STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED: GOUGING LAWS IN EFFECT
ELECTION DAY 2021 & EARLY VOTING
PLASTIC STRAW BAN IN EFFECT NEXT WEEK
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING SUPPLY ISSUES?
2021 NJGCA TURKEY DRIVE: DONATE TODAY!
JOIN US NEXT WEEK AT SEMA/APPEX!
STATE OF EMERGENCY
With this week's nor'easter threatening flooding and power outages across the state, a State of Emergency has been declared. This means that gouging laws automatically go into effect (N.J.S.A. 56:8-109).
Specifically, this law makes it an unlawful practice to sell merchandise at what constitutes an excessive price increase during the State of Emergency or within 30 days of the termination of the State of Emergency. An excessive price increase is defined as:
"Excessive price increase" means a price that is excessive as compared to the price at which the consumer good or service was sold or offered for sale by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency. A price shall be deemed excessive if:
(1) The price exceeds by more than 10% the price at which the good or service was sold or offered for sale by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency, unless the price charged by the seller is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller's supplier or other costs of providing the good or service during the state of emergency;
(2) In those situations where the increase in price is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller's supplier or additional costs of providing the good or service during the state of emergency, the price represents an increase of more than 10% in the amount of markup from cost, compared to the markup customarily applied by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency.
A violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses. Each individual sale of merchandise is considered a separate and distinct event. Attorney General Andrew Bruck tweeted this week that his office would be holding businesses that price gouge during a state of emergency accountable, and linked to a website for consumers to file a complaint against businesses that do so. You've been warned!
As election day approaches next Tuesday, I want to remind you that for the first time in New Jersey you can vote early on a machine rather than mailing in your ballot. Early voting runs 10 AM to 8 PM Monday through Sunday and 10 AM to 6 PM on Sunday using the same machine as Election Day. The last day to cast your early ballot is Sunday, October 31st. With early voting you are permitted to vote at any location within the county you are registered to vote in, click here for the website to find a polling place.
Hopefully by now you all should have received your On the Road Voter Guide, which includes information on where the candidates stand on certain issues related to your businesses. Take a minute to review that information before casting your vote, as this issue in particular takes a lot of effort to compile thoughtful and accurate information. You canclick here to view it online as well (though make sure you have your member log-in information handy in order to see the link).
PLASTIC STRAW BAN
I want to remind you all again that the plastic straw ban will go into effect in a week, on November 4th, 2021. You will only be able to give out plastic straws upon request, they should not be out and accessible to patrons in your businesses. You are permitted to put out paper straws or lids that don't require straws. As we have stated previously in other Road Warriors, this may be a good opportunity to offer reusable straws to purchase. If you are interested in providing paper straws, reusable straws, or lids that don't require straws in case there is a shortage, I suggest contacting our Member Benefit Partner HLA and mention you are part of our program. You can find their contact information in your 2021 MBP Brochure.
This upcoming ban is part of a larger law that will go into effect in six months. Starting May 4th 2022, New Jersey businesses may not sell or provide single-use plastic carryout bags to their customers. Paper bags will also be banned (unless the business is under 2500 sq. ft.). Styrofoam cups and containers are also included in the ban. We wanted to remind you of all of these upcoming changes with plenty of time so you can plan your supply purchases accordingly with orders taking longer to arrive.
I'm sure you all are aware of the current product supply issues personally and by keeping up with the news. We have recently heard from some national allies that they are having trouble with supply chain issues. Additionally, gasoline suppliers are also having trouble getting certain additives and detergents needed for gas. Are either of these issues causing problems with your business? Please email Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
We are very pleased to announce that we will be continuing our annual turkey drive ahead of this holiday season. Fulfill NJ, the food bank that serves Monmouth and Ocean counties is in need of donations to help feed the hungry during the busy holiday months. In the past, NJGCA has turned to the generosity of our members to help, and this year we will participate again. Please consider making a donation to help make sure everyone in New Jersey has a turkey on their table for Thanksgiving. You can CLICK HERE to visit the webpage to make your donation.
SHOP OWNERS JOIN US AT SEMA/APPEX
NEXT WEEK is industry week and we are hoping to gather NJGCA shop owners by inviting our auto repair members to SEMA/APPEX in November. This conference is vital in order to build on the professionalism that is required to run a shop today. It is beneficial for colleagues to be together, learn together, and have fun together. We are building all of those things into what is known as industry week in Las Vegas or the SEMA/APPEX shows. I'm sure many of you not only have heard of these two shows but may have already attended in previous years. We want NJGCA members to attend together and even bring your spouse! We recently included details for a group trip we are organizing to Red Rock Canyon, 7 Magic Mountains, Boulder City & Hoover Dam a day before the conference officially kicks off in order to build collegiality amongst our members. If you are interested in more information on the conference and any other events we are organizing that week, please contact Joe Ocello at email@example.com. See the announcement we emailed to members yesterday and register HERE.
***An important note for attendees***: APPEX requires proof of vaccination or negative COVID PCR test at least three days prior in order to enter the convention. They are offering walk-up COVID PCR testing on-site for a $25 fee, but proof of negative test results need to be at least three days in advance in order to enter. Please be sure to plan accordingly, make your testing appointment before you get there if needed. The SEMA convention is not currently requiring the same rules.
Employees who are seeking religious exemptions from a mandated COVID-19 vaccination policy have to let their employer know they intend to seek a religious exemption, but they don't have to say "magic words" such as "religious accommodation" or "Title VII" to activate their employer's legal obligations, reports Reuters. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its technical guidance on when companies must exempt employees from COVID-19 vaccine mandates for religious reasons. The EEOC said that companies should assume that workers' professed religious beliefs are sincere, but they can ask for more information from the employee in a limited manner. An employee who fails to provide requested information risks losing any subsequent claim that the employer improperly denied an accommodation, the EEOC said.
Americans are leaving their jobs in droves, and employees younger than 35 are leading the way, reports Fast Company. In August, 4.3 million people quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not including retirements. This mass exodus has been coined "The Great Resignation" as workers quit in search of higher pay, more flexibility and remote options. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults are happy in their jobs, which is down from 84% a year ago, according to a CivicScience survey. Yet, 40% of those who quit their jobs said that they're in a better financial position than before the pandemic.
Historically, gas prices climb in the spring for a variety of reasons that include the switchover to summer-blend fuel. Then they decline in the fall due to reasons like decreasing demand for gas after the warm summer months. But that's not happening this year. Gas prices have been rising, and naturally drivers are upset. What's going on? In short, as always, it's about oil prices, which are the dominant factor in the price of a gallon of gasoline. On October 20, oil prices were around $85 per barrel. Exactly two months earlier, they were $65 per barrel. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil, so every dollar increase in a barrel equates to about 2.4 cents per gallon.
Worried that President Joe Biden's Covid vaccine mandate for private companies could cause a mass exodus of employees, business groups are pleading with the White House to delay the rule until after the holiday season. White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget held dozens of meetings with labor unions, industry lobbyists and private individuals last week as the administration conducts its final review of the mandate, which will require businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure they are vaccinated against Covid or tested weekly for the virus. It is estimated to cover roughly two-thirds of the private sector workforce. . . Retailers are also particularly concerned the mandate could trigger a spike in resignations that would exacerbate staffing problems at businesses already short on people, said Evan Armstrong, a lobbyist at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
One noteworthy attempt to lessen greenhouse gas emissions is citizens starting to take matters into their own hands - not through sabotage or aggressive extrajudicial actions - but through concentrated governmental efforts to cut emissions off at the source: the gas itself. Primarily, citizens are employing their local governments to put in place moratoriums as temporary holds on the development of new gas stations, or expansions of current ones.
Gas prices have surged again in New Jersey and around the nation with double-digit increases in the Garden State at a time of year that usually sees decreases due to a drop in demand. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $3.43, up 12 cents from a week ago. Drivers were paying an average of $2.23 a gallon a year ago at this time.
The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging owners of underground storage tanks (USTs) that are 30 years or older to obtain insurance in order to satisfy the EPA's financial responsibility requirements. The EPA's financial responsibility requirement states that UST owners and operators must pay the costs of cleaning up leaks from USTs and compensate third parties for bodily injury or property damage resulting from leaks, and the UST financial responsibility regulation allows UST owners and operators to choose from a variety of financial mechanisms to comply with the regulation. One of the financial mechanisms is the use of insurance.
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.
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