• PMAA Weekly Review

  • PMAA Weekly Review

     
       
     
    January 17, 2020 [WR-20-03]
    Sponsored by Federated Insurance
    who generously supports PMAA’s work in our Nation’s Capital
     

    Quick Links to Articles for January 17, 2020

     
    IRS Issues Guidance on Claim Process for Retroactive Biodiesel Blender Credit

    Missouri and Alabama Have Already Met (and Exceeded) Their 2020 PAC Goals!

    Department of Energy Rule Gives Deference to Industry Energy Efficiency Standards

    Update on Major Retirement Plan Changes

    Final Joint Employer Rule is Released

    FDA Issues Another Statement on Tobacco 21

    GAO to Investigate Trump Administration’s Use of Biofuel Waivers

    Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Committee

    House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Cannabis

    Federated Insurance: Risk Management Corner

    Have You Considered Marketing Your Product or Service in PMAA Online Buyers' Guide in 2020?

    Federated Insurance Risk Management AcademySM Offered April 21-23, 2020

    PMAA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: Laborchex

     
    Articles for January 17, 2020
     
    IRS Issues Guidance on Claim Process for Retroactive Biodiesel Blender Credit

    The IRS has issued special one-time claim procedure (IRS Notice 2020-8) for the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel blender credit, the 50 cents per gallon alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixture credits. The credits were reinstated retroactively for calendar years 2018 and 2019 under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 (the Act). 

    The special procedures allow for one-time credits and payments covering the entire 2018 and 2019 claim period. Congress reauthorized the retroactive biodiesel blenders credit through December 31, 2022 and alternative fuel and the alternative fuel mixture credits through December 31, 2020. 

    Click here to view the complete Compliance Bulletin.

    Missouri and Alabama Have Already Met (and Exceeded) Their 2020 PAC Goals!

    For more than 18 years in a row, the Missouri Petroleum & Convenience Store (MPCA) has exceeded, and, for the past 13 years, more than doubled their annual PMAA SBC PAC goal. Furthermore, for the third consecutive year, the Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama (P&CMA) has met, and exceeded, their annual goal in the month of January.

    Since 2008 MPCA has more than doubled their goal as follows: 

    • 2008: MPCA raised $8,200, or 202% of our annual goal.

    • 2009: MPCA raised $8,738, or 226% of our annual goal.

    • 2010: MPCA raised $9,337, or 252% of our annual goal.

    • 2011: MPCA raised $9,850, or 280% of our annual goal.

    • 2012: MPCA raised $11,320, or 338% of our annual goal.

    • 2013: MPCA raised $11,650, or 320% of our annual goal.

    • 2014: MPCA raised $11,250, or 304% of our annual goal. 

    • 2015: MPCA raised $11,275, or 295% of our annual goal.

    • 2016: MPCA raised $11,450, or 228% of our annual goal (annual goals increased to 21.23% of annual PMAA dues).

    • 2017: MPCA raised $12,200, or 251% of our annual goal.

    • 2018: MPCA raised $10,450, or 207% of our annual goal.

    • 2019: MPCA raised $11,650, or 244% of our annual goal.

    • 2020: MPCA raised $11,850, or 248% of our annual goal.. 

    The total that MPCA has raised and donated for the PMAA SBC PAC just from 2008 - 2020 = $139,220!

    PMAA SBC PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher thank all MPCA members, in particular MPCA Board member and Past President Wayne Baker, Warrenton Oil Company, and MPCA executive director Ron Leone for their dedication to the PMAA PAC. The PMAA PAC Co-Chairs also send a huge thanks to P&CMA members and President Bart Fletcher for their dedication and their appreciation for the importance of the PMAA PAC.

    Alabama’s goal for 2020 was $6,502, and with $10,451 raised, they have already achieved 161% of their goal for this year!

    Outstanding job Wayne, Ron and Bart - you lead the way and set the bar high for the rest of us! IfBrad or Tim can be of any assistance in helping you raise PAC dollars for PMAA, please email them. 

    PMAA SBC PAC is funded by voluntary personal contributions from marketers across the country. PMAA regularly reports the activities of the PAC (as required by law) to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and information about that activity is available to the public. Personal contributions are limited to individuals who are members of a PMAA Member Association. Contributions to the SBC PAC are not tax deductible.

    Department of Energy Rule Gives Deference to Industry Energy Efficiency Standards

    The Department of Energy is updating and modernizing aspects of its current rulemaking method for considering new or revised energy conservation standards for consumer products and commercial appliances, including heating and cooling equipment. The final rulemaking clarifies the process DOE will follow with respect to setting new efficiency standards; makes specific rulemaking procedures binding on the DOE; and revises certain rulemaking provisions to bring consistency to existing statutory energy efficiency requirements. 

    The rulemaking is important to heating fuel dealers because it establishes a process where the DOE will give more deference to consumer and efficiency standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioner Engineers (ASHRAE) and only propose more stringent energy standards when there is clear and convincing evidence that is technologically feasible, economically justified and will result in significant energy savings. Deference to industry standards for energy efficiency is important because in the past when DOE has exceeded ASHRAE standards, it often imposed disproportionate harm to industry segments in pursuit of inconsequential energy efficiency benefits.

    Update on Major Retirement Plan Changes

    The SECURE Act, enacted into law on December 20, 2019, changed several retirement plan provisions, but will also have a significant impact on estate planning for those who have saved meaningful amounts for their retirement. Click here to read the Small Business Legislative Counsel’s (SBLC) regulatory report. 

    Final Joint Employer Rule is Released

    On Sunday, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule to revise and update its regulations interpreting joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule provides updated guidance for determining joint employer status when an employee performs work for his or her employer that simultaneously benefits another individual or entity, including guidance on factors that are not relevant when determining joint employer status. The effective date of the final rule is March 16, 2020.

    As expected, DOL's rule established a "high bar" for joint-employment under the FLSA, which is supported by PMAA and is an important shift away from Obama-era policy. 

    The final rule: 

    • Specifies that when an employee performs work for the employer that simultaneously benefits another person, that person will be considered a joint employer when that person is acting directly or indirectly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee; 

    • Provides a four-factor test to determine when a person is acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to the employee, by weighing whether the business, with regard to its franchisee or contractor, maintains the power to hire and fire; to supervise schedules and “conditions of employment;” to set pay; and to keep employment records; 

    • Clarifies that an employee’s “economic dependence” on a potential joint employer does not determine whether it is a joint employer under the FLSA; and specifies that an employer’s franchisor, brand and supply, or similar business model and certain contractual agreements or business practices do not make joint employer status under the FLSA more or less likely.

    The final rule also provides several examples applying the Department’s guidance for determining FLSA joint employer status in a variety of different factual situations. The rule was published yesterday in the Federal Register. Click here for more information. 

    Labor groups are expected to file suits against the final joint employer rule.

    FDA Issues Another Statement on Tobacco 21

    On Wednesday afternoon, the FDA issued another statement regarding implementation of the new tobacco 21 law. Click here to read the statement. 

    PMAA and other retail associations are asking FDA for further clarification to effectively make the transition to tobacco 21. In the meantime, PMAA advises that all retailers make every effort to comply immediately with the tobacco 21 law. 

    GAO to Investigate Trump Administration’s Use of Biofuel Waivers

    This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that it will soon begin an investigation of the Trump Administration’s granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs) to the RFS. The investigation comes in response to a letter from several midwestern lawmakers that called for the agency to investigate the EPA’s approval of SREs in 2018. 

    In part, the letter states, "Between 2013 and 2015, the EPA granted no more than 8 waivers for any given year. The current Administration retroactively approved 19 waivers for 2016, then proceeded to grant 35 waivers in 2017, and now 31 waivers for 2018—exempting a total of nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel from the RFS. The number of waivers approved has grown exponentially with major corporations like ExxonMobil and Chevron among those that received these economic hardship exemptions. This raises real questions about the review process and what other factors that the EPA is considering in approving the waivers." 

    In December, the EPA issued its annual renewable fuel blending volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 as required under the RFS program. The rule stated that the EPA will not recapture and reassign actual renewable blending volumes lost to SREs in any given year. Instead, the EPA will project an estimated displaced volume based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SRE recommendations averaged over the previous three years. However, renewable fuel producers opposed the EPA formula because they believe it will result in far fewer recaptured gallons than actually displaced by SREs.

    In comments to the EPA, PMAA said that it has no position on SREs, however, PMAA opposes any reallocation of displaced gasoline volumes lost to SREs if it would result in a total corn ethanol RVO greater than 9.7 percent of projected customer demand as determined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). PMAA believes reallocating displaced ethanol volumes would likely create undue speculation and disruption to retail motor fuels markets. 

    Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Committee

    On Tuesday, the Committee on Education and Labor passed (29-17) approved “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” (H.R. 2694). The legislation guarantees pregnant workers’ right to reasonable accommodations; extra bathroom breaks, relief from heavy lifting, and other minor job modifications that ensure they can continue working without jeopardizing their health or the health of their pregnancy.

    The bill is being led by three Democrats; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Chair Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) – and two Republicans, Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Rep. John Katko (NY-24). The Chamber of Commerce also supports the legislation. 

    In 2015, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Young v. UPS allowed pregnant workers to bring reasonable accommodation discrimination claims under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). But the Young decision set a high standard for proving discrimination. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require that businesses that employ more than 15 people provide "reasonable accommodation" to pregnant workers, allowing them to continue working throughout pregnancy and after childbirth. It forbids retaliation against pregnant workers for requesting such accommodation and would bar employers from denying workers opportunities based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions (postpartum depression). 

    House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Cannabis

    On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.” The purpose of the hearing was to examine federal policies on marijuana and discuss six bills involving laws on marijuana. 

    The six bills propose various policy changes from rescheduling or de-scheduling marijuana, to providing a safe harbor for patients and veterans who use medical marijuana and streamlining cannabis research processes. Policies on cannabidiol, commonly known as “CBD,” were also discussed.

    In his testimony, Matthew Strait (Senior Policy Advisor, Drug Enforcement Administration) discussed his agency’s involvement in the research of marijuana. He said the DEA has already drafted legislation to expand the number of licenses granted to grow research-grade marijuana. He also said his agency “shares the view that medical decisions should be based on science and adherence to the established drug approval process which ensures that only safe and effective drugs are approved to be available in the United States.”

    Dr. Douglas Throckmorton (Deputy Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration) focused on questions surrounding CBD products that have become popular across the country. He said the “FDA is considering questions not only about the intrinsic safety of CBD, but also about potentially unsafe manufacturing processes for products containing CBD. He added that the agency “is considering the possibility of new legal pathways for CBD products, we know that it is important to maintain adequate incentives for drug research and development.”

    Dr. Nora Volkow (Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health) told the committee about the adverse health effects of marijuana according to research done over the years. She said, “Cannabis can interfere with the proper development and regulation of brain circuitry” in fetuses and that “THC exposure during adolescence increases subsequent sensitivity to the rewarding effects of other drugs.”

    The common opinion of the three witnesses was that they all believe more federally funded research on marijuana is needed. However, marijuana research bills are not likely to move anytime soon, even with some bipartisan support for increased research. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he will not bring marijuana legislation to the floor this year. 

    Federated Insurance: Risk Management Corner
    Use Caution When Weather Gets Treacherous

    Winter work presents a great many challenges, but it’s the weather that’s the most unpredictable. Be prepared for the season to help keep yourself safe from illness and injury. Cold weather can be a crippler — or even a killer. If you are ill-equipped or unprepared, you risk personal injury and possible permanent damage.

    To read more about ways to protect yourself and more during the winter season, please click here. For additional information or to discuss further, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner. 

    Have You Considered Marketing Your Product or Service in PMAA Online Buyers' Guide in 2020?

    The Petroleum Marketers Association of America ("PMAA") exclusive PMAA Buyers’ Guide ((the "Guide") — the premier resource of relevant products and services for petroleum professionals — is available at the PMAA website.

    PMAA partners with Overland Park, Kansas-based Strategic Value Media, a leading nationwide provider of print and digital media solutions for national, state and local trade and membership associations. PMAA is proud to provide its members with this useful and easily accessible year-round resource.

    The 2020 version features updated and expanded company and product listings, in addition to other valuable information relating to the petroleum industry. The Guide provides PMAA members and other industry professionals with an efficient way to browse for goods and services and also offers petroleum suppliers and companies exceptional visibility by showcasing their products and services to a targeted, industry-specific buyer group.

    If your company or business has not yet taken advantage of this exceptional opportunity to highlight your products and services here, it is not too late! To learn more about advertising your products or services in this exclusive Guide, please email

    Federated Insurance Risk Management AcademySM Offered April 21-23, 2020

    Federated Insurance is offering complimentary risk management training for petroleum marketers on April 21-23, 2020. Through this valuable session, you will discover methods you can use immediately to help protect profits by reducing risk at your business.

    Companies that are the most successful at controlling losses and protecting profits have integrated risk management into their overall company culture. Many have designated a key person as their risk manager. This person is supported by top management and is both responsible and accountable for identifying loss exposures and implementing risk management solutions.

    These seminars are designed for individuals in positions of risk leadership including owners, operations management, service management, risk management, or human resources. The key to a successful business is implementing and leading a strong risk management culture, so attendees should be in a position to take action!

    Class size is limited to 25. For more information or to reserve your spot in the upcoming session, please view the video, contact Royetta Spurgeon at Federated Insurance by calling 507.455.5604, or e-mailing drm@fedins.com.  Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.  

    PMAA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: Laborchex
    Background Checks: What Independent Petroleum Marketers Need to Know

    When making personnel decisions - including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment - employers should “strongly” consider the backgrounds of applicants and employees. Employment background checks, also known as consumer reports, can include criminal records, credit report, work history, educational background, and even social media use. However, employers must be diligent in adhering to strict guidelines regarding background checks. 

    Please read how you can obtain credit checks through Laborchex work for your company by clicking herePlease note that the general information provided is not a substitute for legal advice. Please consult with your legal counsel regarding these topics and other general employment questions. 

    Laborchex, a PMAA Vendor and a PMAA Corporate Bronze Partner who has been serving clients nationwide since 1991, provides a program of background checks for PMAA members. For more information and to discuss your needs, please email PMAA’s Consultant Kym Lewis or call her directly at 800.880.0366 or visit

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