E-Newsletter

Texas Retailers Association

November 2020

In This Issue...

  1. Letter from the President 
  2. Election Recap - See full report
  3. Advocacy Update -  TRAPAC Fundraising
  4. Marsh Wortham - New Employee Benefits Portal/ Healthcare access
  5. Southwest Financial - Free Banking Program
  6. Lifelock - TRA's Identity Theft Protection Discount Program
  7. Amerex - Business Energy Program Savings Program
  8. Grocery Industry Update -  WIC/SNAP & Produce Trends

Letter From the President

Hello Texas Retailers!

I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy, and that your stores and businesses are ready for the holiday season, which is now upon us. Additionally, a hugely important election just took place and come January, there will be new faces in new roles at the Texas Capitol, as well as representing Texas on Capitol Hill in DC. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be very much a part of daily life, but there are signs that there is some light at the end of the tunnel with promising vaccine news that has been announced recently. However, in the past month the spread of COVID-19 in Texas has increased, with a major spike in cases and hospitalizations in El Paso. As of this writing Texas retailers still have occupancy limits (up to 75% per the Governor’s announcement in late September), must require face covering of all individuals, and ensure social distancing.

The TRA team continues to be a key resource for our members and industry, as well as for local, state, and federal authorities who are making critical decisions for the communities across our state during this time. We are keeping members as up to date as possible via the TRA website, and suggest you check it often for important updates, details, and resources. We believe our collective efforts have been effective throughout the pandemic and we are committed to continuing to be your trusted voice.

The record-breaking level of participation in the 2020 elections, despite the impacts of COVID-19, was certainly great to see. Over 150 million (and counting) Americans voted this year, which is amazing. Early last week TRA provided an initial 2020 election recap to our members. Specifically, the recap focuses on initial election results in Texas for both state and federal offices and it is included in this newsletter as well. Highlights include the following:

Since 2016, Texas added 1.8 million registered voters to the voter rolls and hit an all-time record high of 16.9 million registered voters. The 2020 election had the highest election turnout our state has ever seen with over 11.1 million Texans voting this year. While the Democrats were hopeful for big wins in Texas, that was not the case in this year’s election.  As a result, 2021 in Texas state politics will look very similar to the way they have looked for the past two years. Here in Texas, President Trump defeated former Vice President Biden by 6 points, 52% to 46%, which gave Texas’ 38 Electoral College votes to the President. However, the overall election for President was called for former Vice-President Biden on November 7th, making him the President-elect, and he will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th President on January 20th, 2021. Texas’ Congressional delegation and State Legislature had no changes in party breakdown, resulting mainly in some new faces in old places. The most important change will be in the Speakership of the Texas House, where State Representative Dade Phelan has secured the necessary support to be the presumed next Speaker of the Texas House. Now the work begins, and rest assured that TRA already has the key relationships in place to further our agenda next session.

As you all know, TRA endorsed 123 members of the Texas Legislature, and 97.6% of TRA’s endorsed candidates for the State Legislature won their elections.  This is very significant for TRA and the Texas retail industry as we go into the next legislative session in 2021. These stellar results from our political engagement, thanks to the generosity of our members, is huge. However, to keep this level of success up and to keep TRAPAC and our industry voice strong, WE NEED YOUR HELP; contribute to TRAPAC, so we can continue to help support retail-friendly elected officials. You can get information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC by visiting the TRA website at: www.txretailers.org, where you can also get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts as well.

At the federal level, Congress is back in session for the lame duck session, before wrapping up for the year. At the top of their to-do list is passing another federal government funding bill to fund the government past the current expiration of December 11th. Additionally, they will also be efforts to try to work on the next COVID stimulus bill, to hopefully pass something before they break for the year. Regardless, TRA remains very engaged with our national retail association partners, as well as our Congressional delegation on ensuring that retail industry priorities, such as liability protection for retail workers is included in the next COVID relief bill. We are also working on these issues at the state level, assuming some of these issues aren’t addressed at the federal level before the Texas legislative session ends.

As always, thank you for your continued support of TRA, and stay safe. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you.

George Kelemen

TRA President/CEO


TRA Election Recap

The Texas Legislature will remain relatively stable from a political perspective as we move into 2021 and head into the 87th Texas Legislative session. The most significant impacts of the elections will likely be that there will now be 13 Democratic senators (up one from last session) in the Texas Senate, which provide the Democrats newfound procedural power.

Additionally, as you all know, TRA endorsed 123 members of the Texas Legislature, and 97.6% of TRA’s endorsed candidates for the State Legislature won their elections. This is very significant for TRA and the Texas retail industry as we go into the next legislative session in 2021.


To read the full Election recap report, please click here.


Advocacy Update


The Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Retailers Association PAC (TRAPAC) endorse the following members of the Texas Legislature for election in the 2020 general election.
TRA/ TRAPAC endorsements are based on professional connection to the retail industry (retailers, vendors, supply chain, etc..), support for the retail industry through legislative votes on issues of importance to Texas retailers, and sponsoring of and/ or championing of legislation important to Texas retailers. Click here to view the official list of TRA endorsements.

Email [email protected] or visit www.txretailers.org to make a donation to TRAPAC!


Texas Retailers Association Benefits Program 

 

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) has been working to help solve a problem affecting our members and every business in the USaccess to affordable healthcare. COVID-19 has made that need more apparent than ever.

We are proud to bring you TRA Healthcare Solutions, available at the TRA Benefits Center website. With this solution, we can finally provide our members with access to high-quality, cost-effective health solutions that are flexible enough to meet your specific needs.

We fought to make sure that you would have access to medical, dental and vision plans from national carriers, but we didn’t stop there. This program will also provide access to cloud-based HR services, comprehensive business insurance, and new features to respond to COVID-19 like affordable telemedicine and virtual doctor visits.

Be on the lookout for more information from the TRA Benefits Center highlighting the benefits exclusive to TRA members. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to support your employees.

Contact
David J. Hebert, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 713.276.8012
Cell: 281.606.2247
[email protected]

Christina Scott, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 572.379.2698
Cell: 512.497.4626
[email protected]


 

Financial Well-being Pays Off

Most companies are familiar with employee physical well-being programs, and many are adopting financial well-being initiatives as well.  Employees with a financial well-being program are more likely to be: 

  • Less stressed – most employees don’t leave their worry at home, making it a challenge to be focused and engaged at work.
  • More innovative – the financially secure feel safer, offering honest opinions and innovative ideas.
  • More productive – employees are more focused at work with higher performance and less errors.

59% of employees say finances are their top source of stress*.  Southwest Financial offers financial education tools that can assist with your employees’ financial well-being.  These tools help create sensible budgets through educational videos and real-life articles.  In addition, we offer guided credit counseling services at no cost to our members.

This free benefit is available to you through the Texas Retailers Association.  If you would like to offer Southwest Financial as a banking benefit to your employees, please contact Venoka Daniels at [email protected] or 214-580-9930.

*Source:  PwC’s 8th annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, accessed 3 Feb. 2020.


 

As a member, you receive 10% off LifeLock services and you can live freely knowing that LifeLock is searching over a trillion data points every minute of every day looking for potential threats to your identity. When LifeLock finds your personal information being used, they will alert you through their patented Identity Alert System. Click here to sign up today!


 

 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. Save on your gas, or electricity! Click Here to Learn More

Email: [email protected]

www.amerexenergyservices.com 


 Grocery Industry Update

Texas SNAP benefits remain strong with over $450 million distributed monthly and 3.9 million participants.  Recently Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain (R) District 128 Dear Park, introduced HB 343 which would limit some products eligible for SNAP.  The bill would mandate healthy products and exempt products like candy, soft drinks, chips, etc.  TRA will be working with Rep. Cain and his staff to educate the Representative on the importance of allowing all food products to be SNAP eligible.  The customer should be able to chose products for their family.

The WIC program also remains strong with over 670,000 participants.  Recently WIC conducted a customer (client) survey to determine customer satisfaction with WIC and their store.  The results are as follows;

  • 50% stated no issues with WIC and their store
  • 14% noted WIC products were not labeled properly in their store
  • 14% were confused regarding which foods or brands were approved
  • 7% stated some of their products did not scan properly at their store
  • 9% stated some of their products were out of stock
  • 6% had other reasons or feedback

Texas WIC does have a WIC app for customers to download to their smart phone. This app will actually have the customers shopping list with their approved products.  The app will also be store specific and allow the customer to scan the product to determine eligibility.  Store staff can also access the app to determine eligible products. 

Recently TRA held a Food Council call to discuss the following:

  • gift card fraud
  • single use plastic bags
  • TABC control brands

The department of justice fraud division is asking retailers who sell gift cards to participate in a program to prevent gift card fraud directed at senior customers.  Some signage examples and details are available on the TRA website.

Lastly Acosta has published a great article on the mobile-ization of grocery shopping.

For questions on Grocery Industry Issues, please contact Gary Huddleston

 


Contact Information | 1250 S Capital of Texas Hwy 3-400 | (512) 472-8261