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HAPPENINGS AFFECTING OUR INDUSTRY
California Automatic Vending Council Lobbies for Tax Equity During Legislative Day in Sacramento
The California Automatic Vending Council (CAVC) hosted a two-day legislative event at the California State Capitol in Sacramento May 5-6. The CAVC members requested support from legislators for AB 155 (Dababneh), a bill supported by CAVC that would remove the partial tax on food products sold through vending machines in the state of California.
CAVC members met with Assembly Member William Brough, Vice Chair of the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee, along with Assembly Member Matthew Dababneh, Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee and author of CAVC's tax bill AB 155, on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday the group met with over 22 legislators and legislative assistants at the state Capitol.
The CAVC attendees focused discussions with legislators on the industry impacts of AB 155, which would remedy an inequity in California's tax law regarding the taxation of items sold through vending machines. "The legislation would ensure that the existing tax exemption on food products would apply to all retail locations, creating tax parity," said Sandy Larson, NAMA Senior Director Government Affairs. "Food products that are exempt from taxation when sold in grocery stores, convenience stores and catering trucks should also be exempt when sold through vending machines. Passage of this legislation will resolve that inequity." she concluded.
Minnesota Automatic Merchandising Council Hosts Inaugural Legislative Day
The Minnesota Automatic Merchandising Council (MAMC) recently hosted its first legislative day at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. The event was held in conjunction with the MAMC annual board meeting.
The legislative event focused on building relationships with state legislators, and 15 MAMC members met with more than 22 lawmakers during their time at the Capitol. NAMA's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Eric Dell was also in attendance.
"This inaugural legislative day was a big success for MAMC," Dell said. "It was an excellent opportunity for the members to introduce themselves and the industry to their legislators, and establish relationships that they can build on in the future. The attendees focused on updating their elected officials on their impact on their districts as it relates to jobs, taxes and opportunities created by their individual businesses."
California Automatic Vending Council Testifies in Sacramento on Sales Tax Equity Bill
Members of the California Automatic Vending Council (CAVC) were in Sacramento May 18 to testify before the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee on AB 155 (Dababneh), a bill supported by CAVC that would remove the partial tax on food products sold through vending machines in the state of California.
Assemblymember Matt Dababneh introduced the bill and stressed that the bill was about remedying an inequity in California's tax law regarding the taxation of items sold through vending machines. Pete Tullio, NAMA Board Chair and President and CEO of Gourmet Coffee Service and World Wide Vending in Van Nuys, California, testified on behalf of CAVC. Barbara Moore, Chair of the Rules Committee for the California Vendors Policy Committee (CVPC), testified on behalf of blind vendors in California. Sandra Larson, NAMA Senior Director of Government Affairs, Kate Bell, Capitol Advocacy (CAVC lobbyists) and approximately 15 other CAVC members and blind vending operators were also present to voice their support of the bill.
NAMA DC Fly-In Illustrates Strong Industry Support through Engaged Sponsor Partners
As NAMA's first annual industry-wide Washington, DC advocacy event, NAMA Takes the Hill 2015, approaches, the association's Government Affairs Division announced that the event has received the support of 26 sponsors so far, helping to underscore the industry's response to the importance of this inaugural event, according to Eric Dell, NAMA SVP of Government Affairs.
"The excitement surrounding our sponsorship program just keeps building," said Dell. "Our government affairs team is gratified to see the 'buy-in' of our grassroots advocacy program across all membership categories. We now have 160 registered attendees, a balanced mix of operators, suppliers, machine manufacturers, distributors and brokers. These sponsorships are providing us with the opportunity to make enhancements in technology and professionalism to the Fly-In's agenda, taking it from a 'top-level' to 'a must attend' event."
GOVERNMENT AFFAIR NEWS — FEDERAL & STATE
Education Shows Little Effect on Students' Vending Machine Choices
Educating secondary school students about low-calorie foods and drinks may have little effect on their vending machine purchases, according to a study from The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
Food Industry Braces for Obama Trans Fat Ban
The Obama administration is expected to all but ban trans fat in a final ruling, killing most uses of an ingredient that has been put in everything from frozen pizza to Reese's Pieces but since deemed harmful to human health. The agency may create some very limited exemptions, but the ruling could force food companies to cut trans fat use beyond the 85 percent reduction already achieved over the past decade — a key piece of the Obama administration's broader agenda to nudge Americans toward a healthier diet.
Senate Passes Minimum Wage Boost for California
As labor unions lead a nationwide push for a higher minimum wage, the California Senate recently approved raising the state's required hourly rate to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017.
Under Senate Bill 3, which passed by a vote of 23-15, California's minimum wage would also begin increasing annually in 2019 based on inflation. The measure heads next to the Assembly.
"The president of the United States has defined income inequality as the defining challenge of our time," said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored the measure. "Wages are growing at the slowest rate relative to corporate profits in the history of the United States of America.
"We must do more to address this, and we can."
Leno pursued a similar minimum wage increase last year that passed the Senate but failed in an Assembly committee.
California: Berkeley Soda Tax — First Month's Take, $116,000
Several City Council members and other boosters of Berkeley's first-in-the-nation soda tax giddily reported the first month's haul — $116,000 — on the steps of the municipal office building on Milvia Street on Monday.
Councilman Laurie Capitelli, a prominent booster of the freshly enacted tax, projected the first year's proceeds at about $1.2 million.
On Nov. 4, voters approved Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of most sugar-sweetened beverages, by a better than 3-1 margin, even though, as a general tax with proceeds to go into the general fund, it needed only a simple majority.
The city did not estimate what the tax might bring in, but unofficial estimates from proponents had pegged the annual take at anywhere from $1 million to $2 million.
California: San Francisco Panel Approves Soft Drink Warning Label
Country's first warning label on sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages is part of proposed laws.
Seven months after local voters rejected San Francisco's proposed tax on sugary drinks, city lawmakers changed tactics this week in hopes of curbing soft drink consumption.
Reuters reports that a three-person panel of San Francisco supervisors voted on Monday to advance a package of laws that zeros in on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, including what would be the first "warning label" on these products in the United States.
"Drinking beverages with added sugar leads to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco," the proposed warning label on the beverages would read.
Illinois Soda Tax Bubbles Up Again
If every man, woman and child in Illinois were to drink 18 ounces of sugary beverages each day, state coffers could get an additional $1.4 billion.
A new study by the Cook County Department of Public Health said Illinoisans are set to drink 6.6 billion, 12-ounce cans of soda, sports drinks and other sugary beverages in 2011.
That could mean big bucks for the state if lawmakers were to enact a 2-cents per ounce tax. The tax would be levied on regular soda, diet soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks. A standard 12-ounce can of soda would cost 24 cents more under the proposed tax.
The study also suggested that the state and private employers would save at least $200 million in health-care costs by imposing the tax.
Elissa Bassler, director of the Illinois Public Health Association, or IPHA, said any revenue generated by the tax should be put into obesity prevention and reduction programs, instead of being absorbed in the state's "budgetary black hole."
The IPHA, which explores health issues in Illinois, worked closely with the Cook County Health Department in developing the report, Bassler said.
"I think that it helps to demonstrate what the possibilities are for what a sugary beverage tax might accomplish," she said.
Maryland: Howard Nutrition Bill Debate Weighs Values of Free Market, Government Responsibility
Last month, shortly before county residents, business owners and health experts arrived to testify on a bill that would create nutritional guidelines for Howard County food and drink sales, a new vending machine made its quiet debut at the George Howard government headquarters in Ellicott City.
Squeezed into a small nook by the stairs at the back of the building, the machine stands taller and stretches wider than its neighbors. On top, chalk-white capital letters against a black background announce: "Goodness Inside."
The Howard building's newest addition is stocked with items seldom seen in conventional vending machines. There's a mixture of food and drink offerings: Quaker Oats breakfast bars next to whey-packed protein snacks; Naked smoothies; Sabra hummus dips with pretzels; Izze fruit sodas; and Stacy's pita chips.
The machine is one out of just 50 of its kind, according to the company that installed it, but hints at a future of healthier snack options. And it's appeared right as discussion is once again turning to whether Howard County should create a set of nutritional guidelines for the food and drinks sold on its property.
Michigan: Bill Allowing Sugary School Bake Sales Sent To Snyder
Brownies, candy and other unhealthy snacks could again be sold at in-school fundraisers under legislation finalized Tuesday in a bipartisan rebuke of a Michigan agency's decision to allow no exemptions to federal nutrition standards.
The Senate voted 33-3 to send the bake sale bill to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature.
It would require the state Education Department to allow at least two fundraisers a week that do not meet the nutritional guidelines. Michigan and 28 other states have a "no exemption" policy to the "Smart Snack" standards that took effect last July, according to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.
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