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City, Comptroller reach agreement on sales tax rule change injunction

The City of Round Rock and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reached an agreement Tuesday, Aug. 31, that prohibits the state from implementing a subsection of a new sales tax sourcing rule, pending a final hearing. 

The City filed a lawsuit in July seeking to overturn portions of the Comptroller’s Rule 3.334, which would source sales tax revenue from many online purchases to the buyer’s location instead of the seller’s place of business. This change to decades-old sourcing rules would have cost Round Rock millions of dollars a year in lost local sales tax revenue, most notably from online sales made by Round Rock-based Dell Technologies. 

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NGA Applauds Hours Of Service Waiver Extension For Grocery Truckers

The National Grocers Association applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s extension of its Hours of Service emergency declaration, which was set to expire Aug. 31, but is now extended through Nov. 30.

FMSCA has provided hours-of-service flexibility for commercial drivers transporting certain categories of eligible items critical to the supply chain since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency announced the extension to the waiver based on input from independent grocers.

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Legislative Update - August 2021

The 2nd called Special Session of the Texas Legislature began on August 7th with a total of 17 topics identified by the Governor for consideration. This consisted of the 11 issues from the previous Special Session call and an addition 6 that are new. You can find a the Governor’s announcement and proclamation HERE. Most significant for TRA’s members, Governor Abbott added one of TRA’s priority issues (local employment practices) to the call. As you know, SB14 from the regular session failed to pass in the final days of session but now has another chance to finally become law.  Following the Governor’s announcement, the Texas Senate began immediately passing many of the bills designed to fulfill the Governor’s call, including SB14 (employment practices legislation from the regular session) . Meanwhile, in the Texas House of Representatives the quorum break being forged by many Democratic members over the election integrity legislation continues to prevent that chamber from being able to conduct business or pass any legislation. While in recent days the number of total member present has risen, a quorum has not been reached. For now, it seems that there is significant pressure from all sides of the issue but no clear path forward. We do know the legislature will have to also address redistricting at some point in the near future and it is still unclear how the current status of the legislative proceedings will impact that process. TRA continues to  monitor and participate in the quickly evolving events in the capitol and will keep you up to date on news as it happens. Please feel free to reach out to the TRA team if you have any questions or need additional details on any specific issue.  

Grocery Industry Update - July

SNAP benefits continue to dominate the news for supermarket operators.  P-EBT funds have been loaded onto Lone Star Cards and the total is over $3.5 Billion.  A little over 50% has been spent by customers and applications for P-EBT are being approved weekly by the State Agency.  In addition, the additional benefits up to max. family size were approved for July.  These additional funds could reach $96 million.  Of note, the regular SNAP benefits are slightly less than last year and the number of families receiving regular SNAP has decreased slightly.  This is due to the fact, this time last year, we were in the middle of the pandemic and more people were unemployed.

The State Agency has made application to USDA FNS applying for summer P-EBT.  This program would compensate families who have children on free or reduced lunch during the regular school year.  If approved, these funds would be loaded onto Lone Stare Cards at the end of September.

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Lowe's helps with donations of water and supplies for Texas communities

Last week in Texas, it was the coldest it has ever been in three decades; some places being colder than the bottom half of Alaska. People in our community went periods of time without water or power and in some situations people had absolutely nothing. Now that the lights are on and the water is flowing again, people are trying to clean up the damages from busted pipes and repair their homes. I know that water and a bucket of supplies will not solve all the problems that the freeze has caused, but it's a start. Many people were very happy to receive these buckets of hope and said "it made their day". It is my pleasure to hold a position in a company, that not only wants to satisfy their customers, but also thinks of the needs of their community. Thank you for letting Lowe's #28 be a part of what Lowe's Home Improvement stands for!

 

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BGC Gives Employees Special Compensation for efforts during storm

Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co. is recognizing its employee-partners for their dedication and service to their communities while serving through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and this past week’s winter storm. It is showing its appreciation by giving gift cards and additional hourly pay to its team.

This aligns with the national Food Industry Association’s earlier declaration of Monday, Feb. 22, as Supermarket Employee Day nationwide.

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Grocery Supply Chain Continues to Sort Itself Out, Should Return to Normal By End of Week

From water to electricity and now grocery stores, many are still dealing with the fallout from the winter storms.

Some grocery stores still aren't full as trucks are working to deliver what was lost.

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How HEB Helped Texas During Winter Storm

Texans Needed Food and Comfort After a Brutal Storm. As Usual, They Found It at H-E-B.

As state government flounders, has a beloved grocery store chain become “the moral center of Texas”?
AUSTIN, Texas — The past week had been a nightmare. A winter storm, one of the worst to hit Texas in a generation, robbed Lanita Generous of power, heat and water in her home. The food she had stored in her refrigerator and freezer had spoiled. She was down to her final five bottles of water.

“I have never felt so powerless,” Ms. Generous, a copywriter, said.


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Texas WIC Update: Winter Storm Supply Issues

Winter Storm Supply Issues
Dear WIC Vendor Community,

Texas WIC appreciates our vendor community for trying to maintain business operations during the severe winter storms across Texas this week. We understand the variety of issues you are managing during these unprecedented times and we are hopeful that warmer weather in the days ahead will help correct these issues. If you anticipate long term issues related to the topics below, please notify the Vendor Management and Operations (VMO) Unit at [email protected]:
• Restocking store shelves
• Damage to your store
• Unable to restore power
• No supply deliveries

Texas WIC is ready to assist our vendor partners. Should you have any questions regarding this Vendor News Flash, please contact the VMO’s Vendor Outreach Branch at [email protected] or
1-800-252-9629. Find more WIC vendor resources on our website at bit.ly/TexasWICVendors







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New Book Shares 92 year History of BGC

Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co. has published a book which shares its more than 92 years of history, titled “From Cotton Picker to Store Keeper.”

“I am excited to have our story shared with our partners, customers and communities,” said Brad Brookshire, chairman and CEO for Brookshire Grocery Co., which was founded in 1928. “My grandfather whole-heartedly believed it was his God-given calling to serve others through the grocery business, and this book illustrates our 92-year commitment to carrying on his great legacy. Our customers and employee-partners can take great pride in knowing they play an important role in our incredible story that continues to unfold.”

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How Frito-Lay and Pepsico are helping in North Texas and beyond during uncertain times

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are living through unimaginable, perilous times. But the worst of times can bring out the best in humanity as we put forth our greatest efforts to help others. Frito-Lay and PepsiCo’s philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, are determined to provide that assistance — not just in North Texas but across America and around the world.

“We all have a responsibility to serve our community,” says Steven Williams, chief executive officer, PepsiCo Foods North America. “During this time of crisis, it’s critical that companies provide assistance and direct necessary resources to the most vulnerable.”

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COVID-19 Latest News 1/11/2021

STATEWIDE – COVID-19 RESPONSE: COVID-19 Vaccination Hubs – On January 11th , Governor Greg Abbott toured the Tarrant County large vaccine hub at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center in Arlington and then held a press conference. He gave some statistics (as of January 11, 2021): 

1,580,400 vaccines have been shipped to providers in Texas
802,507 first doses have been administered
83,538 second doses have been administered
777,897 doses have either not been reported or are waiting to be administered

An additional 487,500 doses have been provided to CVS and Walgreens for administration at nursing home and long-term care facilities
75,312 of those have been administered
412,188 are either not yet reported or waiting to be administered

The combined numbers show 2,067,900 doses have been provided in the state
877,815 have been administered
158,825 doses are being shipped this week to the hubs, and just over 38,000 doses will go to 206 additional providers across the state, including several in rural counties that until recently had not received allotments.

NRF Issues Statement about Riots in the Nation's Capital

WASHINGTON, January 6, 2021 – The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay regarding the attacks on the U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

“This is a sad and distressing day for our country. For more than two centuries we have prided ourselves as Americans on our democratic principles, our nation of laws and the unique experience of peaceful transfers of power from one administration to the next, regardless of party affiliation.

“Our retailers, the millions of associates they employ and the communities they serve across the country want and need our elected officials to focus on the priorities that ensure faith in our government through stability. Today’s riots are repugnant and fly in the face of the most basic tenets of our constitution, and the Administration must move quickly to provide the leadership that will end this affront to our democracy.”

Courtesy of National Retail Federation 

TRA Statement Regarding Events at US Capital

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) rebukes the attack on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC this afternoon. This type of violence and destruction is unacceptable, regardless of the motivations. TRA members value the First Amendment right we have as Americans to petition our government, and we have enjoyed those opportunities to represent our association and industry in both Washington, DC and here in Austin. Unfortunately, today’s actions by a mob which crossed the line from their right to peaceably assemble to outright threats to public safety and destruction of property, will likely impact how lawfully abiding Americans engage with their government going forward. TRA stands with our national partner organizations in their respective statements below, regarding today’s events. Tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with members of Congress and their staffs, along with law enforcement protecting the Capitol, for their on-going safety and well-being.

Message from NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara

NGA members: In my fifteen years working for NGA, I've encountered quite a few crazy events at the US Capitol. I've had to shelter in place inside the complex during a police shooting, narrowly avoided a landing by a crazy man in a small airplane on the west front lawn of the Capitol, and have navigated thousands of protesters exercising their First Amendment right. I have never seen anything like the events that are taking place at our Capitol building today. 

To see protesters, some armed, storm the chambers of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives, should send chills down the spines of all Americans. These actions threaten our democracy. Part of what makes this country great is even with all of the security threats that America faces, we are still able to petition our elected officials face to face at the Capitol. 

I'm afraid today's actions may make that more difficult in the future and that is a loss for all of us. In a non-pandemic world NGA's government relations staff would likely have been on Capitol Hill, representing your interest, so I'm glad, for once, that COVID has kept our staff safe. I hope you will join me in saying a prayer for our nation this evening that we can tone down the rhetoric and come together as Americans. 

Tomorrow will be a better day in this wonderful country that we are blessed to call home. 



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RILA Statement on Capitol Protests

Washington, DC - RILA President Brian Dodge issued the following statement in response to today's events: 

The events at the US Capitol today were nothing less than an attack on our democracy. At a time when our elected officials were meant to perform a routine yet powerfully symbolic function of the peaceful transfer of power, they were met with a violent mob, incited by the President of the United States and his agents.

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HEB Now Accepting SNAP EBT for Curbside

H-E-B is now accepting SNAP EBT payments for its Curbside and Home Delivery orders directly on the My H-E-B mobile app and heb.com. At all H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery locations, customers can now use SNAP EBT to digitally pay for their orders for pick-up at the store or delivery to their homes.

To use the service, customers must create an account on the My H-E-B app or heb.com. During sign up, they will enter their SNAP EBT and other payment info. Once registration is complete, they can place an order and simply choose SNAP EBT during check out where they also will be required to enter their PIN. A credit, debit or gift card will need to be used to pay for items and fees not SNAP EBT eligible.

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Vaccinations are on the way for Texas Front Line

Four Texas sites received a total of 19,500 doses of the vaccine on Monday, the first phase of a rollout that will put a quarter-million doses into 110 Texas facilities this week — with more on the way next week.

First, a pinch in the arm.

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BGC Pharmacies to Offer Free COVID-19 Vaccines When Approved

Brookshire Grocery Co., in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is actively preparing for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines once approved and available for distribution.

As allocated by state officials, Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods pharmacies will administer the vaccines to the public to support the goal of keeping our communities safe by offering this vaccine at no cost to the patient. Providing this free service will help maximize efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

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El Paso COVID-19 Shutdown Should Be Overturned: George Kelemen

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck Texas earlier this year, it required a great deal of flexibility from us all.

Many quickly moved their lives online while health experts rushed to learn more about the virus and government officials worked to find solutions for preventing widespread outbreaks. In many areas, that process involved complete shutdowns to contain the Coronavirus until public health officials had a better grasp on what we can each do to play our part in flattening the curve.

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