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87th Texas Legislative Session Priorities

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) supports a business-friendly regulatory environment. TRA member companies are regulated, licensed, inspected, and taxed by agencies in Texas and appreciate the Legislature’s efforts to continue to make Texas retail friendly. TRA supports regulation that is reasonable and allows our members to continue to provide excellent customer service, top quality products and continued business success in the retail industry. Our members take various approaches to provide these services, and TRA supports their efforts to make those choices independently without unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed by either the state or local governments. 

Additionally, TRA’s members are playing a key role to help our state and local communities deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we continue to provide those essential services today. We are keeping our customers and employees healthy and safe, and have been leaders in implementing protocols, procedures, and technology to ensure safe shopping environments. TRA supports the state’s actions during the pandemic and appreciates the broad impact and guidance given by our elected officials during this time.

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COVID-19 Latest News 1/11/2021

STATEWIDE – COVID-19 RESPONSE: COVID-19 Vaccination Hubs – On January 11th , Governor Greg Abbott toured the Tarrant County large vaccine hub at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center in Arlington and then held a press conference. He gave some statistics (as of January 11, 2021): 

1,580,400 vaccines have been shipped to providers in Texas
802,507 first doses have been administered
83,538 second doses have been administered
777,897 doses have either not been reported or are waiting to be administered

An additional 487,500 doses have been provided to CVS and Walgreens for administration at nursing home and long-term care facilities
75,312 of those have been administered
412,188 are either not yet reported or waiting to be administered

The combined numbers show 2,067,900 doses have been provided in the state
877,815 have been administered
158,825 doses are being shipped this week to the hubs, and just over 38,000 doses will go to 206 additional providers across the state, including several in rural counties that until recently had not received allotments.

Additional SNAP funding effective Jan 19

The Texas Health and Human Services agency announced additional funding for SNAP participants effective Jan. 19.  A 15% increase in SNAP benefits was a part of the recent COVID relief legislation passed by Congress.  The 15% is on top of the additional action of taking the SNAP funds to the maximum for family size.  The additional 15% will be added to Lone Star Cards between Jan. 19 and Jan. 22 depending on the County.  SNAP retailers will see increased business on the Lone Star Card. It is estimated the additional funds will be around $10 million.  In February, the additional 15% will continue but the distribution dates will be back to normal.

NRF Issues Statement about Riots in the Nation's Capital

WASHINGTON, January 6, 2021 – The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay regarding the attacks on the U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

“This is a sad and distressing day for our country. For more than two centuries we have prided ourselves as Americans on our democratic principles, our nation of laws and the unique experience of peaceful transfers of power from one administration to the next, regardless of party affiliation.

“Our retailers, the millions of associates they employ and the communities they serve across the country want and need our elected officials to focus on the priorities that ensure faith in our government through stability. Today’s riots are repugnant and fly in the face of the most basic tenets of our constitution, and the Administration must move quickly to provide the leadership that will end this affront to our democracy.”

Courtesy of National Retail Federation 

TRA Statement Regarding Events at US Capital

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) rebukes the attack on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC this afternoon. This type of violence and destruction is unacceptable, regardless of the motivations. TRA members value the First Amendment right we have as Americans to petition our government, and we have enjoyed those opportunities to represent our association and industry in both Washington, DC and here in Austin. Unfortunately, today’s actions by a mob which crossed the line from their right to peaceably assemble to outright threats to public safety and destruction of property, will likely impact how lawfully abiding Americans engage with their government going forward. TRA stands with our national partner organizations in their respective statements below, regarding today’s events. Tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with members of Congress and their staffs, along with law enforcement protecting the Capitol, for their on-going safety and well-being.

Message from NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara

NGA members: In my fifteen years working for NGA, I've encountered quite a few crazy events at the US Capitol. I've had to shelter in place inside the complex during a police shooting, narrowly avoided a landing by a crazy man in a small airplane on the west front lawn of the Capitol, and have navigated thousands of protesters exercising their First Amendment right. I have never seen anything like the events that are taking place at our Capitol building today. 

To see protesters, some armed, storm the chambers of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives, should send chills down the spines of all Americans. These actions threaten our democracy. Part of what makes this country great is even with all of the security threats that America faces, we are still able to petition our elected officials face to face at the Capitol. 

I'm afraid today's actions may make that more difficult in the future and that is a loss for all of us. In a non-pandemic world NGA's government relations staff would likely have been on Capitol Hill, representing your interest, so I'm glad, for once, that COVID has kept our staff safe. I hope you will join me in saying a prayer for our nation this evening that we can tone down the rhetoric and come together as Americans. 

Tomorrow will be a better day in this wonderful country that we are blessed to call home. 



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RILA Statement on Capitol Protests

Washington, DC - RILA President Brian Dodge issued the following statement in response to today's events: 

The events at the US Capitol today were nothing less than an attack on our democracy. At a time when our elected officials were meant to perform a routine yet powerfully symbolic function of the peaceful transfer of power, they were met with a violent mob, incited by the President of the United States and his agents.

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Federal Adjustments to Civil Money Penalties

Dear WIC Vendor Community,

Recent changes to the Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Inflation Adjustment for 2020 have resulted in an increase to CMPs for the Texas WIC Program.

Effective January 1, 2021, state policy WV: 1.0 will reflect the increased maximum CMP amounts the state agency will collect from a vendor in lieu of disqualification.

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Texas WIC approves new cereals

Dear Texas WIC Vendor Community,

The Texas WIC program is pleased to announce four new breakfast cereals will be available for WIC participants to purchase, beginning January 4, 2021.

 

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HEB Now Accepting SNAP EBT for Curbside

H-E-B is now accepting SNAP EBT payments for its Curbside and Home Delivery orders directly on the My H-E-B mobile app and heb.com. At all H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery locations, customers can now use SNAP EBT to digitally pay for their orders for pick-up at the store or delivery to their homes.

To use the service, customers must create an account on the My H-E-B app or heb.com. During sign up, they will enter their SNAP EBT and other payment info. Once registration is complete, they can place an order and simply choose SNAP EBT during check out where they also will be required to enter their PIN. A credit, debit or gift card will need to be used to pay for items and fees not SNAP EBT eligible.

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Vaccinations are on the way for Texas Front Line

Four Texas sites received a total of 19,500 doses of the vaccine on Monday, the first phase of a rollout that will put a quarter-million doses into 110 Texas facilities this week — with more on the way next week.

First, a pinch in the arm.

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BGC Pharmacies to Offer Free COVID-19 Vaccines When Approved

Brookshire Grocery Co., in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is actively preparing for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines once approved and available for distribution.

As allocated by state officials, Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods pharmacies will administer the vaccines to the public to support the goal of keeping our communities safe by offering this vaccine at no cost to the patient. Providing this free service will help maximize efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

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El Paso COVID-19 Shutdown Should Be Overturned: George Kelemen

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck Texas earlier this year, it required a great deal of flexibility from us all.

Many quickly moved their lives online while health experts rushed to learn more about the virus and government officials worked to find solutions for preventing widespread outbreaks. In many areas, that process involved complete shutdowns to contain the Coronavirus until public health officials had a better grasp on what we can each do to play our part in flattening the curve.

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Tom Thumb Opens Deep Ellum Location

The very first customers poured into the store at 6am on Friday, November 6th.

(Dallas, TX) November 6th, 2020 — The shelves are stocked, Starbucks coffee is brewed, delicious baked goods are ready to taste, and the last apple has been tucked into place. Tom Thumb, DFWs grocer since 1948, has opened its newest location in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas! The store is located at 2727 Live Oak St, Dallas, TX.

The 56,000 square-foot store is designed to delight and engage today’s shoppers in an urban setting. The store is tailored to the Deep Ellum customer and has so much to offer that shoppers will be delighted every time they visit! The store team, just over 300 associates, are ready to serve customers with the incredible customer service Tom Thumb is known for.

“Tom Thumb is proud to continue to serve North Texas with our newest store in Dallas and we are excited to be part of Deep Ellum,” said Wayne Denningham, President of Albertsons Companies Southern Division, which includes Tom Thumb. “Customers will find the new store has a wealth of amenities, as well as the value, quality, convenience, and excellence in customer service that is synonymous with Tom Thumb,” Denningham said.

Tom Thumb has always prioritized community connection in every neighborhood they serve and Deep Ellum is no exception. The Tom Thumb Foundation has donated $10,000.00 to the Baylor Scott and White Employee 1st Emergency Fund which directly benefits front line medical workers in need of help due to COVID-19. From one Front Line to another, we are proud to help our Baylor Medical Center Neighbors.

Tom Thumb is proud to share THIS VIDEO “SNEAK PEAK” footage highlighting some of the amenities offered throughout the store: 

Click here to read full PRESS RELEASE

Texas WIC Policy Revisions

Policy Revisions/Summary of Changes for WV: 03.0, 05.0, & 08.0

Dear WIC Vendor Community,

Texas WIC has revised the following vendor policies effective on November 1, 2020:

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NRF Congressional Fly-Ins - Virtual Town Hall Recap

As NRF reimagined its annual Retail Advocates Summit this year, the theme was “Agility in a Time of Crisis.”

But the first agility that needed to be demonstrated was how to bring more than 200 small retailers and state retail association executives together with members of Congress at a time when a global pandemic makes a trip to Washington impractical, if not impossible.

In response, NRF has turned the in-person fly-in into a series of virtual mini-conferences that still let retailers and lawmakers meet “face-to-face” — even if the faces are on computer monitors and the conversations take place over Webex.

“I’m glad if we couldn’t go to D.C., D.C. could still come to us and we could still participate in this event and make it really worthwhile,” Texas Retailers Association President and CEO George Kelemen said.

NRF held the first virtual Retail Advocates Town Hall on September 22 as a joint session for retailers from Texas and Oklahoma. Similar to the traditional in-person Retail Advocates Summit, NRF lobbyists briefed retailers on key issues facing the industry in Washington, and lawmakers were questioned on their positions on issues important to retailers. A similar event was held this week for Ohio retailers and additional sessions are scheduled this month for Florida and Washington state.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agreed that additional assistance is needed for businesses trying to survive the economic impact of the pandemic.







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TRA Board Transition 2020-2022

As you know, Luke Gustafson with the Brookshire Brothers company, has ably served as TRA’s Board Chairman for the past two years, however his term as chair came to an end on August 31st. We thank Luke for his service to TRA as our Board Chair and appreciate his leadership and contributions to TRA’s success. On September 1st, Theresa Flores with the Mary Kay company, began her two-year term as TRA’s Board Chair. Theresa brings a strong commitment to TRA, as well as years of service on the TRA Board; we look forward to working with her as our Board Chair over the next two years.

Transition of TRA Chairmanship



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Governor Abbot Expands Capacity of Certain Services in Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.

In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

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TRA Election Endorsements

The Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Retailers Association PAC (TRAPAC) endorse the following members of the Texas Legislature for election in the 2020 general election. TRA/ TRAPAC endorsements are based on professional connection to the retail industry (retailers, vendors, supply chain, etc..), support for the retail industry through legislative votes on issues of importance to Texas retailers, and sponsoring of and/ or championing of legislation important to Texas retailers. Click here for full list.

The Pandemic Has Changed the Way We Shop at Grocery Stores

Grocery stores have really experienced a year like no other.

Stay at home orders put a lot of pressure on the supply chain and the pandemic has formed some new buying habits in shoppers that might be around to stay.

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