MFA NEWS SCAN MAY 4, 2015

MFA NEWS SCAN MAY 4, 2015


- Monday, May 11, 2015



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MA HOUSE FINISHES DEBATE ON FY ’16 BUDGET

Last week on Wednesday, April 29 the MA House of Representatives wrapped up its deliberations on the House version of the state’s fiscal 2016 state budget.  Over 1,000 amendments were debated, most of which were combined with others (bundled) into “consolidated amendments” and rejected from their $38 billion budget.  They began with a spending plan about 2.8% larger than last year’s fiscal budget, a significantly slower rate of growth experienced in recent past years.  They added more than $13 million to the budget Wednesday to fund local economic development projects and workforce training programs with no new taxes.  Action on some of the more relevant amendments include:

·       An amendment delaying the July 1 implementation date of the earned sick time law approved by voters last November was rejected;

·       A proposal to reduce the state's 6.25 percent sales tax to 5% was rejected;

·       A proposal to create a permanent meals tax holiday on March 22 – 27 was rejected;

·       A proposal that sought to close “loopholes” which allow corporate earnings from companies operating in Massachusetts that may be held in offshore accounts was withdrawn.

The Senate will now create their version of the state’s fiscal budget upon receiving the House version.

 

FEDERAL LEGISLATION INTRODUCED ON MENU LABELING

According to the Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Association, on Tuesday, April 28 legislation was introduced entitled the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017) to address FDA’s final menu labeling regulations that are scheduled to be effective December 1, 2015.  The bill would exclude supermarkets from the menu labeling regulations.  As written the regulations will affect supermarkets with twenty or more locations operating under the same banner and offering for sale similar menu items.  Both FMI and NGA have created action alerts for members to register their support for the legislation.  For FMI’s alert, click here, for NGA’s alert, click here.

 

VERMONT GMO LABELING MOVES FORWARD

On April 27 a judge presiding over the lawsuit challenging Vermont’s GMO labeling law denied the challenger’s motion to halt implementation of the regulations.  The ruling will likely be appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  The regulations are scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2016.  To read more click here.

 

LOCAL ISSUES -

Northampton plastic bag ban – The Northampton City Council has delayed a vote on banning plastic bags.  The council was supposed to take a final vote at their meeting Thursday night May 7, but the proposal was put on hold until the next meeting on May 21 because three members were absent.  To read more visit: Northampton council still considering ban on plastic bags.

 

Lee/Lenox plastic bag bans and polystyrene bans – Next Thursday May 14 Town Representatives of the town of Lenox will vote on Article 49, a proposal to ban plastic bags and Article 50, a proposal to ban polystyrene.  To view the articles click here.  Lenox has proposed similar measures, which were tabled at their May 7 Town meeting and may be revisited in a future Town Meeting.  To view Article 24 on plastic bags and Article 50 on a polystyrene ban click here.  These measures in the Berkshires are supported by the citizens group Berkshire Green.

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MFA NEWS SCAN MAY 4, 2015


- Monday, May 11, 2015



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