Bill passes House with swipe fee protections intact 

Monday, June 12, 2017 8:54:00 AM

Source: NRA

June 8, 2017


The National Restaurant Association celebrated a big victory June 8, as the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act with debit swipe fee protections still intact.


We waged a comprehensive public affairs campaign leveraging grassroots advocacy, digital advertising, and social and traditional media to express our concerns regarding the repeal of the swipe fee protections with lawmakers. Our effort showed them how financially devastating repeal of the protections would be to our industry as well as other small businesses and consumers nationwide.


Keeping the debit swipe fee protections in place means restaurant owners and other small business operators won't face skyrocketing fees every time a customer uses his or her debit card during a transaction.


"By keeping debit swipe protections in place, small businesses will not be stuck with a debit card tax on top of their already thin operating margins," said Cicely Simpson, our executive vice president of government affairs and policy.


Authored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, House Financial Services Committee chair, the Financial CHOICE Act seeks to reverse overregulation of the financial services industry. The debit swipe fee protections, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


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Battle brewing over whether Illinois craft breweries can set up at farmers markets, special events 

Friday, April 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM



There’s a battle brewing between the established adult beverage industry and the much smaller, but quickly-growing, craft brew industry in Illinois.

Senate Bill 759 would allow 170 craft breweries to each apply for 12 special use permits per year to be able to set up at farmers markets, street festivals or special events.

Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bob Myers said they support the craft beer industry as a growing industry, “However, we have certain lanes in the alcoholic beverage industry: there’s the manufacturing lane, the distributor lane and the retail lane.”

Myers said craft breweries should not be allowed to cross over the lanes to go straight to the customer.

Under Illinois' strict Liquor Control Act, the state's adult beverage industry is divided into three distinct tiers: producers of alcohol such as wineries and brewers; retailers such as grocery stores and bars; and distributors, which transport the alcohol from the producers to the retailers. In most cases, producers are not permitted to take their product directly to market or to retailers.

Illinois Licensed Beverage Association’s Sam Panayotovich said this latest bill could have an unintended consequence in cities like Springfield.

“What we see happening is that a truck can pull up right in front of a Maldaner’s [restaurant], in front of a D.H. Browns [tavern], and sell their product,” Panayotovich said.

Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, said the measure actually will help inform consumers about where they can purchase the unique brews.

“If someone goes to a farmers market on a Saturday afternoon and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is actually really good beer, I really enjoy this. Where are you located? Where do you sell your beer?’ That brewer can say, ‘Oh, actually, I’m in the Binny’s down the street,' or 'I’m at the Mariano's around the way,’” she said.

“Looking down the road, this is beneficial to all three tiers,” D’Alessandro said.

Senate Bill 759 could be amended further before it hits the Senate floor later this month.

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Monday, October 03, 2016 4:42:00 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to delay adoption of pending overtime pay rules by six months, pushing back the start date to June 1.

The measure has yet to be taken up by the full Senate, and President Obama has already issued a statement promising to veto the legislation. Yet the vote last night was hailed as a victory for restaurants and other small businesses by such groups as the National Restaurant Association.

“We are grateful that Congress stood with small business and passed the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act,” the NRA said in a statement. “We continue to work with key senators on both sides of the aisle to find a resolution in both houses.”

Hopes for a delay in the Senate were buoyed by the partisan vote in the House. The delay measure was passed nearly along party lines, 246-177. The Republican Party also controls the Senate.

The vote in the House came on the same day Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of a bill allowing U.S. citizens to sue Saudi Arabia for damages relating to 9/11. The two-thirds vote marked the first time Congress has overturned an Obama veto.

The new overtime rules, issued by the Department of Labor earlier this year, are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1. The regulatory change doubles the threshold that determines which salaried employees would be entitled to time-and-a-half pay for work exceeding 40 hours per week. Anyone on salary who earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis would be eligible for the higher pay. The threshold is currently $23,660.

Twenty-one states recently joined forces to challenge the rules in court, arguing against the use of salary as the test of eligibility. 

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Illinois: Bill toughening oversight of wine shipping in Illinois signed into law 

Friday, September 02, 2016 8:37:00 AM


Source: Chicago Tribune

Greg Trotter

August 26, 2016


Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Friday that toughens oversight and enforcement of shipping wine into Illinois and transporting alcohol across state lines.


It's a win for Illinois alcohol wholesalers who lobbied for the passage of Senate Bill 2989, sponsored by state Sen. James Clayborne, D-East Saint Louis. The bill enhances penalties on those illegally shipping or transporting alcohol into the state. It also raises licensing fees across the board for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, and establishes more of an audit process for booze coming into the state.


But the bill had detractors, too, particularly from residents who purchased hard-to-find wine from out-of-state retailers. An online petition calling on Rauner to veto the bill garnered more than 1,500 supporters. Retailers aren't permitted to ship into Illinois, though some still do, but wineries are allowed to do so if licensed with the state. Now, retailers who take the risk could face felony charges.


Representatives of Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois, a trade group funded by the state's two largest wholesalers, Breakthru Beverage Group and Southern Wine & Spirits, have said the bill will bring in more revenue that will help the state's oversight of bootleggers and "bad actors" of e-commerce.


"(The bill) protects the health and safety of Illinois consumers by promoting compliance with state law. It also gives the Illinois Liquor Control Commission the resources it needs to prevent out-of-state suppliers from taking advantage of a loophole that allowed them to direct ship wine into Illinois without paying taxes," said Karin Lijana Matura, executive director of Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois, in a statement Friday.


Some opponents of the bill argued the opposite. By prohibiting out-of-state retailers from shipping into Illinois, the state is missing out on "millions of dollars" in tax revenue and licensing fees, said Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers, in an interview earlier this week.


Fourteen states currently allow out-of-state retailers to ship to their residents, said Wark, who said he expected the matter to eventually be settled in the courts.

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This is a reminder to help you achieve full, timely compliance with the Municipal Code of Chicago; three new laws go into effect on July 1st and August 1st. 

Monday, August 08, 2016 5:24:00 AM
                                           Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection 
                                                                             City of Chicago 
                                                                                                                   August 1, 2016
Dear Retailer,
This is a reminder to help you achieve full, timely compliance with the Municipal Code of Chicago; three new laws go into effect on July 1st and August 1st.
Tobacco 21:
Beginning July 1, 2016, the sale of tobacco products and accessories to people under age 21 will be prohibited.  Retail employees age 18 and older may still engage in selling tobacco products. It is now illegal to sell tobacco products to those under age 21.
Additionally, you may be required to post a new warning sign. In stores that have a Retail Tobacco License, a new warning sign reflecting the new age of 21 must be posted by July 1, 2016. Please remember that as the retailer, it is now illegal to sell tobacco products to those under 21. You are responsible for any violations committed by your employees, staff, or agents. You can get a copy of this warning sign on the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection website on the tobacco regulations webpage.
Minimum Wage Increase:
Effective July 1st the new hourly minimum wage goes up to $10.50 per hour. Tipped minimum wage workers will also see a raise as their per hour wage increases to $5.95.  
The Mayor's 2014 ordinance phases in annual increases every July 1st.  The hourly wage will increase to $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018 and $13 by 2019. The ordinance affects employers operating within the city and employees who work at least two hours in the city.  It does not cover businesses with four or less employees, not counting the employer's parents, spouse, children or other members of the employer's immediate family.
Plastic Bag Ban:
The second phase of the City of Chicago's Plastic Bag Ban begins August 1, 2016. Smaller chain and franchise retailers with floor space less than 10,000 square feet will be required to come into compliance as larger stores were required last year. The ordinance does not apply to take-out or dine-in restaurants.
Under the ordinance stores can provide customers plastic bags if they are reusable, made of recyclable paper or commercially compostable plastic bags.
As part of the City's coordinated effort to build awareness about these changes, the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection will host a workshop regarding the new laws on Wednesday, August 10,2016 at City Hall Room 805 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Please stay tuned for more information that will be posted online.

Maria Guerra Lapacek
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Keep TABS on your alcoholic beverages. (TABS ACT) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 10:04:00 AM

The Transport Alcoholic Beverages Safely (TABS) Act promotes compliance with state law to protect consumers and recoup lost Illinois revenues.  Click here for PDF document.

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Monday, May 23, 2016 2:52:00 PM

Soda tax proposals have been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly for several years. Most

recently, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd District) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-18th

District) introduced legislation, SB 1584/HB 2667, which imposes a punitive tax on sugar-sweetened

beverages, like sports drinks, juice drinks, teas and soda. While both measures are not currently active,

the proposal continues to be promoted as a revenue generating option.

The beverage industry has demonstrated partnerships are an effective and more productive way to

achieve the goals of the soda tax without burdening Illinois residents and families.


A soda tax will hurt Illinois families and our economy.

  •  Affect Working Families: Adding an additional tax on sugar-sweetened beverages will raise

  grocery costs for working families. This legislation will also cut jobs and hurt our economic   


  • 100,000 Jobs at Stake: Imposing additional taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages will drive down sales, in turn negatively impacting bottlers, their employees, agricultural suppliers, distributors and retailers. With more than 100,000 Illinois residents directly and indirectly employed by the beverage industry, the vast beverage industry could face layoffs, if the soda tax is signed into law.

  • Lower Revenue at State and Local Level: Beverage-related jobs create $654 million in wages in Illinois, with an additional $702 million in wages for occupations that rely on beverage sales. Passing this soda tax would decrease sales resulting in a decrease in local and state revenue at a time when the governments across Illinois are strapped for revenue. Additionally, the state would incur additional costs to administer the tax.


The Beverage Industry is Creating More Effective Partnerships to Address Public Health.

  • Fewer Calories in Schools: The beverage industry has dramatically cut calories from beverages in schools. Calories from all beverages shipped to all schools nationwide have been slashed by almost 90% and full-calorie soft drinks have been removed from schools.

  • Transforming the Beverage Landscape: America’s leading beverage companies publicly

committed to a goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent by 2025

through their new Balanced Calories Initiative. Through industry-led partnerships with public

health advocates, water and other no- and lower-calorie beverages are expected to grow


  • Launching Mixify: The beverage industry understands the need to balance our diets and

               physical activity, which is why the industry launched Mixify, a comprehensive educational

               campaign to give Americans the resources they need to lead healthy lifestyles.


The soda tax is an ineffective way to address this nation’s obesity program.

  • No Noticeable Impact on BMI: A study conducted by an economist at the Yale School of Public Health found “…any obesity-related benefit of decreased soda consumption that comes from a soda tax is, on average, more than offset by increased caloric consumption from other


  • Taxes don’t make people healthier: “Sin taxes”— selective taxes on goods deemed to be

unhealthy or poor choices—don’t make people healthier. These regressive taxes aren’t

impacting health. Education and access to better food make a difference. (“Regressive Effects:

Causes and Consequences of Selective Consumption Taxation” Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 2015)


  • Childhood obesity rates in Illinois are actually falling: The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity recently reported the percentage of the state’s third graders that were considered overweight fell 15% and the percentage who were obese declined 14% from 2004 to 2014.

  • Food is the No. 1 source of added sugars, not sugar-sweetened beverages: According to data from the CDC, sugar-sweetened beverages are not the No. 1 source of added sugars for children and teens, refuting the common assertion by some researchers and activists. The data also show calories from added sugars from soda are down 39 percent since 2000.




The non-alcoholic beverage industry is deeply committed to Illinois and its economy. There are more

than 65 soft drink bottling plants and distribution facilities located throughout Illinois. More than

100,000 Illinois residents are directly and indirectly employed by the beverage industry. These jobs are

real and they account for more than $6 billion in Illinois wages. The industry is also responsible for $21.1 billion in economic impact annually in Illinois. And, more than $41 million has been made in charitable donations from the industry and its employees to date. (John Dunham & Associates, Inc.)


Supporters of the Beverage Industry in Illinois

7-Eleven, Inc.


Americans for Prosperity

Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois

Black McDonald’s Owner Operators Association

Bloomington Normal Convention and Tourism Bureau

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Hospitality Business Association of Chicago

Illinois Association of Convenience Stores

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Chapter, National Association of Theatre Owners

Illinois Farm Bureau

Illinois Food Retailers Association

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Licensed Beverage Association

Illinois Manufacturers Association

Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association

Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois Restaurant Association

Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Midwest Food Processors Association


National Automatic Merchandising Association

National Federation of Independent Business Owners

Teamsters Joint Council 25


and more than 1,000 small businesses, restaurants, chambers of commerce and business organizations!

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Monday, May 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM


The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores support the current minimum age of 18 for the sale of all tobacco products.


While some Illinois lawmakers want to raise the minimum age to 21, IPMA-IACS believes the state should defer to the ongoing federal decision making process.

The federal Tobacco Control Act of 2009 sets the national minimum age at 18, and also requires the FDA to study the public health implications of raising the minimum age and to report its findings to congress. The FDA recently submitted a report to congress, so the process is in motion.


Illinois shoppers do not need another reason to cross into neighboring states. Fuel taxes and sales taxes are already driving buyers away, and raising the tobacco age will too. Illinois stores will lose sales and the state will lose much needed tax revenue. Raising the age would be a detriment to Illinois jobs, income and the overall economy. Bordering states already have considerable advantages over Illinois.



 There are a host of activities which are legal for 18-year-olds including military duty, voting, jury duty, credit eligibility, medical consents, and even marriage. Tobacco use seems arbitrary to leave off that list by mandating an age of 21.



 We fully support underage tobacco prevention efforts in a variety of ways, including comprehensive underage access prevention legislation and investing in organizations that deliver programs designed to promote healthy development and the avoidance of risky behaviors, such as tobacco use. Strong progress has been made to reduce underage access and use:

  • Nationwide, cigarette smoking among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders has declined from a peak of 28% in 1997 to a record low 7% in 2015.
  • In Illinois, tobacco use among 12 to 17-year-olds has declined from almost 13% in 2007 to less than 7% in 2014.

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COGFA: Gaming revenues up in Illinois 

Thursday, February 11, 2016 5:42:00 PM

 Gaming revenue in Illinois is up, but video gaming terminals in your neighborhood bar are taking away from the state’s riverboats, according to the latest monthly report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

One of the largest sections of the January report from COGFA focuses on gaming revenue for Illinois. Dan Long, executive director of COGFA, says the state is nearing full implementation of video gaming and gaming revenues are up, but there’s a twist.

“The taxes from gaming are going up but it is shifting. It is clear that the video gaming is taking revenue away from the river boats but overall adding to the total taxes collected by the state.

Long says riverboats can have 1,200 gaming positions but when adding 22,000 extra positions through other video gaming it impacts boat operations in places like Alton, Peoria and elsewhere. Regardless, COGFA says the added gaming positions has increased gaming revenue over $64 million from 2014 to 2015.

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