Monday, 05 December 2016 17:19

For Immediate Release: December 5, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Florida’s leading retail advocacy organization highlights those issues and topics important to retailers and which will be the focus in the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session

TALLAHASSEE, FL – With the Florida House of Representatives in committee weeks this week and the Senate set to follow suit next week, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced its 2017 Legislative Agenda in preparation for the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session in March. The agenda highlights those issues which are important to the success of retailers and Florida’s business community and which FRF will be focused on.

Friday, 02 December 2016 16:16

FRF & FPMA are excited to announce our 2017 Legislative Agenda! This diverse agenda - which was created based solely on feedback from you, our members, and voted on at our October Fall Retail Summit - highlights the issues that our influential Governmental Affairs Team will be focusing on this upcoming session in supporting the needs of retail businesses in Florida and ensuring you remain successful. (*This list does not include issues that may pop up as we get closer to session or during it*)

We are proud of our legislative impact and successes in recent years and we look forward to working with the Governor's Office and state legislators on passing legislation that will benefit our members and strengthen Florida's retail industry.

Proposed 2017 Legislative Agenda

GENERAL RETAIL BUSINESS
Support

  • Retain Preemptions | We support current Florida laws that require regulation of plastic, paper bags, and polystyrene at the state level and preempt local regulations.
  • Mainstreet Fairness | FRF continues to support the collection of sales tax on internet sales by remote sellers. This issue needs to be addressed at the Federal level and we encourage Congress to act immediately.
  • Commerce Clause | We support legislation that would preempt to the state legislature all issues that impact commerce within the state.
  • Accuracy in Damages | We believe that injured parties should recover based on their real expenses, not phantom numbers. We support corrective legislation to help restore truthful damage verdicts in personal injury lawsuits.
  • Workers’ Compensation Reform | The outcome of several recent Florida Supreme Court cases have had significant impacts on Florida’s Workers’ Compensation rates. We support reforms that will decrease rates for Florida’s retailers.
  • Renewable Energy Efforts | We support the continued efforts to provide options to retailers in Florida regarding renewable energy.

Oppose

  • Increase State Minimum Wage | We oppose any increase in the state minimum wage.
  • Increase in Minimum Threshold for Felonies | Retailers would oppose any legislation that would increase the minimum threshold for felonies.
  • Restricting the Sale of a Legal Product | We oppose any legislation or regulation that restricts the retail sale of a legal product.
  • Predictive Scheduling | We oppose any legislation that would dictate to a retailer the manner in which they should schedule their employees.
  • Pre-arrest Diversion Programs | These programs allow law enforcement officers to issue civil citations to adults who commit nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. FRF opposes this legislation when there is no system in place to track first offenses, therefore the person could become a perpetual first offender and continue in retail theft.
  • Pre-judgement Interest | We oppose legislation that would allow for the award of prejudgment interest in any action in which plaintiff recovers monetary damages.
  • Mandating the Sale of a Legal Product | We oppose any legislation or regulation mandating retailers to sell certain products.

TAXES
Support

  • Business Rent Tax Reform | Florida is the only state that assesses a sales tax on commercial real estate leases. The sales tax on commercial leases is assessed at six percent plus local option. The Florida Retail Federation supports efforts to repeal the tax, reduce the tax rate, modify the taxable base, or any combination thereof, in order to lessen this tax burden.
  • Sales Tax Holidays | Back to School; Disaster Preparedness; 1 Day Small Business; Energy-Star & WaterSense; -We encourage the Governor and Legislators to continue to fund Sales Tax Holidays. Studies have shown that they drive consumers to retailers during those specific times, and they are a direct benefit to the taxpayers.
  • State of Emergency Sales Tax Waiver | We would support legislation that would allow the Governor to waive the sales tax on certain items during a State of Emergency Declaration.
  • Corporate Tax Exemption for Small Business | We support any reduction in the corporate income tax rate for retailers.
  • Bad Debt Sales Tax Refund | We support efforts to increase the current 64% refund level of the sales taxes remitted related to bad debts to 100% of the remitted taxes on debt that has gone bad on a private label credit cards. This is a continuation of the legislation that passed in 2014, which allows for sales taxes remitted on private label credit card bad debts to be refunded in the same manner as the taxes refunded on bad debts resulting from revolving or installment sales credit transactions.

Oppose

  • Combined Reporting | In the event that Combined Reporting gets any traction during the 2016 Legislative Session, the FRF Lobby Team will oppose this Corporate Tax Filing requirement. If adopted, Combined Reporting will adversely affect most multi-state companies and would place Florida in an unfavorable position in its ability to recruit new businesses to relocate to Florida.
  • Pharmacy
  • SUPPORT
  • Grocery/Convenience Store | We support the Legislature requiring the doctors who write prescriptions for a controlled substance to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before writing the prescription and to report their dose into the program.

GROCERY/CONVENIENCE STORE
Support

  • Elimination of Transfer Switch Requirements for Gas Stations | FPMA knows the importance of the transfer switch but we believe it should not be mandated. We will support language that removes the mandate and provides incentives to install ones on new construction.

Oppose

  • Online Sales and/or Restriction of Lottery Sales | FRF & FPMA oppose the sale of lottery tickets online as well as any restrictions on sales amount in the stores.

Tuesday, 08 November 2016 19:54

Back in September, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an emergency rule that would require businesses responsible for instances of pollution to notify the state and the public about those instances on an expedited timeline. Under the emergency rule, notification is required to the DEP and to local government officials and the media.

DEP is now in the process of passing a final rule to address pollution notification. Below is the revised proposed rule:

DEPRevisedPollutionRule.11.7.2016.pdf

Positive changes have been made to the rule. The rule is now more clear about what amounts of pollutants trigger the notification requirements. But the rule still raises concerns about the cost to business and the potential for ineffective and inaccurate information being shared with the public. We believe the DEP should be the central clearinghouse for the notification of pollution.

We are submitting our comments to the DEP to encourage further changes to the rule. Please share this rule within your companies and let us know what concerns you have. If you have real-life examples regarding how this could negatively impact your business, please share those with us so that we can educate the DEP about the impact of this rule.

Comments will only be received by the state agency up until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 9, so please get back with us as soon as you are able. We appreciate your input.

Please submit your comments, questions and concerns to FRF General Counsel, Samantha Padgett, at 850-222-4082 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, 03 November 2016 12:30

Hear what happened to an endurance athlete when he ate nothing but gas station food for a month!

There’s a perception that “healthy eating” doesn’t take place outside of the home. Restaurants, gas stations, fast-food establishments—they’re all spoken of as if they’re part of the problem. But are they?

Frank Beard, an endurance athlete from Iowa, wanted to do something extreme and change the conversation. So he recently conducted an experiment. To prove that it is possible to stay healthy while eating out, he consumed only gas station food for 30 days.

FPMA’s national partners at the NACS Convenience Matters podcast, led by program co-hosts Jeff Lenard of NACS and John Eichberger of the Fuels Institute, talk to Beard about his experiment in “30 Days of Gas Station Food.” The program can be downloaded on iTunes by searching for Convenience Matters. It also is available at nacsonline.com/podcasts. Frank’s goal was to gain no more than five pounds after eating nothing but food from gas stations for 30 consecutive days. Find out not only his final results but what else he learned about the industry during his journeys!

Monday, 10 October 2016 18:42

Today, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts. The application period is from today through November 11, 2016.

DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, please go to flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda and select “Hurricane Matthew” from the drop-down menu.

DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide an expedient cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees located in 67 counties affected by Hurricane Matthew can apply for short-term loans for up to $25,000. Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to October 3, 2016, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

To complete an application by the Nov. 11 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network state office at 850-898-3489.

Thursday, 06 October 2016 14:16

Were you scheduled to attend the Florida Remediation Conference PRP session that was canceled? Looking for another opportunity to learn more about PRP and tank compliance issues? Well then, make sure to join us for the Petroleum Restoration Program (PRP) & Tank Compliance Symposium during the FRF/FPMA Fall Meeting & Retail Summit taking place October 26 from 9am-4pm at the Daytona Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Shores, FL. Featuring leaders from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, this event is critical if you are an ATC contractor, own a tank, deal with tanks, own property where there is or was a tank, or are financing one. You do not want to miss this important session!

Presented by FDEP Staff: Bill Burns, Compliance Administrator; Diane Pickett, Program Administrator; John Wright, Chief Engineer
Who should attend: Marketers, dealers, property owners, bankers, realtors and ATCs
This comprehensive sessions will focus on critical issues for the PRP and Compliance Programs. Specific topics include:

  • Tank Compliance Monitoring, Testing & Record Keeping, Operator A/B and C Training, 62-761, 62-762 Rule Changes (how it impacts you!)
  • ATC/RP training will provide information to site owners, cleanup contractors, and sub-contractors on the nuts and bolts of the Petroleum Restoration Program including:
    • Program Update - Funding and Legislative Changes
    • Site Assessment Work Flow and Tasking
    • Remediation and Site Closure Issues
    • Invoicing Tips and Reminders

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 16:46

FPMA Important Member Update

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES
Division of Consumer Services
RULE NO.: 5JER16-1
RULE TITLE: Volatility Standards for Gasoline

SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE: As a result of the effects on the supply and distribution of fuel following an incident in Alabama requiring Colonial Pipeline to shut down Pipeline #1, which routes gasoline to the east coast, extreme and unusual circumstances exist that will prevent the distribution of an adequate fuel supply to consumers in specified Florida counties. Several other southeastern states have issued similar fuel volatility waivers. Pursuant to these actions by the other southeastern states, and following the adoption of this emergency rule, waiving certain volatility standards in specified Florida counties will allow for adequate and rapid distribution of available fuel, helping to stabilize the fuel market in the specified counties, thus protecting the welfare of Florida consumers in these counties. Specifically, the affected counties in Florida are Escambia, Jackson, Leon, and Okaloosa.

REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: This emergency rule was initiated at the request of fuel suppliers in order to more adequately meet the fuel needs of Florida consumers in these specified counties, as a result of current fuel shortages created by an incident in Alabama requiring Colonial Pipeline to shut down Pipeline #1, which routes gasoline to the east coast. This emergency rule will help alleviate present distribution difficulties and shortages of motor fuel resulting from this event to provide relief to affected areas in Florida.

SUMMARY: This emergency rule allows for the retail distribution and sale of gasoline of a different volatility class than adopted in ASTM International designation D4814-13a as adopted in Rule 5J-21.001, F.A.C., for the period beginning October 4, 2016, through October 31, 2016, in Escambia, Jackson, Leon, and Okaloosa counties in Florida. The specific standards affected are indicated below.

THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Richard Kimsey, Chief, Bureau of Standards, 3125 Conner Blvd., Bldg. #2, Tallahassee, FL 32399, (850)921-1570

THE FULL TEXT OF THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: 5JER16-1 Volatility Standards for Gasoline (1) Volatility Class D-4 fuels as specified in ASTM International designation D4814-13a, shall be allowed for the time period from October 4, 2016, through October 31, 2016, for retail distribution and sale in Escambia, Jackson, Leon, and Okaloosa counties. Rulemaking Authority 525.037, 525.14, 570.07(23) FS. Law Implemented 525.01, 525.037, 525.14 FS. History - New 10-4-16.

Monday, 03 October 2016 20:58

Governor Rick Scott today signed Executive Order 16-230 declaring a state of emergency for every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew.

Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Matthew is a life-threatening category four hurricane and we must all take it seriously. If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now. Today, I signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in every Florida county to ensure we have resources for evacuations, sheltering and other logistical needs across our state. We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best and we will not take any chances to ensure our state is prepared."

FRF and FPMA will remain in constant contact with Governor Scott's office as well as the Division of Emergency Management for all pre-or post-Hurricane coordination efforts. We will continue to pass along any information pertaining to this hurricane going forward.

Please note that because an emergency has been declared that emergency pricing restrictions are in effect.

Thursday, 29 September 2016 16:37

For Immediate Release: September 29, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

FRF & FPMA eager to see the positive impact this legislation will have in keeping Floridians and visitors safe from credit card fraud at Sunshine State gas stations

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (FPMA), remind Floridians statewide that effective October 1, increased security measures take effect at gas stations statewide to protect consumers from gas pump skimmer fraud. SB912, sponsored by Senator Anitere Flores and Representative Dana Young, becomes law this weekend in protecting credit card information while also making it easier to charge someone for committing gas pump skimmer fraud.

“With more than 10,000 gas pumps in Florida, and the potential for one skimmer to impact more than 100 people, this important legislation will go a long way towards protecting millions of Florida’s residents and visitors,” said Randy Miller, FRF President & CEO. “FRF and FPMA were proud to work with Senator Flores, Representative Young and Commissioner Adam Putnam on the passage of this bill and we look forward to it making Florida a safer place.”

SB912, which passed unanimously this past legislative session, requires gas stations to have, at a minimum, security tape on their pumps to show the pump hasn’t been tampered with. The law would make the crime of tampering with a gas pump a second degree felony and the possibility of 15 years prison time, which is an increase from the previous penalties of a third degree felony and just five years in prison. The new law also makes law enforcements’ job easier to charge someone who is in possession of counterfeit credit cards. Previously, it would require ten fake cards to be charged with a second degree felony, now it only requires five cards for the same charge.

Florida’s convenience stores increased from 9,737 in 2014 to more than 10,000 in 2015, which ranked third among all states according to the 2016 National Association of Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016 16:29

Below is the Emergency Rule that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued regarding notification of pollution. The Emergency Rule as drafted creates questions about when notification is required. We are working with DEP to clear up these questions. We recognize and agree with the necessity of prompt notification of pollution. Our businesses, our communities and our state are best served when pollution is quickly and completely addressed and its harm is minimized or eliminated. We want to make sure our member businesses are fully compliant without creating unnecessary burdens for local officials and needless concern for citizens. As we receive more detailed information from DEP, we will share this information with you.

Notice of Emergency Rule
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

RULE NO.: 62ER16-1
RULE TITLE: Public Notice of Pollution

SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE: In a "Specific Finding of Immediate Danger to the Public Health, Safety, or Welfare," which was published on the date of this emergency rule (available at www.dep.state.fl.us/pollutionnotice) and filed with the Secretary of State's Office, Secretary Steverson found that there is a need to immediately require specific notification to the public of any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state. These circumstances present an immediate hazard to public health, safety, or welfare which requires emergency action.

REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: Prompt notification to the public is necessary regarding any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state such that public health could be at risk. The Secretary will commence rulemaking procedures for the emergency rule immediately.

SUMMARY: The provisions of the action provide a requirement that owners and operators of any installation provide notifications to the Department, local government officials, and the public whenever there is an incident or discovery of pollution at an installation within 24 hours. In addition, the owner and operator would be required to provide a subsequent notice within 48 hours that describes any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundary of the installation, and the potential risk to public health, safety, or welfare. The owners and operators are required to notify the Department, local government officials, and the property owner within 24 hours of becoming aware that pollution from an installation has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation.

THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Robert A. Williams, Chief Deputy General Counsel, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., MS-35 Tallahassee, FL 32399

THE FULL TEXT OF THE EMERGENCY RULE IS:

62ER16-01Public Notice of Pollution

Any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation shall provide notice of the pollution as follows:

(1)Within 24 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Departmentand the following persons, in writing, of such pollution:

(a)The mayor, the chair of the county commission, or the comparable senior elected official representing the affected area.

(b)The city manager, the county administrator, or the comparable senior official representing the affected area.

(c)The general public by providing notice to local broadcast television affiliates and a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the contamination.

(2)Within 48 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Department and persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(c), in writing, of any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, and the potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(3)Within 24 hours of becoming aware of pollution from an installation that has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, the owner or operator shall notify, in writing, the property owner of any affected area, the Department, and the persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(b).

(4)Such notification to the Department shall be accomplished by submitting an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

(5)Failure to provide this notification shall be considered a violation and subject to penalties for purposes of Section 403.161, Florida Statutes.

Rulemaking Authority 377.22(2), 403.061(7), 403.061(8), 403.062, 403.855(1), 403.861(9) FS. Law Implemented 377.21, 377.371, 403.061(16), 403.061(17), 403.061(18), 403.062, 403.855(3), 403.861(9) FS. History-New 9-26-16.

THIS RULE TAKES EFFECT UPON BEING FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNLESS A LATER TIME AND DATE IS SPECIFIED IN THE RULE.

EFFECTIVE DATE: 09/26/2016