NACS Day on Capitol Hill: Lobbying for Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There certainly wasn't a lack of topics to discuss during NACS’ Government Relations Conference and Day on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

A change to The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (HR1249/S1756) was the main thing addressed by the retailers lobbying on behalf of NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing. Convenience Store News was invited to join the Indiana delegation, which included executives from Ricker Oil Co. and Family Express Corp.

During meetings, lawmakers were asked to co-sign and/or support a revision to HR1249. Currently, the rule -- proposed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- requires that food nutrition labels accompany all items in any retail location where 50 percent of the floor space is comprised of food. If the proposed law is not changed, most convenience store retailers would be required to post nutritional information labels next to places such as roller grills, doughnuts, muffins and all other fresh foods.

This requirement would simply be too burdensome for c-stores, the retailer lobbyists argued during Wednesday's event. Instead, NACS is advocating that the rule be changed to apply only to retail locations where 50 percent of a retailer’s revenue comes from food, which would reduce the burden on c-stores dramatically.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act already has the support of several legislators representing both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Two other critical topics discussed during all of the meetings CSNews sat in on –- with six Indiana Congressional representatives, as well as U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) – were data security and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The lawmakers, though, were not encouraged to take any action because no bills are currently in place.

Data security has come to the forefront following data breaches at several retailers including Target Corp. and the Neiman Marcus Group. Unlike most other developed countries, the United States does not have Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards. Although experts agree that EMV will not prevent every data breach, most agree it's a step in the right direction. Hence, retailers lobbying on behalf of NACS advocated for preventative measures and response measures, PIN authentication and end-to-end encryption on all credit card transactions, as well as supporting an organization to develop next-generation security requirements.

As for the RFS, retailer lobbyists at the Day on Capitol Hill stressed that NACS is "fuel agnostic," meaning the trade group takes no opinion regarding traditional petroleum vs. alternative fuels. However, NACS does oppose the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) right to announce new fuel-blending requirements under the RFS on an annual basis. Retailers argued that it is simply too difficult to adjust to new blending requirements every year. Instead, NACS encourages politicians to urge the EPA to make blending requirement decisions once every five years.

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