The Retail Industry Leaders Association welcomed the passage of two bills to support innovators

Arlington , VA, 2016-Jul-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) today welcomed the passage of two bills from the House Financial Services Committee designed to help ensure businesses access to capital in the startup phase. Austen Jensen, RILA’s vice president, government affairs issued the following statement.

“By alleviating some of the financial challenges entrepreneurs face when trying to jump start their businesses, these bills provide a greater platform for innovation and promote increased investment in new technology. Particularly within the payments ecosystem, we look forward to seeing the industry disruptive technology that enters the marketplace as a result of these doors opening. We’re glad to see the House taking a proactive approach to these issues and look forward to working with them to move this legislation through Congress.”

The Supporting America’s Innovators Act of 2016 (H.R. 4854) and the Fix Crowdfunding Act (H.R. 4855) were approved by the Financial Services Committee in June and passed the House by bipartisan votes on July 5.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Jason Brewer
Senior Vice President, Communications & Advocacy
Phone: 703-600-2050
Email: jason.brewer@rila.org

Source: RILA

Austen Jensen and Dave Koenig join Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) lobbying team

Two New Lobbyists To Focus On Tax And Financial Services Issues

Arlington , VA, 2016-1-7 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced the addition of two experienced professionals to its lobbying team, Austen Jensen and Dave Koenig. Both officially joined RILA on January 4.

“Dave and Austen are well-versed in many of the retail industry’s top issues and each has a proven record of developing and implementing effective legislative strategies,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “Their robust knowledge of Capitol Hill will be of great value to our members and add to the great team already in place.”

As Vice President for Government Affairs, Austen Jensen will manage RILA’s financial services portfolio, including leading efforts to promote transparency, innovation, and competition as it pertains to financial practices in the retail industry.

Jensen brings years of experience advising members on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, most recently acting as the Chief of Staff to Vice Chairman Patrick McHenry. Prior to joining Congressman McHenry’s office, Jensen served as Legislative Director for Congressman Frank Guinta and later Congressman Robert Pittenger, both of whom also serve on the Financial Services Committee.

“Austen served as a trusted advisor to me for much of his ten years on Capitol Hill. He has a deep knowledge of the financial services sector and numerous other key policy issues facing Congress,” said Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC). “While I will miss his counsel, I know he will be a great advocate on behalf of RILA and their members.”

As Vice President for Tax, Dave Koenig will serve as RILA’s leader on tax policy issues, driving advocacy to achieve one of the retail industry’s top priorities, comprehensive tax reform that broadens the base, lowers the rate, simplifies the tax code, and treats all industries equally.

Koenig joins RILA from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), where he served as vice president of tax and profitability for the past six years. While there, Koenig advocated for top legislative issues affecting the restaurant industry, including tax, interchange fee reform, access to capital, and data security.

Prior to his time at the NRA, Koenig was tax policy director for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), leading their efforts on federal tax legislation and regulatory issues. Koenig is a former tax senior attorney for Texaco, Inc. as well as former tax counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the accounting firm Ernst & Whinney.

RILA is an outspoken advocate for the most critical issues facing the retail industry. RILA remains at the forefront of a number of battles, including cybersecurity, tax reform, international trade, and myriad electronic payments issues. RILA also plays a leading role on issues including implementation of the Affordable Care Act, privacy, and a variety of labor and finance issues.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

SOURCE: Retail Industry Leaders Association

Retail Industry Leaders Association expressed strong opposition to H.R. 2205, the Data Security Act of 2015

Arlington, VA, 2015-12-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a letter sent to members of the House Financial Services Committee today the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), along with thirteen other industry trade groups, expressed strong opposition to H.R. 2205, the Data Security Act of 2015.

“While retailers strongly support efforts to safeguard financial data and protect consumers from hackers and cyber thieves, this legislation is a step in the wrong direction,” said RILA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Jennifer Safavian.

One provision of the bill would require anyone that touches sensitive account information, defined as a credit or debit card, to first pass a criminal background check. This would subject tens of millions of frontline employees, such as retail employees working at cash registers, waiters and waitresses at restaurants, and even taxi cab drivers, to pass criminal background checks.

“Haphazardly slapping rules that were written 15 years ago for the financial industry on retailers, restaurants and thousands of small businesses is not the kind of data security legislation that will safeguard our economy. This is red tape masquerading as security.”

Additionally, Safavian also warned lawmakers that codifying security standards in statute would be a mistake.

“Addressing modern cybercrime will not always necessitate building bigger and thicker permanent walls; it often will require retailers and other industries to be nimble and creative in order to tackle evolving threats,” said Safavian. “Permanently codifying new standards will hinder efforts by retailers and other industries to adapt to an evolving threat landscape.”

“Applying static rules written more than a decade ago to regulate and safeguard complex financial products like mortgages and insurance policies makes no sense for retailers and other industries,” added Safavian. “We urge members of the House Financial Services Committee to reject this backward attempt at protecting American consumers and go back to the drawing board on legislation that will truly help all industries thwart the growing threat of cyber-attacks.”

Full letter text below.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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December 7, 2015

The Honorable Jeb Hensarling                             The Honorable Maxine Waters
Chairman                                                               Ranking Member
Committee on Financial Services                         Committee on Financial Services
U.S. House of Representatives                           U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                                       ​Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Hensarling and Ranking Member Waters:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to express our strong opposition to H.R. 2205, the Data Security of Act of 2015. While our groups take the issue of data security very seriously and are committed to working with Congress to develop a strong federal bill, H.R. 2205 regulates every entity under the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) jurisdiction by applying the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Safeguards Rule to non-banking industries. It makes no sense to take one industry’s regulations and apply it to a huge segment of the economy without consideration for how retail, grocery, convenience store, restaurant or small businesses operate.

Section 4 of H.R. 2205 takes the Safeguards Rule, which was written over 15 years ago for the financial services industry for complex products like home mortgages, auto loans and insurance products, and applies it to FTC-regulated industries without any consideration to whether these standards make sense for others. For example, one provision would require anyone that touches sensitive account information, defined as a credit or debit card, to first pass a criminal background check. This would subject tens of millions of frontline employees, such as retail employees working at cash registers, waiters and waitresses at restaurants, and even taxi cab drivers, to criminal background checks.

While there are major problems with applying one industries regulations to all, we believe the approach itself of codifying security standards is misguided. We think it would be a mistake for Congress to codify security standards into statute that would almost immediately be obsolete and static. The Safeguards Rule was written as a regulation, and not as statute, with the financial services sector in mind and it can evolve and change over time as security threats and best practices change. H.R. 2205 takes the opposite approach by codifying the Safeguards Rule, which will hinder efforts by our industries to adapt to an evolving threat landscape and changing technology. Security standards are best left to standards bodies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the International Organization for Standardization with the technical expertise and agility to adapt standards to technical capabilities.

Additionally, H.R. 2205 gives the FTC new authority to fine and penalize covered industries for violations of the Safeguards Rule without taking into account differences in regulatory enforcement regime. Under current regulatory enforcement of the Safeguards Rule, prudential regulators engage in continuous monitoring and audits that provides the opportunity for corrective action prior to enforcement for regulated banks. FTC enforcement provides no such opportunity for corrective action exposing companies under FTC jurisdiction to heavy-handed punishment. It is patently unfair to hold different industries to different degrees of punishment for violations of the exact same standard. Finally, H.R. 2205 would open up job creators to increased lawsuits. Although H.R. 2205 provides no private right of action, the bill would create a laundry list standard ripe for class action lawsuits from unscrupulous plaintiffs.

In closing, we are strongly opposed to H.R. 2205 because the bill fails to address business realities. Just as it would be bad policy to apply healthcare standards onto the financial services industry, applying financial services industry standards onto other industries is bad policy. Moreover, we believe the bill is being considered under a flawed process without refinement or input from affected industries, and is instead being unnecessarily rushed through the Committee hastily. For all of these reasons, we urge you and your colleagues to oppose H.R. 2205.
Sincerely,

Auto Care Association

Food Marketing Institute

National Association of College Stores

National Association of Convenience Stores

National Automobile Dealers Association

National Grocers Association

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Ski Areas Association

NATSO, Representing America’s Travel Plazas and Truckstops

North American Home Furnishings Association

Petroleum Marketers Association of America

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America

 

Cc: Members of the Committee

Jason Brewer
Senior Vice President, Communications & Advocacy
Phone: 703-600-2050
Email: jason.brewer@rila.org

SOURCE: Retail Industry Leaders Association

Retail Industry Leaders Association and Retail Litigation Center launched 2015 Retail Law Conference in San Antonio, TX

General Counsel Discuss Ways To Keep Up With Pace Of Change In Retail

San Antonio, TX,  2015-10-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Yesterday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), in partnership with the Retail Litigation Center (RLC), launched the 2015 Retail Law Conference in San Antonio, TX. Now in its sixth year, the Retail Law Conference offers education and networking opportunities for legal counsel across the retail industry.

Day one of the conference opened with a presentation from The Future Hunters’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erica Orange, who shared insights into social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends and how they effect the role of retail general counsel. Among the topics discussed were how to identify trends and countertrends and observations about the speeding up of disruptive change and how retail general counsel adapt to that change.

“The general counsel plays a critical role within the retail enterprise. The pace of change in retail is dramatic and general counsel not only have a front-row seat to that change but also an obligation to manage risk,” said Deborah White, executive vice president and legal counsel for RILA, and president of the RLC. “The Retail Law Conference allows these leaders an opportunity to discuss these challenges, share best strategies, and connect with leading experts in the field.”

The first day concluded with a panel titled “Implications of Future Trends for Retail’s Legal Leaders,” moderated by Orange. The panel, which featured general counsel from QVC, Target, and Whole Foods Market, identified the need to build strong relationships with peers across the retail enterprise and to prioritize nimbleness in legal departments in order to keep up with change in the industry.

The three day conference will feature discussion around a range of retail issues, including cybersecurity, innovations in payment options, patents and federal and state regulations.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry.  The RLC, whose members include some of the country’s largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases.

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Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Retail Industry Leaders Association introduced its second Retail Energy Management Report

Austin, TX, 2015-9-16 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) introduced its second Retail Energy Management Report, a resource for companies to compare energy management programs across the industry and identify opportunities for progress. The report was released prior to the opening of RILA’s 2015 Retail Sustainability Conference, now in its eighth year.

The 2015 Retail Energy Management Report was developed under the Retail Energy Management Program, a RILA initiative that focuses on two key opportunities for improving energy performance for retailers: financial management and leased stores management. The program’s goal is to develop leading practice implementation models, educate the industry, and spur adoption of implementation models for both of these areas of focus. Earlier this year,RILA received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) for expansion of its financial management program focus area. The program is sponsored by Schneider Electric, Altenex, and Wipro EcoEnergy.

The information in the report was gathered from a 62 question survey of 47 national retail companies about their energy teams, budget, and operations. RILA used this information to measure the maturity of respondents’ retail management programs against twenty-three energy dimensions, as identified in RILA’s Energy Management Maturity Matrix.

“This Report continues to be a valuable tool to track the industry’s progress in energy management practices over time, and to benchmark companies’ programs. It is our hope that this report helps retailers identify even more opportunities for growth and provides them with the resources needed to achieve their energy program goals,” said Erin Hiatt, senior manager of sustainability and compliance at RILA.

From the results of the survey, RILA identified four notable trends:

  1. Programs Continue to Improve. Even for the activities where retailers are the most mature, continued improvement in the coming years remains a goal.
  2. Energy managers understand the importance of maintaining relationships with internal and external stakeholders for effectively managing energy consumption.
  3. Retail energy management programs can yield the most results by prioritizing and aligning energy goals with other company priorities.
  4. For each dimension, there is at least one retailer at a “leading” maturity level“As new technologies and approaches evolve, so will energy management strategies and opportunities for research and leading practice sharing. We look forward to continuing to engage retail energy executives as the industry’s energy management programs evolve and mature,” added Hiatt.

You can download both this and last year’s Retail Energy Management Industry Reports at www.rila.org/energy.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.

###

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Retail Industry Leaders Association awarded $750,000 grant by Department of Energy to support its Retail Energy Management Program

Arlington , VA, 2015-5-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — As part of the Department of Energy’s ongoing efforts to increase energy efficiency in buildings across the country, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) was recently awarded a three-year $750,000 grant to support its Retail Energy Management Program. RILA was one of eight recipients of the DOE’s total $6 million investment.

RILA’s Retail Energy Management Program project with DOE aims to drive energy and carbon reduction in the retail sector by improving retail energy managers’ ability to secure financing for efficiency projects. This is a foundational step toward realizing the $3 billion in potential energy savings estimated to be available to the industry.

“Ensuring that retail energy managers have the resources they need to implement energy projects is a crucial step in the journey towards operational efficiency and bringing value to the business,” said Erin Hiatt, senior manager of sustainability & compliance at RILA. “Ultimately, the work under the grant will increase retailer energy savings through the adoption of improved energy financial management strategies.”

RILA’s project will generate at least six financial management implementation models to illustrate how retailers can establish dedicated energy efficiency budgets, improve project proposal processes, improve finance team awareness of energy project value, improve project piloting processes, establish energy innovation funds, and leverage external financing where necessary.

“We are thrilled that the Administration has made this commitment and are ready to act on the investment,” said Hiatt. “That the DOE saw value in our program to contribute to their long-term energy goals is an honor.”

The project proposal was developed in partnership with The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), Deloitte, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), MIT, and Schneider Electric.​

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

​###​

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Retail Industry Leaders Association expressed support for the bi-partisan Save American Workers Act and the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — In letters sent to Congress today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) expressed the industry’s support for the bi-partisan Save American Workers Act and the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act. Both the House bill, introduced by Representatives Todd Young (R-IN) and -Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and the Senate bill, introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN), raise the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) full-time definition from 30 hours of service per week to 40 hours of service per week.

“This is a jobs issue, not a political issue,” said Christine Pollack, vice president of government affairs at RILA. “Restoring the 40-hour work week is an important step toward protecting American jobs.”

Most retailers traditionally used an hourly or salaried workforce designation, not full-time or part-time, which reflected an employees’ desire for flexible hours and a manager’s need to staff up a store during busy times. The ACA’s definition of full-time as 30 hours of service per week fundamentally limits the flexibility of staffing from both the employee and store manager standpoint.

“Raising the threshold of full-time under the ACA means that retailers will have the flexibility to continue to offer coverage at the traditional level, whether, for example, the level is 32, 35 or 37 hours. Retailers have voluntarily offered coverage for decades and they want to be able to continue to offer this coverage to their employees and their families,”Pollack continued.

Raising the full-time definition in the ACA back to the common standard among the business community will make it easier for businesses to provide more hours to all employees; thereby increasing employees’ take home pay. This change will also provide retailers the opportunity to offer more generous health coverage to full-time employees without making premiums prohibitive and help ensure other employees still have access to affordable coverage options.

RILA letter in support of the Save American Workers Act

RILA letter in support of the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act

RILA, the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, promotes consumer choice and economic freedom through public policy and industry operational excellence. Our members provide millions of jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. RILA members offer quality and affordable health care to their employees and dependents, and are leaders in benefits design by customizing plans to meet their workforces’ specific needs.

###

Allie Brandenburger
Senior Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org

Retail Industry Leaders Association appointments: Sue Pifer as the Vice President of Compliance and Tiffin Shewmake as the Director of the Center for Retail Compliance

Executives Will Be Tasked With Overseeing Completion Of Comprehensive Retail Industry Compliance Tool

Arlington, VA, 2014-9-19— /EPR Retail News/ — Today the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced the addition of two executives.  Sue Pifer will join the association as the Vice President of Compliance and Tiffin Shewmake as the Director of the Center for Retail Compliance (CRC).

“The experience and skills that Sue and Tiffin possess make them uniquely suited for delivering exceptional value to our member companies on a broad range of compliance issues. We are excited to have them join the RILA team,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

Once completed, the CRC will be a comprehensive resource center for retail environmental compliance and sustainability information. The CRC will provide retailers and industry stakeholders with access to retail-specific information, tools and solutions pertaining to state and federal environmental regulations.

Pifer joins the association from Meijer, where she served as the Chief Compliance Officer, Legal & Compliance. In her new role, Pifer will be responsible for providing advice, counsel and leadership to a variety of significant compliance functions, including to the CRC, where she will focus on developing a system for vendor-retailer communication with the goal of enhancing environmental compliance.

In addition to her role with the CRC, Pifer will lead several key committees within the association, including the Internal Audit Committee and the Financial Leaders Council, comprised of senior-level audit and finance executives from America’s largest retailers.

Pifer holds a JD and LLM from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Shewmake comes to RILA from Hitachi Consulting, where she was responsible for managing several government contracts focused on sustainable operations, compliance with environment regulations and the development of training programs.  Shewmake will lead the overall development of the CRC, managing a six million dollar budget with the goal of creating a self-sustaining entity within four years. She will also be responsible for the management of the CRC steering committee, working with retail environmental compliance executives to define the role of the CRC in the retail industry.

Shewmake holds a MS in Information Systems from George Mason University.

Both Pifer and Shewmake will report to RILA’s executive vice president and general counsel, Deborah White.

“Sue’s experience leading the compliance program of a major U.S. retailer will make her an outstanding resource for RILA’s member companies,” said White. “Sue’s experience along with Tiffin’s extensive project management experience and understanding of environmental regulatory structures make the two a remarkable team and a significant asset to RILA, the CRC and our members.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

###

Brian Dodge
SVP, Communications & State Affairs
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org