Overall 2018 was a challenging but successful and active year for PFMA and our members. Thank you for all your help and support, it is essential to our success.
FEDERAL Passed Omnibus Funding Bill Prohibits EBT Processing Fees/EBT Fees -- PFMA helped to include a provision in the omnibus funding bill that would prohibit EBT processing fees. This keeps the issue off the table through FY 2019.
Farm Bill passage and inclusion of legalized industrial hemp -- PFMA helped support efforts on the federal level to include the legalization of industrial hemp in the Farm Bill. These efforts were successfully and included in the final version of the Farm Bill.
Expansion and Reauthorization of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) -- PFMA helped secure the reauthorization and expansion of the HFFI in the 2018 Farm Bill. PFMA has been a strong supporter of the program since its inception and has supported it at the state and federal levels.
Progress Made Passage in U.S. House of Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, H.R. 772 -- PFMA supported and helped its national partners pass the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017. The bill changes Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements for nutrition in formation displayed by restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and pizzerias. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State.
H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act -- PFMA supported this bill which would require that any civil action brought claiming a violation of the ADA include enough specificity to identify the actual problem or barrier to access being alleged. It also provides a time period during which the business could remedy the situation. The bill passed the U.S. House in February 2018. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe of Texas.
Cole-Bishop Amendment (FDA deeming regulations) -- PFMA helped support inclusion of legislation by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to add a revised version of the Cole-Bishop Amendment to the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations bill. The amendment language would change the predicate date (or grandfather date) under the FDA’s deeming regulations for cigars and pipe tobacco, exempt premium cigars from regulation under Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the law that grants the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products), create a substantially equivalent application method for pre-market tobacco application approved products, and apply additional restrictions onapproved products. The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia.
STATE Passed SB 1172 Price Gouging Reform -- PFMA helped support and pass SB 1172 out of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and the full Senate. The bill, sponsored by Senator Randy Vulakovich of Allegheny County, amends the Price Gouging Act regarding the prohibition on excessive pricing during a state of disaster emergency. SB 1172 passed the House and Senate. Governor Wolf vetoed the bill on October 24, 2018
HB 1840 Workers’ Comp Reform -- PFMA supported this legislation, sponsored by Representative Rob Kauffman of Franklin County, which prevents significant increases in workers' compensation insurance premiums that employers will experience as the result of the PA Supreme Court ruling invalidating a provision of PA's 1996 Workers' Compensation reforms. This bill passed the House and Senate. Governor Wolf signed the bill on October 24, 2018
SB 936 - Workers’ Comp Reform -- PFMA was part of a coalition that helped support and secure passage of this bill sponsored by Senator Don White of Indiana County. The bill creates important reforms by establishing a worker's compensation drug formulary. This bill passed the Senate and House and was ultimately vetoed by the Governor.
HB 1918 Anti-skimming device/fraud legislation -- PFMA helped secure House and Senate passage of legislation sponsored by Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County which seeks to eliminate and punish the use of fraudulent credit card devices by criminalizing the use of a scanning or skimming device, the use of a re-encoder, and the possession or sale of a skimming device. The bill was signed into law by Governor Wolf in June of 2018. This was a PFMA priority issue.
SB 1056 100% bonus deprecation provision added to state budget -- PFMA supported and helped pass with its allies a provision in the state budget package that would put the state in line with a federal tax change letting corporations immediately expense 100 percent of a qualifying capital purchase. SB 1056 was initially proposed by Senator Michele Brooks of Mercer County. Governor Wolf signed this provision into law with the budget.
Healthy Food Financing Initiative Recapitalization -- PFMA helped to secure additional funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative/Food Access Initiative in the 2018-2019 state budget legislation. $1 million in funding was included in the legislation.
Tobacco Products Sales Preemption included in HB 1929 (Fiscal Code) -- PFMA working with its allies was successful in adding a preemption on tobacco product sales to the budget fiscal code legislation, HB 1929. This brings Philadelphia in line with the rest of the state regarding the sale of tobacco products.
SB 888 PFMA amendment adopted to handicap parking legislation -- PFMA worked with our allies in the house and senate to amend this legislation which makes substantial changes to parking regulations for individuals with disabilities. We were able to amend the legislation to remove a number of harmful provisions and make the bill workable for our membership.
SB 6 PFMA amendment adopted to EBT/SNAP access legislation -- PFMA was successful in amending this legislation which deals with snap/ebt access to remove a provision that would have prohibited snap/ebt usage at establishments that were licensed by the Pa Liquor Control Board, and The Pa Gaming Control Board. This would have had a significant negative impact on our members, and their customers. This made the legislation much more workable for our members.
Progress made Changes to the SNAP Disbursement Schedule -- PFMA worked to adjust the SNAP disbursement schedule to allow for a staggered approached in providing benefits to recipients across the Commonwealth. Currently recipients receive their benefits in the first ten days of the month. PFMA was successful in helping to convene and participating in a Senate Majority Policy Committee Hearing on the issue. Also, PFMA had legislation introduced, SB 568 by Senator David Argall of Schuylkill County and HB 877 by Representative Tarah Toohil of Luzerne County, to addres s this issue. The legislation passed in committee in the House and was scheduled for a final vote when the session ended. The legislation will be reintroduced next legislative session.
Local labor policy preemption (paid and unpaid leave) HB 861 -- PMFA helped pass out of committee, HB 861, sponsored by Representative Seth Grove of York County, which preempts local governments from passing labor policies. The legislation will be reintroduced next session for further advocacy.
HB 2241 sugar-sweetened beverage tax preemption legislation -- PFMA supports HB2241 sponsored by Rep.Mark Mustio of Allegheny County which would preempt local taxation of sweetened beverages in PA and prohibits any municipality from levying such a tax while invalidating the current soda tax in Philadelphia. This bill passed the full house and now awaits further action in the senate.
HB 2071 Bullet proof glass preemption legislation -- PFMA supported and helped pass out of the House this legislation sponsored by Representative Todd Stephens of Montgomery County which would preempt municipalities from putting in place bulletproof glass, or other protective measures for their customers and employees safety. The legislation passed the House, and eventually died in the Senate. It will be reintroduced next session for further action.
Blocked PFMA was successful in preventing the ultimate passage of several proposals that would have been detrimental to the interests of our members: Property Tax Reform/Shifting: Several proposals were introduced this session to reduce or eliminate property taxes. Unfortunately, these proposals included shifting the tax burden to employers and working families in the form of increased and expanded sales taxes and higher personal income taxes. This included an attempt to add the sales tax to warehouse/wholesaler services and operations.
Minimum Wage Increases -- Various bills would have increased the state minimum wage from the $7.25 per hour to anywhere from $9 to $15 per hour. Some of these bills would have included automatic increases to the minimum wage tied to inflation/Consumer Price Index.
Tobacco and OTP taxes -- No new or increased taxes on tobacco or other tobacco product were enacted. Some discussion took place around adding a new tax to cigars to help plug the budget deficit for 2018-2019.
Gross receipts tax increase on Electric bills and Telecommunications and Transportation purchases- This tax would have significantly impacted our members in many negative ways.
Statewide beverage Tax
Paid or unpaid leave mandate
Statewide plastic Bag Fees, Taxes and Bans
Private actions under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law -- PFMA helped blocked passage of HB 475, sponsored by Representative Anthony DeLuca of Allegheny County which raises the minimum from $100 to $500 in cases of minor violations to the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection law. This bill would have increased costs for members and been a boon for trial lawyers.