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Home   Membership   Expos   Publications   Knowledge Center   Education   Coffee Service   Gov. Affairs Dec. 16, 2011
 
 
 


US Mint halts production of $1 coins
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The U.S. government has announced that they are going to curtail production of the $1 coin. The Mint says there are enough $1 coins sitting in Federal Reserve vaults to meet demand for a decade, and the inventory was on track to hit two billion by 2016. More than 40 percent of the coins that are minted are returned to the government unwanted, the Treasury said. The rest apparently sit in vending machines — one of the few places they are widely used — or in the drawers of coin collectors. The Mint has never had much luck with dollar coins. The Susan B. Anthony dollar never caught on; some people said it was too close in size to the quarter. Neither did the Sacagawea Golden Dollars or its successor, the Native American $1 Coin, which has the same front but a different back. The Mint will keep producing the presidential $1 coins on schedule, but will only make enough to meet collector demand and no longer attempt to circulate them. By law, 20 percent of all dollar coins produced have to be Native American coins, so production of them will be reduced too. The move, the Treasury said, will save taxpayers $50 million a year. The decision is a milestone of sorts in a long-running battle between those who think it is wasteful to keep printing dollar bills that wear out and have to be replaced frequently, and those who hate the $1 coin and see it as the real waste of money because Americans don't like them.


No confirmed publication date for calorie disclosure rules
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The FDA cannot confirm a publication date for the Final Rule for Vending Machine Calorie Labeling. They are currently working on the final rule but it is unlikely it will be published by the end of this year (2011). When the final rule does publish, the FDA will advise in the preamble when the rule will become effective. In establishing an effective date for the final rule, the FDA is considering all of the relevant comments that were received in a timely manner. For more information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.



Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Vermont: HHS grants for health care insurance exchanges
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced grants totaling $220 million to 13 states to begin or continue work on creating health care insurance exchanges required under the Affordable Care Act. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Indiana and Louisiana: Affordable Care Act waivers rejected
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rejected requests from Indiana and Louisiana for waivers from the Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio, which requires health insurers to spend at least 80 percent of health premiums on medical care or rebate the difference to consumers. HHS said the states had no grounds for the waiver. For more information, contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Michigan: MDVA news
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Michigan has a two year legislative session and all bills will carry over to next year. Both the House and the Senate have been working to finish up a number of items on their agendas but the reform efforts to unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and personal property tax will continue into 2012. The tobacco tax enforcement effort discussions have continued in earnest. Senator Roger Kahn, sponsor of the enforcement appropriations, has included the Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association in the meetings and discussions, and is supportive of MDVA wholesalers. A memo of understanding between the Department of Treasury, State Police and Attorney General is currently being drafted which will commit the three departments to work together on this effort. Treasury will be issuing an RFP for cigarette tax stamps next year.

MDVA delivered chocolate to every member of the Michigan Legislature and the Governor's office and state departments. This has been a tradition for many years and the legislators look forward to this annual treat. For more information contact, Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.



New York: Income tax refunds on debit cards
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The N.Y. Department of Taxation and Finance announced that taxpayers will have the option to receive their income tax refunds next year through a prepaid debit card instead of a paper check or a direct bank deposit. The cards will be available at no cost to taxpayers, and may be used to pay bills or make purchases, similar to a bank debit card. Recipients do not need bank accounts, and should be able to make in-person cash withdrawals at most banks or through ATMs. The first cash withdrawal at a bank would be free. Choosing a prepaid card will be among options that tax filers can select when they choose how to receive their refunds — along with a check in the mail or direct deposit, tax officials said. The cards would be mailed and then activated by the user. For more information, contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Washington: Seattle School board may ease restrictions on food sold in vending machines
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The Seattle School Board is considering relaxing its ban on the sale of certain food and beverage items in high schools amid complaints from student governments that the policy has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in vending-machine profits over the past seven years. The policy, approved in 2004, before any state or federal regulations on school nutrition had been established, put Seattle on the cutting edge of the fight against childhood obesity. But board members now acknowledge they probably went too far. The restrictions, which are stricter than the current state and federal nutrition guidelines, allow only products such as milk, natural fruit juice, baked chips and oat-based granola bars. In 2001, before the junk-food ban was passed, high-school associated student body governments across the city made $214,000 in profits from vending machines, according to district data. This year, they've made $17,000. Moreover, opponents of the ban on junk food say it's not even accomplishing its mission of preventing kids from eating unhealthful food. That's because students at some open-campus schools have made it a practice to walk to nearby minimarts and gas stations to buy the same products they used to purchase in the vending machines. The board is now considering revising the policy which is likely to match the state and federal guidelines. For more information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association www.vending.org

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