Texas Retailers Newsletter: June 2019

Hello Texas Retailers:

Summer may not be here yet officially, but the temperature certainly feels like summer. Now that we are past Memorial Day, the school year and the Texas Legislative session have concluded, and all TRA eyes are focused on the annual TRA Forum on July 29th.

The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature was officially gaveled Sine Die, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th. This was a different session than in the recent past because Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) was the new Speaker of the Texas House. Additionally, the relationships between the big three, Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Bonnen seemed to be in sync on key legislative issues from the beginning of session, which was a bit different than recent legislative sessions. As always, Texas Retailers Association (TRA) went to work on your behalf in the halls of the Capitol building playing both offense and defense on a variety of issues.

TRA fought very hard to pass good legislation and to kill bad bills that would have been detrimental to our members and industry. On balance, TRA had a good legislative session, getting key TRA priorities passed into law, playing effective defense on potentially harmful bills, and leaving a few key issues to continue to be worked on during the interim. Overall, 7,324 bills were filed during the 86th Texas Legislature and 1,429 of them were passed. TRA actively tracked over 550 bills and hundreds more amendments directly impacting the retail industry. TRA recently issued its recap of the 86th session, detailing our efforts on a variety of issues during the session. Click on the link above to access the session recap. In addition to finishing the legislative session strongly, the TRA team has continued working hard on the planning for the annual TRA Forum, which will be in Austin on July 29th.

On the local level, in early April, the Dallas County District Attorney announced a new shoplifting/theft policy as a part of his criminal justice reform efforts.  The new policy stated that the DA’s office would not prosecute shoplifting crimes under $750, if the theft was for personal consumption.  As result, due in large part to TRA’s leadership in the Dallas area, retailers in Dallas County have banned together to engage with the DA to find a meaningful way to achieve the goals of the District Attorney and protect the assets of retailers. More detailed information regarding this effort can be found in the Food Council section of this newsletter.

Lastly, registration for the annual Texas Retailers Forum is open and in full swing. Join us this summer, here in Austin, at the Omni Barton Creek Resort on July 29th for our annual industry showcase event. The Forum will provide retailers with timely, topical and quality sessions and speakers, and attendees will have the opportunity to meet with and learn from elected officials and retail industry leaders from across the state and country. Make plans to be there to help us honor our Federal Legislative Champion for 2019, Congressman Will Hurd, as well as state legislative champions and industry champions at networking functions such as our Awards Dinner, networking breaks, and our popular closing night party.  Registration and sponsorship details, as well as information about Forum is inside this newsletter. Act now to secure your spot at this can’t miss retail industry event!

As always, thank you for supporting TRA.

Sincerely,

 

President/CEO
Texas Retailers Association

Legislative Update

In the first month after the 86th Texas Legislature concluded its business the halls in the Capitol are quiet but there is still lots of activity on the state legislative front. Most importantly, Governor Abbott is concluding his review of the almost 1,500 bills that have been sent to his desk for approval or veto. As of today, more than half of those bills have been signed with many more likely before the June 16th deadline. Included in those bills that have been signed are several that are of significant importance to the Retail industry. HB 1218 which directs the Health and Human Services Commissioner to implement the much awaited 28 day SNAP distribution schedule was signed into law on May 25th. SNAP applications approved after September 1, 2020 will be placed on the 28 day schedule and begin to provide our food retailers with much needed relief. SB 21 which raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 was also signed into law and will take effect September 1, 2019. Additionally,  both SB 2, which provides property tax reform and HB 3 which makes major changes to public education financing system in Texas were also signed into law this week. TRA has issued a Legislative wrap up document that provides  additional information about our priority issues and will also be sending out a series of one page summary documents for some of those bills with implementation dates in the fall. Thank all of you who participated this session, your time and efforts are greatly appreciated and the retail industry is better because of your work. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or want more specific information on any issue you have been following. We have a very busy interim ahead of us with some implementation processes to engage in as well as several big issues to prepare for next session which will be here before you know it.

For more information on the legislative process, TRA’s priority bills and news from the Capitol, please join us for the next TRA Tax and Legislative Conference Call on Thursday, July 11th at 2:00 PM CT.

 

Dallas County District Attorney Update:

On April 11, Dallas County District Attorney, John Creuzot, announced the department would not prosecute shoplifting cases under $750, if the theft was for personal consumption.  He went on to say if the person stole diapers and baby formula for their own use, then his department would not prosecute the person.  The retailers in Dallas County became very concerned.  TRA has taken a leadership role in educating the DA and County officials on how this policy will have an extreme negative effect on retailers. TRA and a group of retailers have met with County Judge Clay Jenkins and County District Attorney John Creuzot sharing shoplifting/shrink statistics and organized retail crime statistics.

A Dallas DA shoplifting task force has been formed to work with the DA’s department to reach a solution. Retailers in Dallas County have begun to capture statistics regarding shoplifting theft $100-$750. This will be a topic at the TRA Forum on July 29th.

 

 

TRA's Recap of the 86th Texas Legislature

The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature officially concluded and was gaveled Sine Die, on Monday, May 27th. This was a different session than in the recent past because Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) was the new Speaker of the Texas House. Additionally, the relationships between the big three, Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Bonnen seemed to be in sync on key legislative issues from the beginning of session, which was a bit different than recent legislative sessions. As always, Texas Retailers Association (TRA) went to work on your behalf in the halls of the Capitol building playing both offense and defense on a variety of issues.

Click here to read our recap of the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

 

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher visits Macy's at Galleria

On Tuesday May 28th, TRA and Macy’s hosted Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher for a briefing and store tour at the Macy’s Houston Galleria store.  It was a great opportunity to visit with Congresswoman Fletcher about the key federal issues TRA and Macy’s are working on, such as Trade, USMCA and Technical Corrections to Tax Reform. 

 

      

 

 

 

2019 Texas Retailers Forum

 

 

The 2019 Texas Retailers Forum will be held at the Omni Barton Creek on July 29th, 2019 in Austin, TX. The Texas Retailers Forum will be one full day of breakout sessions, educational panels, and an awards dinner. We will also be honoring Representative Will Hurd as the Federal Legislative Champion. The Texas Retailers are very excited for our annual conference and hope you can join! 

 

Registration for members is $350 and non-members is $700. This includes all meals, educational opportunities, breakout sessions, and your tickets to the dinner and closing night party. Click here to register today! 

 

 

Tariffs Hurt Everyone

Retailers, workers and consumers continue to be impacted by tariffs.  The Administration has just announced that the U.S. will levy tariffs of 25% on an additional $300 billion worth of goods imported from China.  This brings the total to $550 billion, which covers virtually all goods imported by U.S. retailers from China.

To date, the Administration's tariffs have cost the U.S. more than $25 billion. According to research by the Trade Partnership, this recent increase will cost American families over $2,300 per year and result in nearly 1 million jobs lost

Tariffs are taxes on Americans. Tariffs are not collected from other countries. Tariffs don't enrich our country. They do the exact opposite: tariffs take money out of the pockets of the hard-working Americans who fuel our economy.

Let your members of Congress and the President know that tariffs are taxes hurting local retail businesses, workers and consumers.

 

TAKE ACTION

 

 

Member Spotlight: Target

 Target Logo

Target’s Renewable Electricity Goal Makes Way For a Brighter Future

It’s no secret: We’re working toward important goals to create a more sustainable future for our guests, team members and the planet.

In fact, we’re taking a major step forward by committing to source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The goal, which applies to all of Target’s domestic operations, will help us power our stores, distribution centers and offices even more responsibly. It also builds on the renewable energy goal we made back in 2017.

“At Target, we’ve been on a multi-year journey to operate our facilities more sustainably, and setting this ambitious goal is an important milestone,” says John Leisen, vice president, property management, Target. “We’re proud of the work we’ve already done with renewable energy in our stores, and we’ll continue to explore more opportunities and partnerships to realize this goal.”

Click here to read more about Target's renewable energy goal.

 

  

TRA-Endorsed Energy Solutions Provider: Amerex Energy Services

 

A TRA-endorsed service provider since 2002, Amerex is the largest OTC(wholesale) natural gas, electricity and emissions trader in North America. Their real-time involvement in the wholesale energy market and their customized service has consistently yielded significant cost savings to TRA members. Click Here to Learn More

Contact: Brandi Peck, [email protected], 281.340.5208
www.amerexenergyservices.com

  

 

Grocers Corner- In the Cart

WIC/SNAP Program Statistics Update

 

SNAP April Numbers:

  • Participants: 3.4 Million
  • Dollars: $383 Million
WIC March Numbers:
  • Participants: 670,000
  • Dollars: $36 Million

 

Please note with Hurricane season approaching make sure stores are registered to receive email updates in the case of an outage.  If you need to register contact Maria Gomez email:  [email protected]

 

A disaster recovery maintenance will be performed in August on the EBT system.  Notifications will be sent to stores prior to the event.

 

 

Challenges of Social Sector Systemic Collaborations: What's Cookin' in Houston's Food Insecurity Space?

Rice University has published a report on health food access in lower income areas  (Food Deserts).  The study looks at some areas in Houston and how retailers, government and charitable groups have responded. Click here to read more.

 


The FDA and USDA have held discussions regarding the labeling of meat products which are not meat. In fact, the State of Louisiana recently passed a bill to regulate meat not meat labels if mandated by FDA or USDA. Interesting article on the subject below. Click here to read more.



 

Same FedEx Service. Lower Cost.


If you could get the same service from FedEx that you do today, but for a lower cost, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? Through the TRA Shipping Program, you can. When you enroll for this free TRA member benefit, you can ship FedEx the same way you do today. The only difference you'll notice will be the positive impact on your bottom line. Enroll today to save up to 27%* on select FedEx servicesVisit www.PartnerShip.com/01tra for complete program details. If you have any questions call 800-599-2902 or email [email protected]

Your FedEx and UPS Shipments Will Be More Expensive in 2019
FedEx and UPS rates are going up in 2019, and it’s more important than ever that TRA members know how to mitigate the impact to their business. PartnerShip®, the benefit provider that manages the TRA Shipping Program, has analyzed the new rate charts so TRA members can accurately prepare for the year ahead. Download the free white paper to see a break down of where you’ll find the highest increases and get a simplified explanation of the complicated changes you need to be aware of.

 

 

 

Former TRA Staff Member Angela Shipp marries Matthew Schwerdtfeger

TRA's former Membership & Marketing Coordinator Angela Shipp married Matthew Schwerdtfeger on Friday, June 7th. Best wishes to the happy couple!

 

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