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NAMA's 2012 PUBLIC POLICY CONFERENCE in WASHINGTON, DC:
Building relationships and increasing awareness of the industry's most significant issues

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NAMA's Board of Directors recently returned from the inaugural NAMA Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, taking place over a two-day period, included wide-ranging meetings with representatives from Congressional, Executive Branch and federal agency offices including the White House Office of Business Liaison, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Speaker of the House. Discussions focused on issues critical to the industry, including taxes, nutrition and calorie disclosure, health care reform, interchange fees and ADA compliance.

"This was an important step in furthering the industry's presence in Washington, D.C. Overall, the outcome for vending and refreshment services cannot be overstated. We are building the right relationships that will enhance our ability long term to ensure our industry's voice is heard. We will continue to weigh in strongly on issues that have measurable impact on our members, both now and in the future," said Carla Balakgie, president and CEO of NAMA. "The bottom line is that we consider advocacy "job No. 1" and the discussions our Board of Directors conducted signal a significant move forward as we continue to work on these issues, day-in and day-out."

The meetings were designed to provide a forum for discussion and exploration on the breadth and scope of industry issues, with the intent to deliver actionable results moving forward. For example, during the meeting with representatives from the White House Office of Business Liaison, NAMA showcased its Balance for Life/Fit Pick initiatives as a form of industry self-regulation and long-standing commitment to enabling informed and nutritious consumer choice in vending and refreshment services. This resulted in agreement by the WHOB to consider future collaborative efforts that build on this program's strong foundation.

Additionally, NAMA participated in strategic discussions on the topic of interchange fees. "Raising awareness among congressional and regulatory officials with the requisite jurisdictional oversight regarding the short and long term impacts of debit card interchange fees on micro-transaction sales helped to create an environment to affect future change," according to Balakgie.

NAMA members, furthermore, shared their concerns regarding the potential impact of regressive and punitive taxes on vending and refreshment services, such as those on sugar-sweetened beverages during a meeting with staffers from the House Committee on Ways and Means. For additional information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.




California: Proposition 37 mandates the labeling of genetically modified food
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Prop. 37, which will appear on the November ballot in California, would require the words "Genetically Engineered" or "Partially' or "May Be Produced with Genetic Engineering" to be printed on the front label and/or grocery display of any food products that contain even trace amounts of a genetically engineered ingredient. It is estimated that as much as 70 percent of the processed foods in a grocery store or retail store contains some GE ingredient. Retailers would be responsible for ensuring tens of thousands of products and displays in their stores are accurately labeled.

Violations of the measure could be prosecuted by state, local or private parties. It allows the court to award these parties all reasonable costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action. In addition, the measure specifies that consumers could sue for violations of the measure's requirements under the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which allows consumers to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.

Biotechnology, also called genetic engineering, has been used for nearly two decades to grow varieties of corn, soybeans and other crops that resist diseases and insects and require fewer pesticides. Thousands of common foods are made with ingredients from biotech crops. The overwhelming majority of scientists, medical experts, the American Medical Association, the FDA and USDA have all concluded that genetically engineered food products are safe and that requiring special labels for them is unnecessary and could be misleading to consumers. The California Automatic Vendors Council opposes this bill and has encouraged members to get more information on the campaign at www.NoProp37.com. For additional information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.



Illinois: Super PACs raise $1 million, could impact election
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Illinois super PACs have raised more than $1 million to utilize in this fall's election campaigns, yet to date the meaning and influence of the funds remains uncertain. This unexpected campaign phenomenon puts a wrinkle in the Nov. 6 election, although the sum is dwarfed by the $6.8 million held in political accounts of the two major state parties. Illinois has 10 super PACs that were formed as a means of allowing corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals to raise and spend unlimited money if they form without affiliation to a particular candidate. The money is just starting to be released now and it remains to be seen how this will affect the election, particularly in small legislative districts in swing parts of the state. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association www.vending.org

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



 
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