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Home   Membership   Expos   Publications   Knowledge Center   Education   Coffee Service   Gov. Affairs Oct. 8, 2012

California: Bill targeting ADA lawsuit reform signed by governor
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Gov. Brown signed SB 1186, which bars so-called "demand letters" in which lawyers threaten to sue business owners over alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations unless the owners offer them a cash settlement first. The law also reduces potential damage awards from a minimum of $4,000 to as little as $1,000 if the defendant corrects violations quickly. For more information please contact Sandy Larson at

California: Employers prohibited from demanding social media passwords
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Gov. Brown signed AB 1844, which prohibits employers from demanding social media user names or passwords from employees and job applicants. For more information please contact Sandy Larson at

Georgia: Food inspections to focus on risk
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A new food inspection system for Georgia would prioritize food inspections based on the product's contamination risk. Consumer safety advocates praise the move, although it highlights a fundamental problem of food inspections: keeping pace with the previous goal of one routine inspection every six months. An audit released this summer found that as of May 2011, the Georgia Department of Agriculture had conducted one inspection every six months for only 51% of the state's 740 licensed food processing facilities, with the rest having been inspected within the past year or even longer. Georgia, like many states, faces a resource issue, despite increasing the number of its inspectors from three to seven since a 2009 salmonella outbreak traced to a Georgia peanut processing plant. For more information please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at

Massachusetts: Brookline considers banning plastic bags and styrofoam containers
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Brookline will hold two special town meetings to consider bans on the use of disposable polystyrene for take-out food packages and disposable plastic shopping bags. Businesses oppose the bans stating the alternatives for Styrofoam cups are unsuitable and banning plastic bags could cost both businesses and consumers more money. The Styrofoam proposal would affect the packaging for take-out meals at local restaurants as well as coffee cups. The ban would affect food and beverages from being packaged on the premises of any Brookline store but would not affect products packaged outside of town. It would take effect Dec. 1, 2013.

The plastic bag ban would require any store that provides check-out bags to customers to use compostable, marine-degradable bags as well as reusable check-out bags and recyclable bags. Violations would incur a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and a mandatory court appearance for a third offense.The Brookline Chamber of Commerce is studying the likely impact of the proposals. For more information please contact Pam Gilbert at

Michigan: Cigarette tax stamping
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In August, the state issued an RFP for state cigarette tax stamp "solutions" that was over 100 pages long and very broad, without defining any specifics. The state expected and received lists of questions from potential bidders which were answered and posted. The deadline for responses to the RFP was extended through the end of September. The state intends to work slowly and judiciously through the process of moving to a new pressure-sensitive tax stamp. Although the Department is prohibited from sharing any information regarding the RFP responses or the responders themselves, once that process is over, the Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association will be working closely with Treasury in the move to a new stamping operation. It is likely that wholesalers will not be converting to the new system until sometime next year. For more information please contact Pam Gilbert at

Michigan: Statewide tobacco tax enforcement
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The $4 million budgeted to State Police for tobacco tax enforcement went into effect with the state's new fiscal year on Oct. 1. MDVA will be meeting with State Police regarding enforcement plans. For more information please contact Pam Gilbert at

Nebraska: Bill would require public vote in order to raise cigarette tax
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State Sen. Bob Krist said this past week that he is planning to introduce legislation in January that would require a public vote on whether to raise the state's cigarette tax. He called the current approach a misuse of the city's authority to levy occupation taxes and reports that the city should be required to seek voter approval before imposing its proposed cigarette tax. State Sen. Abbie Cornett called on the Omaha City Council to make sure its projected revenues from the cigarette tax proposal is accurate. If the projections amount to $6 million a year or more, a new state law requires voter approval before the tax could be enacted. Sen. Cornett also noted that the city's occupation tax on restaurants and bars collected about $8 million more than initially projected. For more information please contact Kim Radulski at

New York: Health Department asks private NYC hospitals to follow nutritional standards
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The NYC Health Department has set nutritional standards for vending machines in city facilities, including public hospitals, and is now asking private health care facilities to follow suit. The voluntary Healthy Hospital Food Initiative calls for participants to adopt standards for vending machines, cafeterias and patient meals. For vending, that includes decreasing the number and portion size of high-calorie beverages while promoting "healthier" options and exclusively merchandising snacks that meet sodium, calorie and fat limits. Richard B. Becker, chief executive of Brooklyn Hospital Center, a private Brooklyn hospital, recently defended the conventional candy and chips in the hospital's emergency room vending machines at a community board meeting, saying people prefer them over healthy snacks when they're in the middle of a crisis. For more information please contact Pam Gilbert at

Tennessee: Memphis government buildings adopt NAMA's Fit Pick program
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Vending machines in government buildings in greater Memphis are being restocked with snacks that meet the National Automatic Merchandising Association's Fit Pick nutritional standards. The change impacts 172 vending machines located in 17 buildings held by the Shelby County government. Under the mayor's plan, 50 percent of the foods can have no more than 35 percent of calories from fat and 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. NAMA's Fit Pick program, developed in 2008, is based on the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association. It includes stickers that are placed in front of qualifying product and clings that explain the nutrition standard.

Fit Pick is part of NAMA's Balanced for Life, a program that educates consumers about the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of physical activity. NAMA's Fit Pick program has been widely adopted by businesses, municipal and state governments and school districts across the country. A bipartisan think-tank led by former Sens. Bob Dole and Tom Daschle recently issued a report citing the U.S. Army's pilot of NAMA's Fit Pick program and urging its wider implementation. For more information please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at

The National Automatic Merchandising Association

HEADQUARTERS: 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 3500, Chicago, IL 60606-3102, Voice: 312-346-0370, Fax: 312-704-4140

EASTERN OFFICE: 1600 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 650, Arlington, VA 22209, Voice: 571-346-1900, Fax: 703-836-8262

SOUTHERN OFFICE: 2300 Lakeview Parkway, Ste. 700, Alpharetta, GA, 30009, Voice: 678-916-3852. Fax: 678-916-3853

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

Keeping In Touch With NAMA - Legislative Edition
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