Forbes Magazine predicts 'anti-obesity' movement to rank among top public issues in 2013
Recently, Forbes magazine published an article reporting that the "anti-obesity" movement will rank among the top public issues in the year ahead. The article identifies a number of trends suggesting that measures designed to impact obesity are on the agendas of both public interest groups and legislatures across the country. Such measures include restrictions in food advertising and/or marketing, as well as taxes and bans on processed foods, snacks and beverages if deemed to be "unhealthy." The article reports that food activists have framed obesity in America as an epidemic resulting from the penchant for processed foods with high caloric content and low nutritional value. Consistent messaging on the epidemic (through strategic PR campaigns and community based-action) has sparked proposals for regulatory and legislative action, particularly at the state and local levels. Conversely, the food industry has responded by promoting consumer education for balanced eating, diet and exercise, rather than legislating personal choice. The industry has also been proactive in the areas of self-regulation with such actions like: supplying nutritious food/snack alternatives, recommending calorie/content on sugary drinks (especially in schools) and reducing food marketing aimed at young children. The article recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that a collaborative effort by all will be needed to see a measureable decrease in obesity rates in America. To view the entire text of the Forbes article click here. For more information, please contact Sheree Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louisiana: Legislature amends alcohol vending law to prevent access to minors or intoxicated persons
The Louisiana Legislature recently amended its statute (LAC 55:VII.305) to require alcohol retailers to implement procedures to prevent minors and intoxicated persons from accessing any type of vending machine that dispenses alcoholic beverages on their premises. Specifically, alcohol retailers may not allow the sale or dispensation of alcoholic beverages via vending machine (activated by coin, token, etc.) except in class A establishments, and: 1) the establishment ensures its compliance at all times with state laws regarding service to intoxicated persons and minors, 2) alcohol vending machines are located in a facility where at least one employee is on duty during all operating hours, 3) alcohol vending machines are in an unobstructed line of sight and within 25 feet of an employee during operating hours, 4) all patrons must submit valid ID that certifies age of 21 years or older, and 5) all alcohol vending machines must be under functioning video surveillance during operating hours. Failure to comply could result in suspension or revocation of the retailer's permit and assessment of fines. For more information, please contact Sheree Edwards at email@example.com or Mary Lou Monaghan firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland: Howard County bans sweetened beverages on county property
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman signed an executive order on Dec. 11 to ban the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in parks, libraries and other county properties, and at county-sponsored events. Under the order, all beverages procured, served or sold by county departments must meet the new standards which require: sweetened beverages to have fewer than five calories per serving; fruit and vegetable beverages to contain 100 percent juice with fewer than 120 calories in 8-ounce servings or less; milk and soy options to be unflavored, low-fat or nonfat and contain less than 22 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving or be limited to eight ounces; and drinks with artificial sweeteners be limited to one-quarter of the total beverage offerings.
The order instructs county departments to begin the transition immediately, though only to "the extent possible under existing contracts." It also requires the county health department to review the beverage standards at least every three years. The ban does not apply to county schools, although the Board of Education is revising the school system's wellness policy to "reflect the commitment to wellness throughout the county." The ban drew criticism from and from some citizens and the beverage industry, which argues that public officials should allow consumers to make choices while emphasizing balanced diets and exercise. NAMA and the MD-DC Vending Association board of directors continue to monitor and respond to these and other proposed regulatory and legislative issues, and will keep you informed of anything that may affect you and your businesses. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at email@example.com.
Massachusetts: Reverse vending machine bottle and can deposit bill
MA H 1773, which relates to reverse vending machine bottle and can deposit redemption, has been referred to the House for a second reading. NAMA and MVA will keep members informed of its progress. For more information, please contact Pam Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan: Legislative issues affecting the vending and tobacco industries
New Jersey: Bill would raise minimum wage
The New Jersey Senate approved SB 3, a bill that would raise the Garden State minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour, with annual costs of living increases beginning in 2014. The measure now moves to the House.
Northwest Automatic Vending Association plans legislative days
The Northwest Automatic Vending Association will hold a legislative day at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Wash., on Feb. 5, 2013. They are also planning a legislative day at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., the following week on Feb. 12, 2013. For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at email@example.com.
Oregon: Governor calls special session
The Oregon Legislature is scheduled to meet Friday Dec. 14 at the call of the governor. The governor explained that the purpose of the session is to pass legislation to allow the governor to negotiate a freeze of tax policy for any business creating 500 jobs and spending at least $150 million in capital improvements in 5 years. The duration of the policy freeze will be negotiated by the governor in each case. This appears to be a concern over the potential change in the single sales factor legislation that passed in 2005. Under the single sales factor, corporations who have high payroll and property value in Oregon, benefit by using only "Oregon" sales to determine corporate tax liability. Prior to the change in tax law in 2005, corporations used payroll, property value and sales to determine Oregon corporate tax liability.
The Oregon Constitution requires each class of taxpayer to have tax equally. This statute would apparently create a new class of taxpayer. The reason given by the governor for this extraordinary action is Nike's desire to know what their future tax liability will be when making a large expansion in Oregon. This is similar to the arguments used by Facebook to get legislation enacted last session regarding their tax status in Oregon. The hurried nature of this session appears to be based on taking advantage of the republican membership in the House. Republicans are more likely to support this measure, and their numbers decrease by four seats in January. For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Merchandise Vending Association to hold legislative day in January
The Texas Merchandise Vending Association will hold a legislative day at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas on Jan. 30, 2013. The event will include a legislative breakfast and visits with representatives throughout the capitol. For more information, please contact Sandy Larson at email@example.com.
State associations plan legislative days
Kentucky Automatic Merchandising Council
Feb. 13, 2013
Tennessee Automatic Merchandising Association
Feb. 19, 2013
Arkansas Vending Council
Legislative Day/Annual Meeting
Little Rock, Ark.
Feb. 21, 2013
Mississippi Automatic Merchandising Association
Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida
March 21, 2013
Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council
March Date TBD
Alabama Vending Association
March 27, 2013
For more information, please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia: GAMC donating to USO for traveling service members
Last year the Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council donated items to the USO for service men and women traveling through Atlanta's Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport. It was such a successful endeavor that they are taking it one step further in 2012, and in addition to donations of snacks and other items, have asked industry members to write a card or letter to these heroes to let them know how proud they are and to thank them for all that they do on behalf of the U.S. Distributor members of GAMC will deliver all donated items, letters and cards to the USO on Dec. 19. For more information, please contact Mary Lou Monaghan at email@example.com.