State Affairs Updates

  • West Virginia Increases Tobacco Tax to Avoid Shutdown

    Looking down a $270 million dollar hole in the FY 2017 West Virginia budget, the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association reports that the legislature reached a compromise this week in the form of a tobacco tax (S. 1012) to fill it and avoid a government shutdown.
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  • USDA Denies Maine SNAP Waiver Request

    Last week, USDA denied  a waiver request that Maine submitted to USDA, asking to exclude certain food categories, deemed as unhealthy by the state, from the SNAP program.
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  • Onerous Oregon Tax Measure Qualifies for November

    On June 6, Oregon Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28), qualified for the November 2016 ballot. Its title, “Increases Corporate Minimum Tax When Sales Exceed $25 million; funds education, healthcare, senior services” was approved by the Oregon Supreme Court. A “yes” vote is needed for the measure to pass. 
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  • FDA Tobacco Enforcement Data Analysis

    FMI is on the Board of Directors for the We Card Coalition. Here is an analysis of publicly available FDA Enforcement Data from the We Card Coalition. The analysis is summarized by Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) (Oct.-Sept) for FFY 2011-2016. The 50 states and D.C. are included in this analysis; the U.S. territories are not included.
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  • 2016 Mid Year Legislative Charts

    As the state legislatures have now approached the midyear mark, FMI is providing a series of “midyear” legislative charts in several issue areas.
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  • 2016 State Ballot Measure Guide

    FMI has released its 2016 State Ballot Measure Guide for the Grocery Industry.This report details qualified and proposed initiatives salient to our industry that will appear on state ballots in the November general election.
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  • Vermont "Bans the Box" for Private Employers

    Employee ApplicationEarlier this month, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) signed H. 261, a bill that prevents employers in the state from requesting any information regarding criminal history on an initial employee application form. Vermont had previously removed such questions on applications for state employment in an Executive Order last year.  Inquiries into criminal history are allowed during an interview or once the prospective employee has been “deemed otherwise qualified for the position.”
     
    Vermont becomes the eighth state to “ban the box” for both public and private employers (HI, IL, MA, MN, NJ, OR, RI), along with 13 cities. An additional 16 states and over 100 cities and counties have laws that cover only public employers. 
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  • Maine GMO Bill Amendment Seeking Public Referendum Fails

    In Maine, an Amendment to a pending bill, L.D.  991 , has failed. Maine's genetically modified food products labeling law includes a delay of the effective date until mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food is adopted by at least 5 contiguous states, including Maine, by January 1, 2018 (this is known as a “trigger”). The failed Amendment would have asked the Maine voters to repeal the GMO labeling law trigger in favor of immediate mandatory labeling similar to Vermont. While that Amendment failed, a second amendment proposes to simply push out the repeal date from 2018 to 2022.
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  • Predictive Scheduling Legislation Across the States

    Following a slew of “predictive scheduling” legislation in 2015, and the enactment in San Francisco of a “Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights” that addresses the issue, bills are again under consideration in 2016. 
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  • States Opt Out of Lifetime Ban from SNAP for Felony Drug Convictions

    The Marshall Project has just released a report on states that are opting out of penalizing felony offenders from receiving SNAP and TANF.
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