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NAMA GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS — BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

HAPPENINGS AFFECTING OUR INDUSTRY

FDA Announces Calorie Disclosure Rules for the Vending and Refreshment Services Industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the long-awaited Calorie Disclosure rules for food and beverage sold through vending machines.

"On behalf of our 1500 member companies, we're glad to have final guidance on this issue. We are encouraged to see that the FDA regulations impacting our industry reflect the common sense, flexible approach we advocated regarding calorie labeling overall," said Carla Balakgie, NAMA's President and CEO. "The fact that "front of pack" language — similar to what we proposed and what was adopted by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee — was included in the final rules is a solid indication that our industry's voice was heard. This is a victory for our vending operator companies."
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NAMA Attends Blast Conference In Austin, Texas
NAMA SVP of Government Affairs, Eric Dell, and Government Affairs Committee member and National Association of Blind Merchants President, Nicholas Gacos, attended the recent Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST) Conference in Austin, Texas in November.

"I was impressed by the more than 500 attendees at BLAST and their strong entrepreneurial spirit," Dell said. "It was wonderful to see so many friends who have participated in our advocacy efforts at every level of government and I look forward to our continued work together."

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIR NEWS — FEDERAL & STATE

FEDERAL ISSUES


House Approves Slate of Tax Breaks
The House recently passed a one-year renewal of more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013, putting the measure on a path toward President Barack Obama's desk. Passed 378-46, the measure would extend nearly all of the tax breaks until just the end of this year, at a cost of almost $42 billion. The dissenting votes were close to evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. In advance of the vote, Democratic tax writers in the Senate had been pushing for their preferred two-year extensions of the tax breaks. But a spokeswoman for Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) all but declared that the Senate would have to take the House bill, after House Republicans rejected what she called a "reasonable, balanced deal" over the weekend.
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Have a Coke and a Frown
While municipalities nationwide may grapple with the idea of implementing soda taxes on their citizens, a recent story from U.S. News & World Report exposes the flaws associated with the City of Berkeley's recently-passed soda tax and warns of the implausibility of implementing such a policy.
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NAMA Attends California BEP Vendors Training Meeting
Sandra Larson, NAMA Senior Director of Government Affairs, presented at the recent annual vendor training meeting hosted by the California Dept. of Rehabilitation's Business Enterprise Program (BEP) in November in Los Angeles. Larson's presentation centered on providing insight to the group on NAMA and California Automatic Vendors Council's (CAVC) advocacy efforts and to encourage the participation of BEP members on advocacy efforts at both the state and federal level.
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Reflecting On Our Steps to Give Americans More Informed Food Choices
Yesterday we released final rules to make it easier for Americans to make informed choices about the foods they buy at major chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments and from vending machines. Every day, for years to come, millions of consumers will see and benefit from ready access to calorie information they would otherwise lack.
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STATE ISSUES


Arizona: Navajo Nation President Approves Tax
The sales tax on cookies, chips, sodas and other junk food sold on the country's largest American Indian reservation is going up. Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly signed legislation Friday to increase by 2 percent the sales tax on food with little to no nutritional value, starting next year. No other sales tax on the Navajo Nation specifically targets the spending habits of consumers. It will remain in effect until 2020, but it can be extended by the Navajo Nation Council.
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Mark Leno Will Try Again to Hike California's Minimum Wage
After announcing over the weekend that he will not run for mayor of San Francisco next year, Sen. Mark Leno began the new legislative session with a proposal to increase California's minimum wage to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017. The bill by Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, also calls for increasing the minimum wage annually, indexed to inflation, beginning in 2019. It's similar to a bill Leno carried last year that died in an Assembly committee. In re-introducing the concept, Leno is touting recent votes to increase the minimum wage in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — politically conservative states — as well as the liberal California cities of Oakland and San Francisco. Voters approved a $15 minimum wage in San Francisco and a $12.25 minimum wage in Oakland. Sacramento is convening a task force next year to examine whether wages should go up here.
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Fast-Food Workers' Strike Adds Momentum to Movement
For the second year in a row, hundreds of fast-food workers walked off their jobs and took to East Bay streets Thursday to demand higher wages, but this time something else was with them — momentum.

Labor and political experts say more workers in more cities nationwide took part in the one-day strike this year than last, and that with a string of wage-hike victories in the past year, low-paid burger flippers and french fry servers are becoming a political force.

The activists have gained attention not by focusing purely on rich-versus-poor arguments, experts say, but by zeroing in on the singular demand of a $15 minimum hourly wage. With the average wage in the $200 billion fast-food industry $8.94 an hour — which translates to just below poverty level for a full-time worker supporting a family of three — the message resonates.

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Bocanegra, Muratsuchi Lose California Assembly Races
Los Angeles County voters have unseated two Democrats seeking re-election to the state Assembly, according to final results from the county registrar's office. The final tally has the two incumbents losing by fewer than 1,000 votes apiece. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, lost by 706 votes to Republican challenger David Hadley. And in a widely dissected upset, newcomer Patty Lopez held on to defeat Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles. A Democrat, Lopez edged out Bocanegra by 467 votes. Bocanegra conceded shortly after Los Angeles County released the finalized results, saying he would not seek a vote recount.
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California: How Business Funded the Anti-Soda Tax Coalition
Elections help Americans to focus on their political priorities. One of those priorities has to do with the appropriate role of business in politics and society. The 2014 midterms again called our attention to the dark money "social welfare" organizations that attempt to sway the outcomes of races through independent expenditures, heavily funded by corporations and wealthy individuals. And yet, business influence doesn't just involve election-related expenditures and conventional lobbying. As my academic research shows, business also has real consequences for civic engagement and political participation, both during elections and in the arguably more important moments between them.
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Delaware Officials Tout Recycling; Bottle Tax Ends
Just in time for the holidays, plastic and glass drink bottles in Delaware are about to get a little bit cheaper. A temporary four-cent tax on many bottles expired as scheduled. The tax was part of a universal recycling law passed by lawmakers in 2010 and funded programs meant to get more people to recycle. Gov. Jack Markell joined lawmakers and environmental officials to tout the success of the recycling law. Under the "single-stream" law, various recyclables are placed in a single container and taken to recycling centers.
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Illinois House Adjourns Without Lame Duck Session
The Illinois House will not go into a lame duck session. House Speaker Michael Madigan ended the session "sine die," a Latin term meaning "without a fixed day to meet again."
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Comprehensive Study of Missouri Tax Code Proposed
It's been 46 years since the state convened a special commission to overhaul the tax code. A state senator who thinks it's time for another one is filing a bill to create a new commission. Senator Bob Dixon's tax-break bill this year failed to survive a governor's veto when Dixon, from Springfield, decided not to try for an override. Instead, he is introducing a bill convening the first state tax study commission since 1968. The commission would go beyond legislators talking about changes. "I'd like to see tax attorneys, CPAs, business people, folks from the municipalities, folks from the counties and, of course, the director of the Department (of Revenue)."
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Measure 92 Recount: 4 More Counties Post Results on GMO Labeling
Measure 92, which drew more money than any measure in Oregon history, would require labels on genetically altered foods. The original statewide count of more than 1.5 million votes showed it losing by just 812 votes. The tiny margin triggered an automatic recount. The 26 remaining counties have until Dec. 12 to report results, but they're expected to finish before that. The first wave of results was posted Wednesday.
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Keeping In Touch With NAMA Government Affairs
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