Texas Retailers Association - August 2021 Newsletter

This Month's Organization Update

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Greetings Texas Retailers:

They don’t call them the dog days of summer for nothing. It has certainly been an interesting last few weeks here in Texas. I hope you are all continuing to have a very nice summer while staying safe and healthy and preparing for Back to School. The TRA team has continued to stay busy on your behalf. Specifically, in monitoring the first called Special Session of the Texas Legislature early in July, to now the second called Special Session, which began on August 7th. Additionally, we are finalizing preparations for our Texas Retailers Forum -- which is back and in person on Tuesday, October 26th at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort. More details and highlights in this month’s edition of the TRA newsletter.

As we reported in the July TRA newsletter, in late June, Governor Abbott announced that he would be calling the Legislature back for a special session to begin on July 8th, to deal with “unfinished business.” This primarily centers around SB7 (elections bill) from the regular session, which stalled when a quorum ceased to be present in the Texas House on the last day on which bills could be finally passed by the House. The first special session opened on July 8th and two days in, the majority of House Democrats left the state as a group to Washington, DC, where most of them have remained. The result was that a House quorum has not been established since and therefore no legislation has passed the House. The first special session ended on August 6th and Governor Abbott called for the second special session to begin on August 7th. The second special session has now begun; however, there remains no quorum in the Texas House.

One positive development for TRA in the second special session is that the Governor included statewide preemption of wage and labor ordinances (SB 14 from the regular session) on the agenda. In fact, the Texas Senate has already passed SB14 during the second special session. We are definitely very pleased by this development and are hopeful that a quorum can occur in the Texas House during the second special session, which will facilitate final passage of SB 14. As always, TRA plans to actively monitor the proceedings of the second Special Session, as well as continue to schedule weekly Tax & Lege Committee calls (Thursdays at 2pm CT) throughout the Special Session. Check out the state issues update section of the newsletter for details regarding the Special Session of the Texas Legislature.

Registration and hotel booking are now OPEN for the 2021 Texas Retailers Forum, which will take place on Tuesday, October 26th, at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, just east of Austin. The TRA team is finalizing the Forum program. This year’s Forum will be a great one as we get back together in person, and it will feature great industry speakers and presenters, as well as other experts who will cover a variety of timely issues for Texas retailers. We look forward to seeing everyone at the TRA Forum in October, so be sure to register and book your hotel room TODAY!

As always, thank you for your continued support of TRA, and please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the TRA staff team at any time.

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George Kelemen
President/CEO
Texas Retailers Association

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Legislative Update - Special Session Alert

The 2nd Special Session of the Texas Legislature began on August 7th with a total of 17 topics identified by the Governor for consideration. This consisted of the 11 issues from the previous Special Session call and an addition 6 that are new. You can find a the Governor’s announcement and proclamation HERE.

 

Most significant for TRA’s members, Governor Abbott added one of TRA’s priority issues (local employment practices) to the call. As you know, SB14 from the regular session failed to pass in the final days of session but now has another chance to finally become law.  Following the Governor’s announcement, the Texas Senate began immediately passing many of the bills designed to fulfill the Governor’s call, including SB14 (employment practices legislation from the regular session) .

 

Meanwhile, in the Texas House of Representatives the quorum break being forged by many Democratic members over the election integrity legislation continues to prevent that chamber from being able to conduct business or pass any legislation...

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Texas Retailers Forum

TRA’s Retailers Forum is back! It's a great opportunity to provide our members and the Texas retail industry with a showcase event that includes valuable speakers, useful and informational tracks and sessions and quality networking opportunities and recognition for industry excellence. We are also pleased to be supporting the value of retail careers and education through the work off our education foundation, the Texas Retailers Education Foundation. We look forward to hosting retail representatives from across the state, get a good grasp on the issues that affect the industry and provide something valuable to you!

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Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa - Room Block deadline 9/24!

Will you be joining us for the In-person Texas Retailers Forum this October? Well book your room now at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa, we look forward to seeing you there!

 
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TRAPAC is in need of your support!

One of the most important actions you can take to help influence the policy making in Austin is to invest in TRAPAC or RAF, TRA’s political accounts. TRAPAC and RAF help amplify your voice at the Texas Capitol, protecting your business and our industry from legislation and regulation that could harm your bottom line. TRAPAC Support goes to: Reducing and ELIMINATING TAX BURDENS like inventory tax on property Fighting the one size fits all WAGE & LABOR ORDINANCES Fighting PAID SICK LEAVE and PREDICTIVE SCHEDULING PUSHING BACK AGAINST other anti-business regulatory burdens.  Without your support, TRA will not be making the necessary contributions this upcoming elections. Please consider making a PAC contribution via personal money or PAC to PAC.

 
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Grocery Industry Update

P-EBT SNAP benefits continue to be a hot topic for our grocers.  A total of over $3.8 billion has been loaded to Lone Star Cards.  About 73% has been spent in grocery stores but SNAP customers still have about $1 billion left on their Lone Star Card.

 

In addition to the P-EBT benefits, the USDA Food & Nutrition Services has approved for the Texas SNAP to increase the normal SNAP benefit to the maximum for family size for Aug.  These additional benefits began loading on to Lone Star Cards Aug. 10 – Aug 13.

 

Lastly the State SNAP agency has requested Summer P-EBT benefits.  If approved, the funds would be loaded onto Lone Star Cards late September.

 

Recently the WIC agency held a webinar to share important information on the WIC program.  The Webinar dealt with the following:

The waivers remain in place for substitutions due to increased volume and supply chain challenges.

The additional $35.00 benefit for fruits and vegetables continues for all WIC participants age 1 and up.  This includes frozen, canned, glass and plastic as well as fresh produce.  As a result of some customer satisfaction surveys, feedback indicates some issues with fresh produce being identified as not eligible using the MY TEXAS WIC app.  Retailers are asked to verify their files of UPC’s, PLU’s and mapping in produce.

 

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New Foods Become Eligible Oct. 1, 2021

The minimum stocking requirements are still in place and store monitoring will begin in September, retailers are asked to look at their food permits.  These permits must be up to date in order for the WIC renewals to be processed.
 

A group of 12 TRA members who have stores within the City of Dallas, met with Chief of Police, Garcia  to discuss organized retail crime.  Chief Garcia agreed to consider a small ORC task force from several Cities in Dallas County.  This proposed task force would work with retailers to arrest criminals stealing large amounts of product and then selling on various sites..

 

Shelby Report Article: What Grocers Need to Know about OSHA and COVID Policies

By Jim Dudlicek/ NGA director of communications and external affairs

 

Though expected to be more sweeping, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recent emergency standard for COVID workplace safety is directed only at healthcare workers. But that doesn’t mean grocery stores should be letting their guard down.

To be sure, consumers are coming out of the pandemic with an enhanced awareness of and demand for safety in retail environments. NGA recently hosted a webinar, presented by Eric Conn, founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey and chair of the law firm’s national OSHA Workplace Safety Practice Group, to advise grocers on what they need to know, what policies they should have in place regarding masking and vaccinations, and answer questions about compliance.

 
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Gensa Group

Are you feeling overwhelmed with your data? Are you questioning the reliability of your data? Excel and google sheets just aren’t enough for your needs? Have an abundance of reports or systems that don’t communicate?

We know these pains. And there’s nothing worse than having bad data, systems or programs as roadblocks, and having to wrangle your data. We rely on data to make smarter decisions.

We have decades of experience in resolving data issues and data analysis. We offer services in:

• data preparation, cleansing and matching

• data analytics using machine learning and artificial intelligence

• data warehouse consulting

• Training in business intelligence

• Data dashboards

• Data storytelling

• Software licensing

 
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Media Payments Group

Media Payments Group provides safe, secure, and dependable payment processing, as well as cost-effective point of sale (POS) solutions that help you run and manage your everyday business functions efficiently. The increased popularity of the virtual world has caused a greater need for credit card payment processing services and point of sale solutions . But when it comes to choosing the right provider, here’s what sets us apart from the rest:

Transparent pricing custom designed to save you money
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Online portal to track transaction history, batch totals, etc.
Next-day funding available if batch closed by 10pm CST

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Read More

Max Linden | VP of Business Development

O: 844-MPGTALK | C: 713-855-9336

[email protected]

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Exclusive Benefits for TRA Members

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) has been working to help solve a problem affecting our members and every business in the US—access to affordable healthcare. COVID-19 has made that need more apparent than ever.

We are proud to bring you TRA Healthcare Solutions, available at the TRA Benefits Center website. With this solution, we can finally provide our members with access to high-quality, cost-effective health solutions that are flexible enough to meet your specific needs.

 

We fought to make sure that you would have access to medical, dental and vision plans from national carriers, but we didn’t stop there. This program will also provide access to cloud-based HR services, comprehensive business insurance, and new features to respond to COVID-19 like affordable telemedicine and virtual doctor visits.

 

Be on the lookout for more information from the TRA Benefits Center highlighting the benefits exclusive to TRA members. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to support your employees.

Member Benefits Center Info | Recruiter Benefit Info

David J. Hebert, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 713.276.8012
Cell: 281.606.2247
[email protected]

 

Christina Scott, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 572.379.2698
Cell: 512.497.4626
[email protected]om

 

 
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Is your organization personable?

No matter how long an organization has been in business, having a personable culture, along with a great benefits package, is what sets them apart.  Organizations that succeed in making their mission personal to employees see performance that sets them apart.  

 

Research shows that a 10% improvement in employees' connection with the mission or purpose of their organization leads to an 8.1% decrease in turnover and a 4.4% increase in profitability*.  It's the personal connection that inspires employees to consistently deliver their best.

 

Southwest Financial is here to help you make it personal.  Show your team how much you value them by offering a banking relationship…nothing is more personal than finances.  This is a great way to strengthen your benefits package, at no cost!  

 

Southwest Financial works directly with your team to help them achieve their financial goals.  From saving for a rainy day to preparing to buy a house and everything in between, we can help!  

Contact Venoka Daniels at [email protected] or 214.580.9930 to begin your financial partnership.

*Gallup Workplace article May 2021, “To Get Your People’s Best Performance, Start With Purpose”

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Lifelock - Do not be a victim of identity theft!

As a member, you receive 10% off LifeLock services and you can live freely knowing that LifeLock is searching over a trillion data points every minute of every day looking for potential threats to your identity. When LifeLock finds your personal information being used, they will alert you through their patented Identity Alert System.Click hereto sign up today!

 
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Amerex - Your Energy Solutions partner!

A TRA-endorsed service provider since 2002, Amerex is the largest OTC (wholesale) natural gas, electricity and emissions trader in North America. Their real-time involvement in the wholesale energy market and their customized service has consistently yielded significant cost savings to TRA members. Save on your gas, or electricity!

 

Contact: Phyllis Anzalone

(281) 340-5273 (o)

(713) 705-0006 (c)

 
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Contact Info:

Texas Retailers Association

13706 Research Blvd

512.472.8261

[email protected]