this specification, the EPA has extended the effective date from the originally proposed Aug. 31, 2012 to Feb. 1, 2013. The EPA will cease accepting machine qualification to the existing Version 2.1 specification as of Aug. 31, 2012, when the DOE standard for Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines takes effect. Additionally, as proposed in Draft 2, Machine Class A and B Maximum Daily Energy Consumption levels continue to be 5 percent and 10 percent more stringent than the U.S. Department of Energy standard, respectively. For more information, please contact Sheree Edwards at sedwards@vending.org.



Federal judge invalidates new NLRB union election rule
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On May 15, a federal judge invalidated the NLRB new union election rule, with a finding that the board lacked a quorum when it approved the rule. The NLRB is a five-member board and requires a quorum of three in order to act. There were only 2 members present at the time of the Nov. 30, 2011 vote. The ruling did not address the merits of the rule, which allows for faster votes on union presentation for workers. The rule took effect April 30. The suit was brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, who challenged the rule on substantive grounds as well as the quorum issue.


Senator expresses support of convenience stores lawsuit against Federal Reserve Board
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Sen. Richard Durbin has expressed his support of the National Association of Convenience Stores and other merchant groups' lawsuit against the Federal Reserve Board, filed in November 2011. In a friend-of-the-court brief, Durbin agrees that the Federal Reserve regulation doesn't coincide with part of the Durbin Amendment. His brief goes over how the rule should be changed to comply with the law. Durbin also explains how the Fed has misstated his own statements and intent. The suit alleges that the Federal Reserve ignored the intent of Congress when they provided regulations to limit debit-card swipe fees. The Federal Reserve rules took effect October 2011. Durbin's amendment was to limit the rising debit card fees for retailers by promoting more competition between banks and payment networks. Durbin's comments focus on how the regulations have negatively influenced low debit-card transactions, especially merchants with low average transactions, that have had rates rise because rates were raised to the new cap of 21 cents per transaction. Durbin wants the Federal Reserve Board to adjust its regulations to better fit the intent of the amendment.



California: NAMA/CAVC victory, bill restricting electrolyte replacement beverage sales in schools held in committee
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AB 1746, which NAMA and CAVC opposed, was held on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense file and is, therefore, dead for the year. AB 1746, would have restricted the sale of electrolyte replacement beverages in middle schools and high schools to specified times before and after school. If this bill had passed, it would have changed existing law which permits the sale of only certain beverages to pupils at schools in California. The beverages that may be sold include fruit-based and vegetable-based drinks, drinking water, milk, and, in middle and junior high schools, an electrolyte replacement beverage if those beverages meet certain nutritional requirements. CAVC actively opposed this bill and lobbied against the bill during their legislative day on May 9th. For additional information contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.


California: Richmond soda tax to fight obesity makes ballot
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Richmond, Calif., voters will decide this fall whether to impose a municipal tax on soda and other sugary beverages — a penny-per-ounce surcharge intended to fight childhood obesity. The City Council voted 5-2 to place the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, despite impassioned protests from grocers and soda drinkers. The tax would go into the city's general fund, raising between $2 million and $8 million annually for soccer fields, school gardens, diabetes treatment and other antiobesity projects. The tax would apply to soft drinks as well as other beverages with added sugar. Most juice would be exempt, as would diet sodas. One member of the city council argued that the tax is unfair because it falls disproportionately on Richmond merchants and soda drinkers who have no means of shopping in neighboring cities. A Richmond resident said an economic downturn is not the time to introduce new taxes, particularly in a city with a high poverty rate. Nearly 20 percent of Richmond residents live below the poverty line, according to federal data. Cities throughout the country, including San Francisco and San Pablo, Calif., have considered soda taxes as a way to reduce obesity and its related health effects, but no city has gotten as far as Richmond. For additional information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.


California: Senate passes compromise on disabled access suits
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A measure to discourage "drive-by" lawsuits over disabled access at California building and businesses is halfway home. The state Senate voted 36-0 on SB 1186, which now goes to the Assembly. The bill, the latest to deal with compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, would ban "demand" letters that some lawyers send to extract quick cash settlements from business owners. It would also require notice letters for any alleged construction-related violations, giving business owners 30 days to fix the problem. It is sponsored by top Senate Democrat Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and former Republican leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga. For additional information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.


Florida: Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida's Educational Session — June 15
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The Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida's Educational Session is June 15 from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. Join us to learn more about complying with the new ADA requirements, whether your drivers are compliant with the new DOT laws, NAMA's Fit Pick program and "How to Create a Company With Value" from featured speaker Brad Bachtelle.


Illinois: Minimum wage proposal moves to Senate
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A proposal by Sen. Kimberly Lightford to increase the minimum wage has passed out of committee and is now on the Senate Floor. SB 1565 returns the minimum wage back to the spending power it had in 1968 by raising the minimum wage by $0.50 per year plus inflation adjustments and will ultimately increase the minimum wage just over $10 per hour. The bill would eliminate distinctions between tipped and untipped employees, eliminate age distinctions and ensure that all non-family member employees are paid at least the minimum wage. This measure will have a severe impact on small businesses and members are encouraged to contact their state Senator to ask them to vote "no" on this proposal. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Kansas: Governor signs controversial tax cut bill
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Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a massive Senate-passed tax cut bill into law, which will cost the state billions of dollars in lost revenue. The bill will cut individual income tax rates for joint filers and for those with incomes over $30,000, and will also increase the standard deduction for heads of household and for married, joint filers. Key for the business community, the bill also eliminates income taxes on virtually all non-wage income of the state's 190,000 limited liability companies, Subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Kentucky: Health Department gets healthier vending machine
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The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has upgraded its vending machines with healthy options in an effort to provide better choices for employees, patients and visitors in need of a snack or beverage. "We have several community classes that deal with better food choices, so we thought there's no better way to send a message about healthy eating than to provide smarter options in our buildings," said Kevin Hall LFCHD communications officer.


Louisiana: Senate passes LA SR 146
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A resolution requesting the state Department of Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to conduct a survey or study to determine the school compliance with state law regarding vending machines and requirements for physical activity was passed by the Senate on May 30.


Massachusetts: Vending machine licensing fee issue continues
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The Massachusetts House passed a state budget amendment that set a $6 limit to increases in the annual license fee for vending machines this year. The state Department of Public Health had proposed a 567 percent fee hike from $3 per machine to $20. The House amendment would prevent DPH from raising the fee more than 100 percent in a calendar year. The Massachusetts Vending Association has worked to submit a more restrictive version of the bill in the Senate's budget, believing that an increase of 100 percent each year is unacceptable. MVA is waiting to learn if DPH plans to continue its pursuit or pull back in light of these legislative initiatives.

Health officials have said the proposed $20 fee would fund inspections to ensure the vending industry's compliance with the federal calorie-disclosure requirements and new state rules banning snacks high in sugar and fats in schools. The state last raised its vending machine license fee in 2003, when the fee was raised from $1 to $3.The Massachusetts Vending Association was instrumental in reducing the increase from $20 to $6. MVA president Bob Frotten testified on the industry's behalf at a public hearing in March on the proposed fee hike. MVA posted an online petition and issued stickers to operators to put on their machines in opposition to the fee increase. The decals informed customers about the proposed fee hike, stressed that it would necessitate higher prices and encouraged them to sign the online petition. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert pgilbert@vending.org.



Michigan: Michigan vendors and distributors meet with Governor and legislators at the Capitol
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Gov. Rick Snyder, in his address to Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association members at their Annual Day at the Capitol on May 16, proclaimed Michigan the nation's come-back state. Economic indicators, such as falling unemployment rates and increased manufacturing jobs, have returned a sense of optimism to state government. Snyder asked MDVA members to carry that optimism back to their communities. More than 70 MDVA members came to Lansing to meet with their legislators. As the governor entered the room to give his keynote address, he gave a "thumbs up" to the Association's "Healthy Vending Solutions" display. Healthy choices are part of Mr. Snyder's state-wide health initiatives. Also on hand to address the group were Representatives Frank Foster, R–Pellston, Andrew Kandrevas, D–Southgate and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger. Kandrevas urged members to be more involved politically; "attend the 'coffee hours' held by your Representative in your District." Speaker Bolger spoke about the willingness to work together to support MDVA's legislative agenda, with an emphasis on SB 930. The Senate bill tackles a number of tobacco tax enforcement matters, including the "Roll Your Own" issue. After the presentations by the governor and legislative leaders, MDVA members walked up to the Capitol to deliver the MDVA Candy Boxes to members of the House and Senate. At noon MDVA hosted their annual Legislative Luncheon — more than 60 members of the House and Senate joined MDVA wholesalers and vendors at an informal buffet lunch. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Senate passes sales tax law to exempt vending sales up to $1.50
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SB 3445B, an act to amend the tax law in relation to the sale of food and beverages through vending machines, was amended on the third reading on May 23. The purpose of the legislation is to amend the tax law to exempt food and beverages sold through vending machines from New York State sales tax up to $1.50. On May 30, the Senate passed the legislation and it will now move on to the Assembly. The New York State Automatic Vending Association has worked for several years to pass this legislation, and has urged the Assembly to address the issue this session. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Mayor Bloomberg proposes ban on the sale of large sugary beverages
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New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity. The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March. The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

Bloomberg's proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him, and the board's chairman is the city's health commissioner, who joined the mayor in supporting the measure. Bloomberg has made public health one of the top priorities of his lengthy tenure, and has championed a series of aggressive regulations, including bans on smoking in restaurants and parks, a prohibition against artificial trans fat in restaurant food and a requirement for health inspection grades to be posted in restaurant windows. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


The National Automatic Merchandising Association www.vending.org

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WESTERN OFFICE: 80 South Lake Avenue, Suite 538, Pasadena, CA 91101, Voice: 626-229-0900, Fax: 626-229-0777



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