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SBA: Hurricane Sandy relief efforts announced
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The Small Business Administration recently announced that it is working closely with FEMA and other federal partners to provide relief and assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, with emergency programs that include:
  • Home Disaster Loans — Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate or personal property owned by the victim. Renters are eligible for their personal property losses, including automobiles.
  • Business Physical Disaster Loans — Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans — Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
For those looking to file an application for assistance, filing deadlines include:
  • Physical damage: Dec. 31, 2012
  • Economic injury: July 31, 2013
For more information, visit the SBA disaster relief webpage or call the SBA disaster assistance center at 800-659-2955.




California: Proposition 37 mandates the labeling of genetically modified food
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Prop. 37, which will appear on the Ballot in California next Tuesday, 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.



Minimum wage law changes
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Ten states have laws that require a mandatory increase in minimum wage rates, tied to inflation. Five of those states have announced their new wage rates that will begin Jan. 1, 2013.

Florida's minimum wage will jump 12 cents to $7.79, up from the current $7.67. In Montana, the minimum wage increases 15 cents to $7.80, up from $7.65. Ohio's minimum wage rises 15 cents to $7.85, up from $7.70, while Oregon's starting wage goes up 15 cents from $8.80 to $8.95. Washington State pushes up its minimum wage 15 cents, from $9.04 to $9.19. All new wages will start Jan. 1, 2013. Meanwhile, Rhode Island passed a law that will increase the state’s starting wage 35 cents from $7.40 to $7.75, set to begin Jan. 1. The other five states — Vermont, Nevada, Missouri, Colorado and Arizona — haven't announced any changes to the minimum wage. Nevada generally makes wage adjustments in July, and did not raise its minimum ages this year. Colorado will hold a hearing Nov. 1 on increasing the starting wage 14 cents, from $7.64 to $7.78. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.



District of Columbia: City Council members discuss size restrictions on sales of sodas
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Several members of the D.C. Council have come out in favor of restricting the size of sugary sodas sold in the District, similar to one in New York City. Three council members have come out in favor of a possible ban, but other council members are either opposed or hesitant to tell people what size drinks they can buy and sell. NAMA and the MD-DC Vending Association will closely monitor the issue. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Georgia: Vending is discounted for Georgia Tech BuzzCard users
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This year, Georgia Tech Campus Services instituted a 5 percent discount to all vending machines when a BuzzCard is used to purchase products. Not many students are aware of the new promotion because there is no indication of the discount during purchases on either the machines or BuzzCard readers. BuzzCard readers cannot be programmed to indicate the discount at the time of purchase, but a student may go online and check the BuzzCard account to see that the adjustment is correct. The discount was put in place at the beginning of the semester to offset the increase in the prices of snacks and drinks. All drink prices increased by a quarter while the vending snack item price increases vary from five to ten cents. Even with the increase, especially in the drink sales, the university says they're still less expensive than other venues on campus. Prices in vending machines on campus had not previously been increased for four years. For more information, please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Minnesota: Health Care Reform Task Force issues final recommendations but removes suggested vending sales tax increase
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A Health Care Reform Task Force was formed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011 to propose policies that would make the state healthier. The task force consisted of state lawmakers and state health agency commissioners, and in early September the group issued a set of draft recommendations. The recommendations included increasing the sales tax on vended food or adopting a new "excise tax on unhealthy food and beverages" sold in vending machines. The task force allowed for a public comment period, during which the Minnesota Automatic Merchandising Council submitted comments opposing both recommendations. The final draft recommendations were recently released and will be acted on in November. Fortunately, the final draft did not include the aforementioned item of increasing sales taxes on vended food products, and instead only recommended that the Minnesota legislature authorize a study of the impact of increased taxes of this type. For additional information, contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Oklahoma: First 'Shop 24/7' opens in Oklahoma City
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The first fully-automated robotic convenience store is opening in Oklahoma City. "Shop 24/7," is putting the machine inside the downtown Greyhound bus station. The machine bridges the gap between a traditional store and a vending machine. The machines have the capability of vending many more items than a typical vending machine. More locations are planned across the city. For more information, please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@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



 
Keeping In Touch With NAMA - Legislative Edition
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