Joel Anderson, president and CEO of the International Warehouse Logistics Association, updated members on recent regulatory issues at the state and federal levels that will have greatest impact on their businesses for the rest of the year.
At the state level, he noted that Massachusetts is one of the last states to adopt the updated Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). It was established in 1952 to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in all 50 states. Article 7 of the code pertains to warehouse receipts, bills of lading and other documents of title. In 2003, IWLA began an effort to get individual states to adopt a revised Article 7 that allows for many of these documents to be used in electronic form. IWLA is working to secure conformity of the legislation this year.
In the meantime, Minnesota's governor signed legislation imposing a service tac on commercial warehousing. Thanks to strong opposition from organizations like IWLA, the legislature made the effective date April of 2014. IWLA is working with the Minnesota Warehouse Association to impress on the Dept. of Revenue the serious consequences of this legislation on business. IWLA is involved in the repeal process, including a teleconference scheduled for June 12 with the coalition to repeal.
In Ohio, IWLA, Ohio Warehouse Association and Ohio Trucking Association successfully fought to remove from the state budget in the legislature a proposal to impose a service tax on commercial warehousing.
In California, S.B. 556 was significantly amended in favor of IWLA members to eliminate its scope from all but "public agencies." This bill provides that a person or entity that enters into a contract or agreement for labor or services with a contractor is liable for any damages caused by that contractor or his/her employee for work performed under the contract if circumstances cause a member of the public to believe that the contractor or his/her employee was an agent of the person or entity.
At the federal level, with regard to food security, IWLA testified at regional FDA hearings on warehouse exemption and expects to comment for the official record this fall.
On pension reform, Anderson warned members this issue is bubbling up again, but that unions must be "willing to accept a haircut." He doesn't expect much action on tax reform, however, due to the recent IRS scandal in which the agency was perceived to be persecuting conservative groups.
With regard to the freight infrastructure, two IWLA members from Conway and UPS are on a 47-person advisory committee and will testify before a Congressional hearing gathering evidence.