2018 Legislation Round Up

Since 2018 has started our government has shutdown twice, new tax laws have taken effect, and a new government budget has finally been approved.  With so many new rules being considered regularly, it’s important that c-store owners stay aware of what the government is up to and how any laws could affect their business.

  • SNAP
    • The government budget has always been a topic of a lot of debate, especially in regards to SNAP funding.  This year, the government has shut down twice due to disagreements about the budget and retailers were left wondering what it could mean for SNAP cardholders AND retailers.  Luckily, congress came to an agreement and the program is funded.
    • President Trump proposed that SNAP be turned into a program that would deliver boxes of food to the current cardholders.  The administration predicts that this new program could save the government billions of dollars a year.
    • New SNAP retailer stocking rules took effect this year, changing the application and approval process.  Convenience industry advocates and allies are hard at work helping retailers maintain eligibility and convincing officials to reconsider further limitations.
  • Tobacco
    • In January, San Antonio became the first city in Texas to raise the legal tobacco purchasing age to 21.  The new law is scheduled to take effect October 1st.
    • Both the Senate and the House of Representatives Public Health Committees in Illinois have voted in favor of increasing their legal tobacco purchasing age.  Now, the issue will be discussed in the respective floors.
    • An educational campaign in Connecticut has been launched to encourage more conversation about the impact of tobacco use among young people.
    • The city council in Mankato, Minnesota rejected a measure to raise legal tobacco purchase age to 21.
  • Menu Labeling
    • In February, the House of Representatives approved the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act which eases the previously approved rule that required c-stores and other food service businesses to post all nutrition facts on menus.  The new rule allows business owners to display calorie ranges or averages, or post them on websites instead of in the store.  Find more info about what to expect from the new regulation here.
  • iQOS Labeling
    • In January, a committee advising the FDA denied Phillip Morris’ request to label their new “heat not burn” cigarette alternative as less harmful.
  • Junk Food Tax
    • A new study recommends that taxing manufacturers of sugary junk foods could help change America’s eating habits.  This extra cost would likely be passed down to food retailers, and finally the consumer. Experts say this type of tax is far from being real, but retailers should be aware of the likelihood.