Texas Retailers Newsletter: October 2019

Hello Texas Retailers:

It’s now officially fall. We hope everyone has had a nice start to their fall. As was mentioned in last month’s TRA newsletter, this fall TRA is engaging in a membership campaign to grow the ranks of TRA’s membership to include more sectors of the industry and have more geographic areas of the state represented within the association…AND, we are asking YOU, our members to help us. You can help by referring, identifying and/or connecting potential member companies and stores to TRA. Please look over your networks of industry contacts to see if any who are retailers in Texas would be great new TRA members. If so, let us know about them, or send them our way and we’ll take it from there.

TRA has a great story to tell and delivers solid member value, and we can think of no better way than to enlist our members in sharing what TRA is all about with potential new members. As an incentive to help your industry association grow, we are including a reward component to this fall’s membership campaign. Any current TRA member who refers a company or store which joins TRA between now and January 1st, 2020 will receive a gift card as a referral reward. See details in this newsletter. We are also revamping the TRA website to make it more user friendly for all who visit it, as well as making it more useful for TRA’s staff and members. We look forward to officially announcing the new TRA website in early November.  

On the advocacy front, TRA remains engaged in the rulemaking and implementation processes for new state laws impacting retailers that were passed during the state legislative session, earlier this year. Additionally, we continue to fight for retailers against the ill-conceived local Paid Sick Leave ordinances which have popped up in several Texas cities. On the federal level we are continuing our push to have Congress ratify the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before the end of the year, as well as to find opportunities to make the much-needed technical corrections to the 2017 Tax Reform law. For more timely advocacy updates, make plans to join TRA’s monthly Tax & Legislative Committee calls, which typically occur the second Thursday of each month at 2pm CT. These calls are a great way to keep up with all of the advocacy efforts TRA engages in on your behalf. Reach out to any member of the TRA team to be added to the distribution list for the Tax & Lege call announcements.

That said, it is now more important than ever to engage your elected officials (state and federal) with store tours and other opportunities to discuss the state and federal issues that matter most to you and your business. Making it local helps them see much more clearly the impact of their actions, or inactions. As we approach a very important election year in 2020, it’s important for all of us to work to educate them on the issues which matter most to retailers, as well as to know where they stand on our industry’s key issues. One way you and your company can help support and elect retail friendly legislators is by contributing to the Texas Retailers Association Political Action Committee (TRAPAC). You can get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts, as well as information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC, by visiting the TRA website at: www.txretailers.org.

With 2020 around the corner, the TRA team is already hard at work planning next year’s TRA member events. On the schedule for next year are TRA’s biannual Advocacy Summit, which will take place March 6-8, and TRA’s annual Texas Retailers Forum, which will take place on July 20. Both events will take place in the Austin/ Central Texas area at two great resort properties and be very convenient for travel to and from. See more information on TRA’s Advocacy Summit and annual Forum in this newsletter and on the TRA website. I encourage all of you to make plans to attend, as well as sponsor TRA signature member events for 2020.

As always, thank you for supporting TRA.

Sincerely,

 

President/CEO
Texas Retailers Association

Legislative Update

  

TABC/Tobacco Legislative Update: 

This past legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed several laws which impact Texas retailers who sell beer and wine, as well as tobacco. These new laws went into effect on last Sunday, September 1st. Although we understand the Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission (TABC), as well as the Texas Comptroller’s office have communicated with our state’s retailers about these new laws and their impacts or changes, we wanted to make sure all TRA members had the most updated information.

 

Below for your reference are an industry notice from TABC, which includes a detailed document reflecting all of the changes impacting TABC enacted last session, as well as this link from the Comptroller’s office regarding the new Over 21 Tobacco law. The link contains helpful information along the right hand side. However, we understand that there is still ambiguity regarding what constitutes acceptable ID’s for the military exemptions for tobacco purchases. TRA is in contact with the Comptroller’s office on this issue and we have asked them to issue clarifying guidance to retailers ASAP. Here is a link to more information about including the "Texas Retailer Tobacco Packet." We will continue to monitor this and report back as we learn more details.

 

INDUSTRY NOTICE

August 23, 2019

New Laws You Need to Know About

 

This year, the Texas Legislature adopted several new laws that impact the alcoholic beverage industry. Some of these laws go into effect on September 1, 2019, while others take effect over the next two years.

To keep you informed, TABC has developed an online presentation that summarizes the impact of Texas’ 86th Legislative Session on the alcohol industry. This covers the TABC Sunset bill, the new state budget, and many other bills adopted by the Texas Legislature.

Click here to view TABC’s 86th Legislature Legislative Update.

 

 

Paid Sick Leave Update:

Dallas:
On July 29th, several plaintiffs aligned with TRA filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Collin County, in the northwest suburbs of Dallas, seeking to block the Dallas PSL ordinance. An initial hearing on this lawsuit is expected in the coming days. Although the court could rule to temporarily invalidate the Dallas PSL ordinance (while the full case is litigated), it is unfortunate that this outcome will not be known until possibly several days or even weeks into August. TRA and our business allies are confident this will be the result, however with it now being August 1st, the Dallas PSL ordinance is technically in effect at this time, although the city has stated that fines will not be levied until April 1, 2020. As a result TRA is strongly suggesting member companies who have employees working within the City Limits of Dallas do two things as of August 1st:

  • 1. Post the two signs (English/Spanish) in an area accessible to employees.
  • 2. Begin to accrue the sick pay hours for employees who work in the City of Dallas. (one hour for every 30 hours worked up to max. 64.)

We are hopeful the Court will recognize the issues we have with the ordinance and issue a ruling in the near future. TRA will notify members when we receive any additional information. 

You can access the Dallas Paid Sick Leave website by clicking this link: www.dallascityhall.com/paid-sick-leave

San Antonio:
In July, TRA filed a petition for intervention, in support of a lawsuit filed by business groups in San Antonio, who are allied with TRA, to prevent the San Antonio PSL ordinance from going into effect on August 1. As a result of the litigation and TRA’s involvement, the San Antonio PSL ordinance is now stayed until December 1st.

Austin:
A group of business association, closely allied with TRA, filed suit last year to prevent the Austin PSL ordinance from going into effect. The litigation regarding the Austin paid sick leave ordinance is at the Texas Supreme Court and as a result the Austin PSL ordinance is stayed (meaning that the Austin PSL ordinance will not go into effect) until such time as the court issues a ruling. This is not expected until this fall at the earliest.

 

Donate to TRAPAC Today!

TRAPAC is the Political Action Committee (PAC) of the Texas Retailers Association. It is organized to take a bipartisan, non-ideological approach to contributing to candidates for state political office (State Representative, State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor and other statewide positions) whose voting records and/or stated positions are supportive of the key issues of importance to the membership of the Texas Retailers Association. TRAPAC funds go towards direct expenses related to legislative and regulatory initiatives. Donations to TRAPAC must be personal money and not corporate funds. Click here to donate to TRAPAC!

However, contributions to the Retail Advocacy Fund (RAF) can be made with corporate funds. Contributions to the Retail Advocacy Fund (RAF) are considered an additional assessment to support the indirect expenses (non-lobbying and non-PAC) related to the government affairs work TRA does on your company’s behalf. Click here to donate to RAF!

If you have any questions about TRAPAC or RAF, please contact TRA at 512-472-8261 or email Justin Williamson, Director of Public Affairs.

 

Member Spotlight: Complete Data Systems

 

 

Contact Michael Armstrong at [email protected] or 940-294-8096 to learn more!

  

Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers' Compensation

The ARAWC Innovation Series explains the goals of Texas injury benefit programs, and profiles amazing stories of the programs’ successes. The series is divided into six sections, each with dynamic, high quality, original video and written content.

 

 

TRA-Endorsed Insurance and Risk Management Services Provider: Marsh Wortham

Marsh Wortham Ad

 

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]com, 281.340.5308
www.amerexenergyservices.com   

 

Grocers Corner- In the Cart

WIC/SNAP Program Statistics Update

 

  • September # of Families 3,455,887 | Dollars distributed  $389,926,577 | This is 1.8% less funds distributed from August and 6.7% less than 2018.
  • A few recent WIC statistics: September # Number of Participants: 685,626  This is up 1.0% from the prior month but 4.3% less than 2018.

 

Effective Oct. 1, WIC has a new product list.  You can access the list below:

www.dshs.texas.gov/wichd

Congress will be considering the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition (CNR) Legislation later this fall. This includes WIC. One policy change could be the licensing period for WIC.  Current the WIC license period is three (3) years and SNAP is five (5) years. The goal would be to create more synergy between SNAP and WIC to move the WIC license period to five (5) years.  TRA believes this would be good for WIC retailers and reduce some paperwork. 

In 2020, the Federal  Agency has announced some eligibility and formula changes, we believe will impact the number of families on SNAP and the amount of funds loaded on the Lone Star Card.  TRA is working with the State agency to determine the impact to Lone Star Card holders in Texas.

 

Texans Mark 100th Anniversary of Pecan Being Named State Tree

The Texas Pecan Board, with pecan growers from across the state, gathered Oct. 1 at the state capitol, marking the 100th anniversary of the pecan tree being named the state tree and kick off Texas Pecan Month with a gubernatorial proclamation. According to new Texas consumer survey data released at the event, pecans are highly identified with Texas. Read more.

 

The NPD Group Says CBD Isn't Just for Fringe Consumers

Cannabidiol (CBD) isn’t just for a select few people. Nearly 20 percent of adults have tried it in states where it’s legal and nearly half of them have used it recently, reports The NPD Group. And this number is expected to increase quickly as CBD is appearing in snack foods and beverages, consumers are getting more comfortable with the idea and just as many people plan to try it as are currently using it.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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