Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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Legislative & Regulatory Forecast 60 Convenience Store News | JANUARY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Issue of Importance These legislative and regulatory matters will be most impactful to c-stores in 2017 By Renée M. Covino W hile they are clearly not the fun part of a forecast, legislative and regulatory issues are often at the heart of what can make or break a convenience store's bottom line for a month, a quarter or even for the year. So, without further ado, here are what the legislative experts are chatting up, regulatory-wise, for the next 12 months: Interchange Fees Because president-elect Donald Trump and his allies in Congress have made numerous references to repeal - ing or significantly altering the Dodd-Frank law, "the important progress the industry has made with regards to interchange-fee limits on debit cards could be in jeopardy," Joe Kefauver, managing partner of Align Public Strategies, told Convenience Store News. "The industry will have to redouble its efforts to protect the Durbin Amendment and, once again, educate lawmak - ers regarding its importance to retailers." State & Local-Level Activism Since the door is shut to organized labor in Congress and now with the new administration, "I think you will see a significant increase in activity at the local level pushing for a $15 minimum wage, paid leave, wage theft, restrictive scheduling and other issues important to the labor community," added Kefauver. At both the state and local levels, he expects activists will continue to pursue these issues through ballot initiatives. The national dialogue on a $15 mini- mum wage will continue to escalate — look for labor organizers, the social justice community and other pro- ponents to expand their efforts to more cities. State and local-level activism is also at the heart of tobacco issues that are affecting c-stores. One of the recent local regulatory trends is a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, according to Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), which also supports con- venience stores. "These bans can force retailers to remove 70, 80 or more product SKUs from store shelves including fla- vored cigars, flavored smokeless tobacco, e-cigarette and vapor-flavored products and virtually all pipe tobacco," he said. "The result is that loyal customers will travel to a neighboring suburb or town to buy not only their favorite tobacco products, but their gas, snacks and beverages, resulting in further sales declines." In addition to the flavor legislation, an increasing number of cities have adopted an age 19 or 21 require- ment to purchase tobacco products. A minimum age of 21 results in about a 3-percent decline in tobacco sales for an average store, according to Briant. Some cities have also prohibited the sale of tobacco products within 500 or 1,000 feet of schools, play- grounds, churches and other youth-oriented facilities. Then, there are other cities or counties limiting the number of retail tobacco licenses that will be issued, "effectively curtailing any new retail store

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