Single Store Owner

OCT 2016

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LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP 10 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / OCTOBER 2016 National State & Local would be overly burdensome for small-format retailers, leading them to decline participating and thus drastically reducing access for SNAP beneficiaries. The proposed new USDA rule would require retailers to stock more varieties of prod- ucts in four "staple food" categories, but eliminate multiple-ingredient items like a frozen pizza or a can of chicken noodle soup from counting toward a retailer's "depth of stock" requirements. NATSO, the national association representing travel plazas and truck stops, is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to work with private, exit-based businesses within the confines of the existing law that prohibits the sale of fuel and other commercial services at rest areas, as the DOT seeks to identify and establish stretches of the National Highway System as alternative fuel corridors. According to NATSO, Section 1413 of the FAST Act directs the DOT to identify and establish fueling corridors to support alternative- fueling stations, including electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling infrastructure at strategic locations along major national highways. A coalition of retailers, including convenience store operators 7-Eleven Inc., Aloha Petroleum Ltd., CEFCO Convenience Stores, E-Z Mart Stores Inc. and RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., joined the efforts to keep swipe fee reforms included in the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In a letter to Con- gress, the retailers urged lawmakers not to repeal reforms aimed at curtailing global credit and debit card companies' anti-competitive practices. The National Federation of Independent Busi- nesses (NFIB) asked the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to delay a new rule that makes millions of Americans now eligible for overtime pay, argu- ing that employers aren't prepared to implement when the new rule goes into effect Dec. 1. Instead, the NFIB asked that the rule — which doubles the threshold at which executive, administrative and professional employees are exempt from overtime pay from the current $23,660 to $47,476 — go into effect on June 1, 2017. In a statement, DOL officials responded that they provided businesses 190 days to comply, "more than three times what's legally required." A federal judge ruled tobacco companies do not have to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change their product's labeling. An U.S. District Judge vacated part of a FDA directive stating tobacco compa- nies may need the agency's clearance to market products with significant labeling modifications, such as a change in color or logo. In a split victory, however, the agency may require clearance for mar- keting a tobacco product with a different quantity. This would apply to an increase in the number of cigarettes per pack. In a bipartisan letter sent to the U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture (USDA), 47 U.S. senators urged the agency to revise its proposed rule that would alter the eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The letter discusses concerns the rule NEW JERSEY Customers who consume food and beverages purchased from convenience stores and other loca- tions while driving could soon pay the price in the Garden State. A bill under consideration in the New Jersey legislature seeks to prohibit "any activity un- related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle on a public road or highway." If enacted, fines would range from $200 to $400 for the first offense, $400 to $600 for the second offense, to $800 and a 90-day license suspension for a third offense. NORTH DAKOTA A ballot question in No- vember's election could raise North Dakota's cigarette excise tax by 44 cents to $2.20 per pack. In addition, the tax on other tobacco products, including liquid nicotine, would go from 28 per- cent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price. Retailers and tobacco companies are fighting the proposed measure.

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