Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Consumer Protection Update: VGB & CPSIA

On April 5, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) hosted a public meeting on the testing and certification procedures under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB).

The VGB requires pools and spas in the U.S. to be engineered to prevent entrapment drowning. There are several ways to accomplish this: in large pools or water attractions like those found in waterparks, the drains are usually large (18”x 23” or larger) and therefore physically unblockable*. For smaller drains, VGB-complaint drain covers are commercially available. The meeting only focused on the smaller, commercially-available drain covers, not on large, unblockable drains.

The meeting was part of an ongoing investigation by the CPSC into the methodology and results of the various organizations that certify drain covers as VGB compliant. The procedure for certifying is described in the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8-2007 Standard referenced in the VGB. However, upon investigation, the CPSC has found seemingly slight variations in the testing procedures, which are leading to varying results for the same product. The CPSC would like to clarify the testing procedure so a uniform method is used by all certifying labs, and the results of those tests are within an acceptable margin of error.

The meeting was broadcast live over the Internet, and the archived footage is available on the CPSC website. The first panel was composed of representatives from the three certifying organizations (Underwriters’ Laboratories, NSF, and IABMO). The second was drain cover manufacturers, and the third was the chairman of the A112.19.8 committee, who discussed the standards-creation process, and the committee’s work on the successor standard. The meeting was pretty technical, so waterpark operators might want to have their technical staff review the archived footage. While it doesn’t appear to directly impact waterparks, IAAPA is continuing to monitor this issue.

* These are not the only ways to be compliant with the VGB.

CPSIA Reform Legislation Considered
Earlier this month the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade held a hearing on proposed legislation to make several reforms to the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act (CPSIA).

As the attractions industry knows, the CPSIA had good intentions that came along with a slew of unintended consequences. Since the enactment of the CPSIA, our industry has been calling for an amendments bill to address these consequences. A bill was introduced and heard by the Energy & Commerce committee last session, but it failed to move past the committee stage.

This hearing focused mainly on the proposed legislation, which lowers the age in the definition of “children’s product” from 12 to 7, narrows the scope of the Consumer Product Database, makes changes to the provisions addressing lead limits, and creates exemptions to the testing requirements for small-batch manufacturers.

Having discussed the reforms, the subcommittee will now create and mark-up a bill that can be voted on. Committee staff indicated the committee is looking to get this bill out of committee during the summer. Of course, timetables are never firm in Congress, but perhaps by fall we will see some CPSIA relief.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MAHC Ventilation Module available now

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a project being spearheaded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that when completed, will serve as a model and guide for state and local agencies to use when updating or implementing regulations governing the design, shape, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other treated recreational water venues. The MAHC is being developed by the aquatic industry leaders across the country. Several IAAPA members serve on the steering and technical committees.

The MAHC is being created in modules, which are released as they are available, instead of waiting for a final document to be prepared. This allows the committees a lot of flexibility in drafting and updating the MAHC as needed. An outline was released in 2008 for those interested in seeing what topics the MAHC will address.

Last summer, the CDC released the Operator Training Module for public comment. IAAPA notified waterpark members of their opportunity to submit comments to the CDC on this module. The CDC considered the comments and earlier this month posted the revised modules on the MAHC website.

The CDC also released the Ventilation and Air Quality Module for a 60-day comment period ending June 12, 2011. The Ventilation Module contains requirements for new or modified construction that include:

1. Increased make-up air required in addition to that required in the ASHRAE 62 standard for indoor pools.
2. Determination of the extra make-up air needed based on the indoor venue water use type (e.g., flat water, agitated water, or hot water) and venue or deck patron density (square feet/person).
3. Inclusion in calculations of additional make-up air from surge tanks or gutters that introduce fresh air.
4. Development and implementation of plans to reduce combined chlorine compounds in indoor aquatic facilities and information for facility patrons about their impact on building air quality.

To comment on the Ventilation Module, complete the official comment form, and e-mail to the CDC. If there is interest, IAAPA will submit a comment on behalf of the industry. To be included in that process, please send us your comments.

Monday, April 18, 2011

ADA Amendments Act Final Rule Published

Late last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released the final rules implementing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The regulations apply to employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations (unions), and joint labor-management committees. The ADAAA was enacted Sept. 25, 2008, and became effective Jan. 1, 2009. The ADAAA overturned a series of Supreme Court cases, expanded the number of workers who are considered disabled under the ADA and increased the number of employers who must make reasonable accommodations for these employees.

The regulations retain the ADA’s definition of the term “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record (or past history) of such an impairment; or being regarded as having a disability. But the regulations implement the significant changes that Congress made regarding how those terms should be interpreted.

The regulations implement Congress’s intent to set forth predictable, consistent, and workable standards by adopting “rules of construction” to use when determining if an individual is substantially limited in performing a major life activity. These rules of construction include the following:
  • The term “substantially limits” requires a lower degree of functional limitation than the standard previously applied by the courts. An impairment does not need to prevent or severely or significantly restrict a major life activity to be considered “substantially limiting.” Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability.
  • The term “substantially limits” is to be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.
  • The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment, as was true prior to the ADAAA.
  • With one exception (“ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses”), the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures, such as medication or hearing aids.
  • An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
  • In keeping with Congress’s direction that the primary focus of the ADA is on whether discrimination occurred, the determination of disability should not require extensive analysis.
The regulations make it easier for individuals to establish coverage under the “regarded as” part of the definition of “disability," however an individual must be covered under the first prong (“actual disability”) or second prong (“record of disability”) to qualify for a reasonable accommodation. The regulations clarify that it is generally not necessary to proceed under the first or second prong if an individual is not challenging an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC has information the regulations available on its website, including a fact sheet, general Q&A document, and a Q&A document for small businesses.

Friday, April 15, 2011

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 Space Allocation: Day 2—Final Thoughts

So that's it. Months of work and preparation unspool in the span of a hectic 30 hours or so. The Space Allocation Committee was as dedicated as ever to creating the best possible show floor; they spent more time in front of their computer screens than I think they have in my four years of covering this process. One glance at the interactive floor plan will tell you all that was accomplished here.

As of now, there are 669 booths on the floor covering 357,000 net square feet. That's more than 60 exhibitors and 55,000 square feet above where we were after Space Allocation last year.

Ray Zammit of Nanco said he was pleased with the new interactive floor plan system and that he's thrilled to see how much of the floor is already spoken for. He feels it speaks to improving economic conditions and positivity in the industry.

"It's encouraging," agreed Committee Chairman Jack Mendes. "People are feeling positive and they're showing a bit more. There's some momentum going, and that's a good thing."

While Space Allocation is a ton of work, it's exciting, too. The meeting is like the unofficial kickoff not only for IAAPA Attractions Expo, but our other two shows, as well: Asian Attractions Expo this June in Singapore, and Euro Attractions Show this September in London. Thanks to those of you who followed along who will exhibit at all of those shows this year; we very much appreciate your participation.

And thanks to everyone who clicked on this little corner of the Internet over the past two days. I hope it was helpful, and I hope you have a great Expo in November.

From here on out, if you have any questions about your booth contact the IAAPA sales team at exhibitsales@IAAPA.org.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 Space Allocation: Day 2—Morning Session

12:46 p.m.: OK, so there are two or three booths hanging around still. But my previous statement otherwise remains the same.

12:45 p.m.: DONE! All booths are assigned. The committee will hang around for a few minutes in case there are any move requests, so get them in ASAP.

11:54 a.m.: The committee just placed QiQi Inflatable Co., No. 620, which marks the end of our returning exhibitors. Everything from here on out—45 companies—are first-timers.

The committee is going to go grab some lunch while the IAAPA sales team assigns the first-time exhibitors. Committee members will be back about 12:30 p.m. to handle any final booth moves. If you have a request, send it to exhibitsales@IAAPA.org right away. The committee probably won't be here much past 1 p.m.

11:29 a.m.: While the committee continues to deal with booth moves, let me take an opportunity to give you faithful readers a heads-up for great content elsewhere on the blog. My colleague Stephanie See, IAAPA's manager of government relations and safety services, has been blogging like crazy over the past several weeks, providing updates on all sorts of U.S. government-related issues. Look down on the right of this page and click the "Government Relations" tag to find this valuable information.

11:11 a.m.: Another milemarker! Seniority No. 600, Fathom It Distributing, just went on the floor. The committee's really trying to push through and get everyone on the floor by 12:30 today.

10:54 a.m.: 575 booths on the floor. Steelman Partners just got assigned. Less than a hundred to go! Pace has slowed significantly the past half hour as a batch of booth moves came in.

10:30 a.m.: The committee is back from break, working on a few booth moves before resuming new assignments.

10:20 a.m.: I've kinda been buried in my laptop for most of this process, so for some reason I hadn't gotten a good look at how the floor is shaping up until now. I'd encourage you to go look at the interactive floor plan, because I was shocked at how full the floor looks already. It's very exciting to see that and try and picture what it will look like in person seven months from now.

Speaking of, Space Allocation has its own language it seems like at times. Terms like "full back wall," "island," "end cap," "split" and more fly around the room with hardly any words in between because everyone in here speaks the same dialect. It's impressive how the committee and the IAAPA exhibit team can visualize in three dimensions what they're seeing in 2-D on the floor plan, right down to envisioning how columns will affect people and where companies who need proximity to water drains can fit.

The last booth assigned was Inforesight Products, No. 563, and the committee is taking another short break before the final push to the end.

10 a.m.: Showtime Pictures LLC was just assigned, which means we now have 550 booths on the floor. Getting close now! A little more than a hundred to go.

9:51 a.m.: During the break I had a quick chat with Jeff Hudson, president of Skee-Ball Inc., who's marking his 10th year on the committee this time around.

From my observations in the back of the room, Jeff has been quite active during this process, as he handles all the gaming and plush companies, as well as basically any other companies affiliated with family entertainment centers. He's also been helping acclimate some of the new committee members, and based on his experience is one of those who helps assign booths that may not have a specific committee member assigned to them.

"The first meeting I was very lost, but by the second meeting I kinda got the hang of it—knowing to look ahead and see how it all flows," he said. 

Jeff said the key is, like anything else, being prepared. Over the weekend he went through the entire list of Space Allocation companies and color-coded those he's responsible for so he knows exactly when they're coming up in this fast-paced process. When he has a span of time between those companies he's identified ahead of time, that's when he starts scanning the pages for other booths he can help assign, if need be.

9:30 a.m.: The committee is back from break.

9:18 a.m.: The committee is taking a 10-minute break for some well-earned coffee. Moving at a really good clip this morning. Last booth assigned was No. 517, Theming and Animatronics Industries.

9:03 a.m.: It's cliche, I know, but I can't believe how fast time flies. The committee just placed Chuck Wagon Old-Fashioned Soda, No. 489, who has four years' seniority. If you'd asked me five minutes ago, I never would've guessed Old-Fashioned has been with us for that long; I interviewed owner Terry Schaeffer during his first Expo in 2008 because he was having such a great show and I remember it like yesterday. Terry, glad to see you've stayed with us!

Just assigned No. 500, Spin-T LLC.

8:29 a.m.: 475 booths on the floor now, as Garner Holt Productions just went on.

8:13 a.m.: The booth moves are wrapped up and now the committee is assigning new booths. I wanted to remind you to check out this page, which gives estimated times for assignments. The page was updated last night to reflect the most accurate estimates for today's timing. Remember, this is in no way 100% accurate, but at least it'll give you a feel for whether you should be watching a 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Good morning! The Space Allocation Committee members are filtering into the room, getting ready for an 8 a.m. start. They have about a dozen booth move requests to handle first, and then it'll be on to No. 457, Barron Games International. There's still more than 200 exhibitors to place today, and the goal is to be done by about 1 p.m. EDT.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 Space Allocation: Day 1—Afternoon Session

7:40 p.m.: All right, whew, the committee's called it quits after the longest day I've spent with this bunch in four years of doing this. As of now there are 461 booths on the floor covering 292,000 net square feet.  About 380 booths were assigned today.

Space Allocation will begin bright and early tomorrow at 8 a.m. EDT (an hour earlier than originally scheduled). First booth assigned will be No. 457, Barron Games International.

Like I said, today was a major-record day for traffic on the blog, so thanks for following along and hopefully this was helpful. Good night!

7:20 p.m.: SHOUT OUT to Kees Albers of Unlimited Snow-Tape My Day, who e-mailed me today from the Netherlands to say he was staying up WWAAAAAYYYYY late to watch for his booth assignment, even though there was no guarantee he'd make today's cut. Well, congratulations, my friend, your sleep deprivation paid off! At No. 447 you're gonna be one of the last booths assigned today. Thanks for staying up with us.

6:53 p.m.: Today IAAPA's new president and CEO, Chip Cleary, has watched Space Allocation from the sidelines, soaking up the process. He listened a lot and talked to committee members when he could catch them away from their monitors (which hasn't been often on this hectic, strenuous day!). I asked him for a quick comment about what he's observed today, and here's what he said:

"When you come to IAAPA Attractions Expo this November you might wonder how this all comes together. In my many years of involvement with IAAPA I had never seen the Space Allocation Committee in action. Twenty-five computers, 16 big monitors, 15 committee members, eight IAAPA team members, six contractor team members, and lots of coffee and commitment. The floor slowly appears on the big screen but the commitment of our volunteer committee members and the IAAPA team members is inspiring to see."  

The last booth placed was Soundtube Entertainment, No. 416. Really making up some ground now.

6:44 p.m.: Just hit No. 400! Milspec Industries is on the floor.

6:20 p.m.: The committee assigned its 300th booth a few minutes ago. We're more than halfway home now, and the second half always goes quicker because the booths are typically smaller and options on the floor start to lock in a bit more.

Last booth placed, Midway Stainless Fabricators, No. 387.

6:09 p.m.: So while I'm communicating on the busiest day in this blog's history, I figure what better time to talk about something I'm quite proud of: The cover story of this month's Funworld magazine. A couple months ago I was invited to Six Flags' corporate headquarters in Arlington, Texas, to interview the company's new CEO, Jim Reid-Anderson. He was good sport enough to don a hard hat for our cover photo, and then talked to me about basically every aspect of his plan for helping Six Flags' continued recovery from bankruptcy.

It was a great discussion, one I was privileged to have, and I think all of you out there could get something out of it. You can read it via Funworld's digital edition by clicking here.

BTW, the last booth placed was Trendy—LLC, No. 375.

5:51 p.m.: The committee decided to extend today's meeting an extra hour to approximately 7:30 p.m. EDT. The last booth placed was No. 357, Randolph Rose Collection.

5:11 p.m.: SHOUT OUT to my peeps at Mini Melts Inc.! They e-mailed me today to say they've been following along to see when/where they were placed with seniority No. 336. Welcome to this year's show, guys!

5:06 p.m.: Right on time … back and placing once more. Just added True Food Service Equipment at 331.

4:56 p.m.: The committee's taking a 10-minute break. Hardly any of these today as the members have been working relentlessly to get these booths assigned and catch up on the goal for Day 1. Just did Aerophile at No. 327.

4:53 p.m.: Just hit No. 325, International Cordage Inc. I don't want to jinx anything, but the committee's hitting a stride of late. Pace returning to normal over the past hour or so.

4:37 p.m.: There we go! Booth No. 300 is on the floor now that Magnet World Inc. has been assigned.

4:28 p.m.: I was trying to wait for an update at a big ol' round number, but it's been too long since my last post so I'll just go with No. 291, Leisure Craft, which was the last booth assigned. Pushin' on to 300 …

3:44 p.m.: We've already set a one-day record for traffic on the blog, so thanks to all of you who are following along. I hope it's helpful to you. E-mail me at jschoolfield@IAAPA.org if there's anything I can help you with.

Toy Factory, No. 268, was just assigned.

3:10 p.m.: Committee's restarting now. Assigning International Laser Tag Association, No. 242.

2:53 p.m.: Short break as we address a couple redraws on the floor plan. Keep an eye on that interactive website.

2:48 p.m.: Sorry this post disappeared momentarily, folks. The committee's been moving pretty well this afternoon. Last booth that was assigned was Ninja Jump, No. 241.

2:17 p.m.: This is my fourth Space Allocation live blog and I just had something happen for the first time: A blackout!

OK, not really. But as you may have seen in the pics I posted this morning, we have quite a bit of equipment in this meeting room, and out of nowhere half the room's computers and extended paraphernalia lost power. Cool thing was, because the new assignment system is entirely web-based we were able to keep the meeting going without missing a beat thanks to laptops and Wi-Fi.

I don't know exactly what happened, and everything got back up and running pretty quickly, but it was an interesting 30 seconds of … "Huh?" What did we ever do before laptops, wireless Internet, and web-based interactive software programs. Really.

1:42 p.m.: Just placed booth No. 200! MedTech Wristbands just went on the floor. What a difference some food makes, huh? Committee's picked up the pace after lunch nicely.

1:36 p.m.: I spoke with Committee Chairman Jack Mendes briefly during the brief lunch break. He said part of what has the committee a little behind this year is learning a new computer system for assigning booths. He thinks it's just taking everyone—both the committee members and those running the system—a little time to get up to speed, but that will come with time.

This is our second consecutive year in Orlando for Expo (the second of a 10-year run, as we announced last year), but that doesn't mean the show is the exact same every year. Different companies come in and out of the show, he said, and those who are in change their sizes and sometimes their locations, which means it's like starting fresh every year. So what makes the show so exciting year in and year out also makes it challenging to plot out.

"We're trying to make sure the floor flows nicely and we don't create any dead-ends," Mendes said.

The committee is getting back to assignments now, starting with No. 181, NAARSO. They also have a couple booth moves to handle, as well.

To this point, 180 exhibitors are on the floor, covering a total of 124,000 net square feet.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 Space Allocation: Day 1—Morning Session

12:39 p.m.: The committee just placed its 100th company of the day, AIMS International (seniority No. 180), which includes creation of the AIMS Pavilion on the show floor. The committee is breaking for a 30-minute lunch now. We're running an hour behind, based on where we expected to be, so hopefully we can make up a half-hour and return to estimated assignment times this afternoon.

12:17 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates over the past 45 minutes or so, but it's been a little slow of late so not much to report. There have been some alterations to the floor, so be sure to keep refreshing that page. The last booth placed was Sega Amusements, No. 161.

11:56 a.m.: Recent assignment: Alcorn McBride, No. 156.

11:22 a.m.: The committee will only break for a 30-minute lunch today instead of an hour, since we're running a bit behind so far today.

"We'd rather rush lunch than rush the process," said BSR's Jack Mendes, the committee chair.

I will of course update you when the committee breaks for lunch.

11:17 a.m.: For those familiar with the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the people who put that bracket together each year have a "war room" of sorts, where they watch all the games and collect all the data to determine the 68 teams who get into the field for the Final Four.

That's the comparison that comes to mind sitting in the Space Allocation room. The members are arrayed around a large U of tables with big screens in front of them displaying the interactive floor plan. Here are a few photos:

Just placed Royal Train Rides, No. 134.

11 a.m.: Committee's coming back. About to assign No. 124, Innovative Concepts in Entertainment.

10:51 a.m.: The committee is breaking for 10 minutes as IAAPA's VP of exhibit sales Pete Barto works on a sizable redraw of the floor plan. Keep refreshing this site AND the floor plan to keep an eye on the proceedings and get a look at what the floor looks like when this little process is done.

10:34 a.m.: As a refresher, here's how the Space Allocation process works:

There are 15 members of the Space Allocation Committee from all different sectors of the M&S community. Thus each member watches over the exhibiting companies in their respective areas of expertise. For example: Monty Lunde (Technifex) and Keith James (JRA) handle theming and design companies, Vittorio Fabbri (Intamin) and Sophie Bolliger (B&M) keep an eye on ride manufacturers, etc. Their job is to be prepared with a booth assignment when their companies come up.

Each exhibiting company submits booth number requests. Early on, typically those requests are relatively easy to accommodate since there are so many spaces available on the floor. But as the show fills up, companies' requests start to disappear. That's when the committee members really kick into action. They'll make recommendations for new booths, oftentimes talking with the exhibiting company directly to work on a solution. The key to this selected group is their knowledge of two areas: their industry sector AND experience exhibiting at IAAPA Attractions Expo; both sides of that coin factor into the decision as the committee members try to get their companies the best position possible.

Sometimes the booth assignments just flow right along, but elsewhere there is significant discussion as members take into account proximity to competitors and maintaining the layout and integrity of the show floor. It can get complicated, that's for sure.

The last booth assigned was SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment at No. 111.

10:08 a.m.: REMINDER: The online interactive floor plan is live this year, so you can see booths immediately as they are assigned. The key is: remember to REFRESH YOUR SCREEN (sorry for the all-caps, but this is important!). The last booth assigned was Severn-Lamb, No. 102.

9:43 a.m.: And they're off! Space Allocation is officially under way. BJ Toy Manufacturing Co. was just assigned (seniority No. 82).

9:12 a.m.: Still doing updates and housekeeping stuff. I will post as soon as we get started. Just a reminder: booths are assigned based on seniority (number of years exhibiting at the show). Anyone with 25-plus years' seniority is placed ahead of this meeting, so there are 80 or so booths on the floor already.

9:02 a.m.: Committee Chair Jack Mendes from Bob's Space Racers is addressing the committee, laying out the process. We'll be starting soon.

Good morning, everyone. I'm back for another year of wall-to-wall coverage of Space Allocation for IAAPA Attractions Expo. Over the next two days the Space Allocation Committee will put 588 exhibitors on the floor for our trade show in Orlando this November.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m., but there are some housekeeping items to take care of before booth numbers start flying at 9:30 a.m. (All times I give are EDT.)

Keep refreshing this page, as I'll just update this post periodically, rather than starting a new one every time. If you have questions about your booth, e-mail exhibitsales@IAAPA.org immediately. If you have a question for me, you can post in the comments section or e-mail me directly at jschoolfield@IAAPA.org.

Thanks for following along today. Space Allocation is always one of our highest-trafficked days, so I hope this is helpful to you as we start working toward Expo.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Space Allocation Meeting Coverage Begins Thursday, 9 a.m.

For the fourth consecutive year I'll be live-blogging IAAPA Space Allocation, where booths for this year's IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando are assigned.

If you've followed along in previous years, you probably have an idea for what's coming: My job is to be a fly on the wall while the Space Allocation Committee shapes the show floor. You can keep refreshing the blog to get updates on the committee's progress, as well as a sense for how the process works and what it's like to put together the industry's biggest exhibition.

Kevin Rohwer, vice president of sales and marketing for S&S Worldwide, is new to the committee this year, so I asked him what he thinks about the whole process as he's getting ready to join us in Virginia for the two-day event:

"I’m excited that I was asked to be a part of the Space Allocation Committee. I have always enjoyed my interaction with IAAPA, and this will be my 15th consecutive showing at IAAPA Attractions Expo. I’ve been a recipient of good from IAAPA and I’m honored to give back to IAAPA in whatever form my energy and experience can provide. To be trusted by IAAPA and my peers is an honor—one I will not take lightly. What makes IAAPA great is that there are those willing to give of their time and talents in hopes of making our industry, better."

This year I'll be doing double duty, providing Twitter updates, as well, so whichever version you're more comfortable with, you'll never be lacking for updates on how the meeting is going. At the same time, I'd recommend keeping an eye on the interactive online floor plan. This site is updated in real time so you can see how the floor is taking shape as your time for placement comes up.

If you have any questions about the process, e-mail my colleagues on the IAAPA Exhibit Sales Team at exhibitsales@IAAPA.org; if you have any comments/suggestions for what you'd like to read about during the meeting, e-mail me at jschoolfield@IAAPA.org.

See you Thursday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Health Care Update: FDA Food Labeling Rule & 1099 Repeal

Some good news out of Washington last week: both the House and the Senate passed H.R. 4, which repealed the 1099 provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

IAAPA members may remember the PPACA expanded the 1099 reporting obligation as a revenue-raising measure to pay for the legislation. Previously corporations needed to file a Form 1099 with the IRS when they purchased more than $600 in services from an independent contractor, or other unincorporated business. Under the PPACA, beginning in 2012, 1099 reporting was expanded to include the purchase of goods over $600 and payments to corporations (except non-profits).

If the repeal is signed by President Obama, the rules will revert back and a 1099 will only be necessary if a business is buying services from an unincorporated business. Stay tuned for more information.

FDA Labeling Proposal Released
Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released proposed rules on the menu labeling provisions of the PPACA. The PPACA requires restaurants with 20 or more locations, serving substantially the same menu, to provide nutritional information on the menu or menu board. The rule was supposed to be out by March 23, but it got held up in the regulatory process.

There are two proposed rules: one for menu labeling, and one for vending machines.

Overall, IAAPA’s Government Relations department thinks the rules are good for the industry. We are also pleased the rules are in the proposal stage and that there are 60 days to offer comments. But this is where we need your help: tell us if the proposed rules will work for your facility. If they won’t, what changes can be made to them? IAAPA intends to file a comment with the FDA, so if you would like us to include your input, please let us know by May 30!