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Energy Marketers of America weekly update on important national industry news
May 24, 2024  [WR-24-20]
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EMA Member Service Benefit with Wolters Kluwer BizFilings to Help Streamline Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Filing Times

Special EMA Members Code for NACS Show 2024 Registration

EMA Legal Reminder: VISA/MasterCard Settlement Administrator Accepting Claims Forms Now through August 30, 2024

Inside the Beltway Update

EMA Opposes Bill that Would Exempt Big Banks from Debit Fee Limits

THANK YOU to EMA’s Partner Sponsors for Washington Conference!

Tired of Delayed IRS Tax Refunds?

Main Street Privacy Coalition (MSPC) Urges Lawmakers to Oppose the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024 (APRA)

Weekend Reads

Federated Insurance: Risk Management Corner

Articles for May 24, 2024

EMA Member Service Benefit with Wolters Kluwer BizFilings to Help Streamline Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Filing Times
Webinar: Thursday, June 6, 2024, 11:00 a.m. EST

In December 2020, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that created a federal framework for reporting, storing, and disclosing Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) of “reporting companies.” BizFilings’ BOI reporting tool reduces filing times and errors through a streamlined, secure and automated workflow. BizFilings will offer EMA member companies a 12 percent discount off BOI report filings. The discount can be accessed via a dedicated EMA-member landing page below.

Click Here to Visit the EMA-Exclusive Landing Page to File your BOI Reports with our Special Discount Now

EMA President Rob Underwood said, “As a trusted compliance partner trusted by over 500,000 small businesses, BizFilings can help you organize, save time and protect your data today. BizFilings is the leading business compliance solutions provider with a history of innovation. I encourage energy marketers to use BizFilings to comply with the CTA’s Beneficial Ownership requirements.”

Beyond the new BOI report offerings, BizFilings has a variety of services to support small business needs, including:

  • Business formation and incorporation services

  • Registered agent services

  • Business license research and filing

  • Annual report preparation and filing

  • Foreign qualification out-of-state registration

  • Certificate of good standing

  • And more

Wolters Kluwer BizFilings will host a webinar to assist EMA members navigate the filing website on Thursday, June 6 at 11am EST.

Click Here to Register for the June 6 Webinar

Special EMA Members Code for NACS Show 2024 Registration

Registration is now open for the 2024 NACS Show in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 7-10.

Click Here to Register for the NACS Show and Use the EMA Promocode:EMANS2024

If you have already registered, please provide your full name, company, state and date you registered to Susan Isard so we can work with NACS to get you re-coded.


EMA Registration Code

EMANS2024

Using this code provides EMA with $100 for every retailer or jobber paid registration. And to assist with early registrations, this special code will extend the Early Bird rate until June 7, 2024, for anyone who uses the code as well as providing the $100 for anyone registering at any rate after the Early Bird rate expires. EMA encourages EMA state execs to promote and share with your state association’s member companies. Please see attached flyer.

**Please note that EMA State Execs are comped for NACS Show registration, and this link will be sent directly to them in the near future. Additionally, the NACS Show registration is separate from EMA’s Fall Meeting registration.

Questions registering? Contact NACS Show registration customer service at nacs@maritz.com or 469-513-9489, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST, for assistance.

EMA Legal Reminder: VISA/MasterCard Settlement Administrator Accepting Claims Forms Now through August 30, 2024

After the VISA/MasterCard case was filed over 18 years ago, and over 5 years since the court approved the September 18, 2018 Class Settlement Agreement, the Class Administrator of the $5.5 billion payment card interchange fee settlement fund has mailed out claim forms to retailers/marketers who may be eligible for a share of the Settlement Fund. On May 14, 2024, the Court granted an extension of the claims-filing deadline. The deadline to submit claims is August 30, 2024.

  1. CLAIMANTS must have accepted VISA and/or MasterCard as payment for their sales of goods or services between January 1, 2004 and January 25, 2019. Claim Forms must be submitted by August 30, 2024.

    If you received a Claim Form in the mail and want to file a claim online using the Claimant ID provided, please click the “Submit a Claim” button” at this link: https://www.paymentcardsettlement.com/en.

  2. Branded marketers should submit a claim, for branded sales, even though there is currently a dispute about whether they or their branded supplier is entitled to recover the settlement share for credit card sales through their branded supplier’s respective systems. As previously reported by the Energy Marketers of America (EMA), a Special Master has been appointed by the court to hear appeals from denials of eligibility, such as claim denials based on the alleged status of branded retailers as indirect payers.

  3. THE CLAIMS The actual claim amount, per $ of sales approved, will be calculated after the Claims Administrator calculates the total amount of the claims submitted. If you receive a claim form in the mail, fill it out and return it to the Settlement Administrator in accordance with the instructions on the form using the assigned Claim ID number. If your claim is denied, you will be able to bring it before the Special Master for review. If you did not receive a form, you can access the settlement website below and enter your Tax ID number (TIN) to find out whether the Settlement Administrator considers you eligible at http://www.paymentcardsettlement.com/en/Login.

While EMA has not secured the procedures to be utilized by the Special Master, a determination of ineligibility obtained by accessing the above-referenced login information should be sufficient as a denial of your claim to warrant an appeal to the Special Master.

Please note that the “Court Approved Claim Form" is only 1 page long. Other than claimant identification, it only contains one substantive question. It requires a claimant to fill in the blank for "Class Period (January 1, 2004-January 25, 2019) Interchange Fees Paid.” Marketers should not need any assistance in completing or filing their claims. A fund this large attracts firms who think of inventive ways to obtain some of the settlement. We have heard from several marketers who have received solicitations to assist with their claims due to the anticipated long delay until payout. Given that this case was filed in 2005, the time until payout is unknown but it will likely be lengthy. Marketers may of course choose their own path but should understand that filing their claim form is simple.

If your claim is denied on the ground that you are an “indirect payer,” and you wish to lodge an appeal, you may want to first seek guidance from your attorney, although you are free to file your appeal without attorney assistance. The primary basis for any such appeal would be that you are, in fact, a direct payer of the interchange fees paid on each card transaction.

Comments and/or Questions? Please Contact EMA General Counsel: Bob Bassman, bbass@bmalaw.net or Al Alfano aalfano@bmalaw.net.

Inside the Beltway Update

The energy has clearly been sucked out of the Capitol now that EMA’s 2024 Day on the Hill is in the rearview mirror and, with members of Congress racing to get home for Memorial Day recess, this was a good week for members to clear the decks of anything outstanding and get out of Dodge. With that, members have taken some preliminary action on the Farm Bill and House leaders announced their timeline for floor consideration of FY 2025 appropriations legislation. They also passed several bills under suspension (though nothing particularly noteworthy for us). In the Senate, members voted again on the border security package that had been negotiated by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and the White House and, ultimately, stalled by former President Trump. The vote, which was largely seen as a destined-to-fail show vote, did exactly what everyone expected – failed. But Democrats who needed to take a position on border security can now do so and they can hammer Republicans for voting against it -- as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) intended.

Still, not all show votes are only for show—Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a Congressional Review Act (CRA) rule to overturn a Biden gas furnace regulation and, this week, it passed the Senate. Given Republican control of the House, it will likely pass there as well. While a CRA vote would be a win for the Texas Republican, eliminating the rule and preventing it from being reissued in similar form by this or any future administration, since it would require President Biden’s signature to take effect, that is unlikely, as it will not be able to achieve the two-third threshold to override a veto.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) introduced an amendment which would change the definition of legal hemp to only include non-intoxicating cannabinoids that are derived naturally from the cannabis plant. The amendment passed the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday by a voice vote. Currently, the definition of hemp — which was legalized in the 2018 farm bill — includes products that contain up to 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC.

Away from Congress, the EPA found a significant ally in Ford as the automaker voiced its support for the Administration’s tailpipe emissions standards. Ultimately, the determination is a business decision as Ford noted it has already taken steps to ensure compliance with the forthcoming standards, so it is not interested in seeing the standards change again. They only weighed in on the emissions component, however, leaving the issue of EV battery standards alone.

Following a long, productive session, we expect this Memorial Day recess to be treated seriously by lawmakers so we’re not expecting much action in the next week. Still, with President Trump’s New York trial possibly concluding, there will definitely be a lot of commentary on which to report. Regardless, we’ll be monitoring Washington to ensure you’re kept aware of any new developments, but, barring anything unforeseen, we hope you and your families are able to unplug and have an enjoyable holiday!

EMA Opposes Bill that Would Exempt Big Banks from Debit Fee Limits

Recently, EMA joined the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) in a letter to Congress expressing our strong opposition to H.R. 6398, a bill just introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) that would increase asset thresholds at which certain regulatory requirements apply to financial institutions. EMA’s opposition is due to Section 2(b) of the bill, which would exempt all financial institutions with assets of up to $50 billion from Federal Reserve Regulation II. Regulation II places reasonable limits on debit interchange fees that Visa and Mastercard centrally price-fix on behalf of card-issuing financial institutions and that merchants are required to pay on every debit card transaction.

EMA, along with MPC, opposes the legislation as long as Section 2(b) is included. There is no justifiable need to change the asset threshold for Regulation II, and H.R. 6398 would reward price-fixing, expand bank profit margins that already average 500 percent, and stick Main Street and consumers with $4-5 billion in increased prices.

Meanwhile, EMA subcommittee comments to the Federal Reserve’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing. EMA applauded the Fed for proposing the much needed and long overdue improvements to the debit interchange fee market. EMA urged the Board to move forward with its proposed rule, but the Board should reduce fee levels and include safeguards to prevent big bank manipulation of the process.

THANK YOU to EMA’s Partner Sponsors for Washington Conference!

EMA wants to give a huge THANK YOU to our EMA Board of Directors Council and Executive Committee Council Corporate Partner Sponsors: Federated Insurance, Reynolds American, Altria Group Distribution Company, Marathon Petroleum Company LP, Valero Energy Corporation, StoneX Financial Inc., Citgo Petroleum Corporation, ExxonMobil, Chevron, HF Sinclair, BP Products North America, Philip Morris International, AGI, Spirit Petroleum and Meridian Associates!

EMA and Washington Independent Distributors of Energy (WIDE) want to extend a distinct THANK YOU to HF Sinclair and Federated Insurance for the Reception honoring our 2024 EMA Chair Brad Bell.

We appreciate the loyalty and support of each of our EMA Corporate Partners and their continuous commitment to the energy sector. For more information on our Partner Programs, please contact Susan Isard.

Tired of Delayed IRS Tax Refunds?
EMA Member Service Benefit with IRS-Approved E-File Company ThinkTrade to Help Streamline IRS Tax Refunds

Last year, the Energy Marketers of America (EMA) announced an exclusive member service agreement with ThinkTrade, an IRS authorized e-filing service provider and a BBB accredited company with A+ rating, enabling safe and secured filing for taxpayers. ThinkTrade will grant EMA member companies a 15 percent discount off ThinkTrade’s e-filing services through a dedicated landing page to prepare, file and pay federal excise tax returns on IRS Forms 720, 8849 and 2290.

With over two decades of experience serving customers, ThinkTrade has a proven track record of delivering savings and support to trucking companies of all types and sizes when filing federal excise taxes. Energy marketers will also have access to ThinkTrade’s dedicated 24/7/365 support team, which provides one point of contact for all e-filing service needs.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ThinkTrade and EMA’s LANDING PAGE TO FILE TAXES

Main Street Privacy Coalition (MSPC) Urges Lawmakers to Oppose the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024 (APRA)

This week, the Main Street Privacy Coalition (MSPC) sent a letter to Congress regarding its concerns with inclusion of a private right of action language that will expose Main Street businesses to thousands of demand letters threatening frivolous litigation currently included in the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024 (APRA). In its current draft form, the APRA would allow persons or classes of persons to bring a civil action in federal court seeking actual damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs. A federal data privacy law enforced by such a robust PRA that targets consumer-facing businesses will only result in lawful Main Street businesses being forced to fight never-ending lawsuits pursued on baseless allegations instead of truly protecting consumers and their personal data from bad actors. Additionally, the need to reallocate resources to pay settlements or fight lawsuits without merit will cost Americans jobs. Click here to read the letter.

Weekend Reads

NOAA 2024 hurricane season forecast warns of more storms than ever. Here's why. - CBS Miami (cbsnews.com)

Renewable diesel glut hits US refiner profits, threatens nascent industry | Reuters

Auto industry experts warn Biden's EV mandate may limit gas car options in the future | Fox News

Gavin Newsom’s Battleground Gift to Donald Trump | Wall Street Journal

Cost of Biden draining our Strategic Petroleum Reserve | The Washington Times

When regulators make it impossible to find or afford the product you want, it’s a ban | Washington Examiner

Tesla's once-stellar reputation is running out of juice | Axios

Federated Insurance: Risk Management Corner
Have You Reviewed Your Company Driving Policy?

Driving while distracted remains a significant factor in crashes resulting in fatalities. In 2022 alone, 42,795 people were killed on American roads.1

This year, as we observed National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, Federated Insurance® urges its member clients to rally around the message: Protect Your Drivers and Your Reputation. This serves as a poignant reminder that a single fatal accident could have your logo on it.

To read the article, including resources, in its entirety, please click here.

Please always feel free to contact your Federated regional representative or EMA’s new National Account Executive Patrick Cunningham at 507.455.8935 for any additional information or risk management questions. Federated is a Partner in EMA’s Board of Directors Council.

1 NHTSA Estimates for 2022 Show Roadway Fatalities Remain Flat After Two Years of Dramatic Increases, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA Early Estimates: 2022 Traffic Crash Deaths | NHTSA.

At Federated Insurance, It’s Our Business to Protect Yours®

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2024 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.