Last Friday, the California State Assembly placed assembly bill 459 on the suspense calendar, halting the legislation from moving forward this year, thanks in part to NAMA, the national association for vending and refreshment services and the California Automatic Vendors Council (CAVC) as well as the California Blind Vendors Group. Assembly bill 459 would have required that at least 50 percent of the food offered by a vendor in a vending machine on state property meet accepted nutritional guidelines by Jan. 1, 2015. The bill would further require 75 percent compliance with accepted nutritional guidelines by Jan. 1, 2016, and 100 percent compliance by Jan. 1, 2017. On and after Jan. 1, 2016, the bill would also require that 100 percent of beverages offered by a vendor in a vending machine on state property also meet the accepted nutritional guidelines.
“It’s very simple: we as an association and an industry are working hard to advocate for consumer choice. Consumers should have the right to choose their own snacks and beverages and we will continue to work hard to provide them with the information they need to make the choice that’s right for them,” said Eric Dell, NAMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, in a prepared statement.
“We applaud the California Assembly for not moving forward on assembly bill 459. This legislation would restrict customer choices and have a detrimental effect on this industry, specifically those blind vendors operating on state-owned property. NAMA would like to thank both the members of CAVC and the blind vendors groups in California that successfully worked together to oppose this bill. NAMA and CAVC will continue to partner with the blind vendors and other coalition partners to defeat legislative proposals detrimental to the industry and our customers. Also, NAMA’s government affairs division will continue to monitor and advocate against this legislation, as it could become active again next year,” he continued.
Nicky Gacos, NAMA government affairs committee member and president, National Association of Blind Merchants, also applauded the State Assembly’s actions: “Blind vendors look forward to continuing our working relationship with the California’s Assembly in the future to develop ways to increase customer choice for consumers without affecting the blind vendors' bottom line.”