• PMAA Weekly Review

  • PMAA Weekly Review

     
    March 20, 2020 [WR-20-12]
    Sponsored by Xoffice FuelSoft
    who generously supports PMAA’s work in our Nation’s Capital
     

    Quick Links to Articles for March 20, 2020

     
    Dept. of Homeland Security Identifies Petroleum Marketers and Gas Stations as Critical Operational Infrastructure 

    FMCSA Issues National Driver HOS Waiver through April 12, 2020 

    Federal Government Requires Small Businesses to Provide Paid Leave During COVID-19 Outbreak

    SBLC to Host Webinar to Assist Small Business Response to COVID-19

    PMAA Meets with OMB on Driver Hours of Service Reform 

    DHS Issues Fuel Supply Priority and Area Access Letters

    IRS Delays Tax Payment Deadline by 90 Days Due to Coronavirus

    Federated Insurance Response to Coronavirus

    Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life

     
    Articles for March 20, 2020
     
    Dept. of Homeland Security Identifies Petroleum Marketers and Gas Stations as Critical Operational Infrastructure 

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday, published guidance for state and local governments identifying critical infrastructure that should remain fully operational during the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is important to petroleum marketers and heating oil dealers because it will help ensure that all links along the petroleum distribution chain from the refinery down to retail are identified as critical infrastructure that should not be closed, limited or disrupted by state and local government imposed lockdowns, curfews, travel bans and other restrictions of movement put in place to address the coronavirus outbreak. Retail closure has become a major concern for the petroleum marketing industry as states and localities impose increasingly expansive restrictions on both freedom of movement and the size of public gatherings – many of which would force the closure of retail petroleum sites. 

    PMAA worked closely with the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) over the past week to ensure that petroleum transportation and heating fuels were included as critical infrastructure in the CISA guidance. Petroleum marketers should use the guidance as a proactive tool to educate state and local governments and emergency response authorities the importance of a fully operational petroleum distribution network. The CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure document can be downloaded here (Page 6, “Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products; Page 7 “Petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, rail transport, road transport; Retail fuel centers such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them”)

    The guidance identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Specific categories of critical workforce and infrastructure are identified under each sector.

    Additional Information
    For additional information and frequently asked questions go the CISA critical infrastructure webpage, click here.

    FMCSA Issues National Driver HOS Waiver through April 12, 2020 

    This week, FMCSA issued an updated national emergency declaration to provide a hours of service (HOS) waiver for commercial drivers transporting fuel and propane and other emergency relief in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please note that this is not a blanket HOS waiver. The waiver only applies to drivers delivering fuel for restoration of emergency response infrastructure related to the coronavirus response effort. The emergency HOS waiver is effective March 18, 2020 through midnight April 12, 2020. 

    Click here for more details. 

    Federal Government Requires Small Businesses to Provide Paid Leave During COVID-19 Outbreak

    On Wednesday, President Trump promptly signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” or the so-called “Phase 2” coronavirus stimulus package. While many questions remain unanswered, the law will go into effect on April 2, 2020.

    The Small Business Legislative Council’s (SBLC) attorney, Paley Rothman, has prepared the following summary that highlights the major points of the legislation as it relates to an employer’s obligations to provide paid leave. Click here to read the highlights. 

    Now, Senate GOP leadership have quickly shifted their focus for a so-called “Phase 3” coronavirus stimulus package. Click here for a summary of the GOP “Phase 3” coronavirus package. 

    ***Please keep in mind that “Phase 3” will still need to be negotiated between Senate Democrats and the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, there are efforts underway to attach pet projects to “Phase 3” including an expansion of the EV tax credit and other electrification priorities. PMAA opposes any effort to expand the EV tax credit in the “Phase 3” stimulus package considering that it’s wasteful tax policy that only benefits the wealthy.  Click here to write your member of Congress.

    SBLC to Host Webinar to Assist Small Business Response to COVID-19

    SBLC is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 24th at 12:30pm eastern. This webinar will address the difficult issues that small businesses are facing in light of the COVID-19 threat, particularly when it comes to managing employees and business closures. This will include providing an overview of the new and existing laws that businesses will need to navigate during this unprecedented time. We will also leave ample time for Q&A. The webinar will be presented by the SBLC’s Strategic Policy Director, Jessica Summers, Esq., who is also a Principal in the Employment Law Group at the Law Firm of Paley Rothman in Bethesda, MD.

    This live webinar will be open to all PMAA state associations and its members, free of charge. 
    When registering, please tell your members to type “PMAA” at the bottom of the registration page when asked: Which SBLC member association are you affiliated with? Click here to register now!

    PMAA Meets with OMB on Driver Hours of Service Reform 

    PMAA met with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week regarding CDL driver hours of service reform (HOS). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) final rule implementing HOS reform is now before the OMB for final review before publication. 

    PMAA, along with several marketers, urged the OMB to approve the provisions in the FMCSA proposed rule under review and to clarify a provision addressing how wait time at terminals should be recorded by drivers. PMAA first initiated the HOS reform effort back in 2017 in a meeting with then FMCSA administrator Ray Martinez. PMAA was successful in getting 3 key provisions inserted into the FMCSA proposed rule specifically designed to benefit petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers. Those provisions include; expanding the air mile radius limit from 100 miles to 150 miles that short haul drivers must remain within to qualify for the exception to recording daily hours of service; lengthening the maximum 12 hours on duty limitation under the short haul exception to 14 hours; adding two hours to the maximum daily on-duty limit for CDL drivers under the adverse driving conditions exception; and a split shift provision allowing cdl drivers to count waiting time at terminals as off duty time. PMAA told the OMB that all of the provisions would provide significant regulatory relief to small business petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers. The final HOS reform rule will be published shortly after OMB review and approval is complete.

    DHS Issues Fuel Supply Priority and Area Access Letters

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued two letters designed to ensure petroleum marketers can obtain and deliver fuel for emergency generators and responders conducting restoration and repair of downed communication and power lines that are critical to management of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Homeland Security issued both the fuel supply and equipment access letters in preparation for extreme weather events that are likely to bring down phone and power lines supporting emergency communication and response efforts to stem the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic.

    The first letter requests supply priority for those marketers seeking fuel for emergency generators powering communications equipment supporting 911 and emergency response capabilities as well as the fleet vehicles used for restoring downed lines, etc. (ex; telephone and electric line repair fleets). The second letter allows petroleum marketers to drive through restricted areas and during restricted times (curfews and restricted travel periods) in order to deliver fuel to emergency communication infrastructure and repair fleets. 

    Petroleum marketers supplying fuel for these qualifying purposes should maintain a copy of the letters in the cab of each truck and make available to suppliers, law enforcement authorities and emergency responders as needed. The letters are valid from March 16 through May 28. 

    Fuel Supply Priority Letter
    Emergency Equipment Access Letter

    IRS Delays Tax Payment Deadline by 90 Days Due to Coronavirus

    On Tuesday, the Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, announced that the IRS and the Treasury would defer federal income tax payments up to $1 million for individuals and other unincorporated entities and up to $10 million for corporations from April 15 until July 15, 2020. Taxpayers entitled to refunds would still receive them promptly. Secretary Mnuchin seemed to encourage state departments of revenue to follow the federal government’s action.

    The purpose of this delayed payment is to free up needed capital for people and businesses which are dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. In effect, it is a 90-day interest free loan from the government. Yesterday, the IRS issued Notice 2020-17 - Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic which confirmed the Secretary’s remarks and clarified them. This notice cleared up the confusion as to whether the time for filing the return was also going to be extended or just the payment. We now know only the time for payments will be extended for 90 days. Returns must be timely filed – of course taxpayers can request an extension. Interest and penalties for late payment will also be suspended until July 15, 2020.

    Notice 2020-17 will be in IRB 2020-15, dated April 6, 2020.

    The IRS has established a webpage on IRS.gov/coronavirus to include all of the available tax-related information. This page will be updated as more information is available.

    Treasury News Release: Click here

    Federated Insurance Response to Coronavirus

    As a valued client, we want to personally share how Federated Insurance is proactively taking
    steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus. We are a company committed to risk management and enhancing client success, and our highest priority is supporting the health and safety of their employees and our communities. Please know that the entire Federated team stands beside you and all of the 38,000+ businesses we have the privilege to serve during these uncertain times. 

    For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, 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. 

    Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life
    The Blended Approach to Life Insurance

    As a business owner you may have multiple people who depend on you. In the event of your death, life insurance proceeds can help ease the burden left on your business and your family. The death benefit can be used to cover business loans or the mortgage on your family’s home. Having the proper amount of coverage can provide financial stability to those who rely on you most.

    Choosing the appropriate type of life insurance depends on an individual’s resources and the length of time that the protection is needed. This timeframe can be influenced by a business loan, the age of your children, or a home mortgage, as well as future goals such as cash flow needs for business growth, college expenses, or retirement needs.

    To read about the life insurance choices, please click here. If you want to learn more about the SECURE Act and how it may apply to you or your business’s situation, contact your accountant or attorney for additional information. Please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472 on any risk management issue concerning Fuel Marketers and Distributors. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner. 

     

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