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Newsletter
Volume 94
September 1, 2011
MAGIE Celebrates
MAGIE Celebrates Thirty Years
Thirty years ago, members of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association developed an idea to host a special event to showcase technological advances in the equipment side of the ag retail industry. They gave the show a friendly name: MAGIE (Midwest AG Industries Exposition) and she has aged beautifully over the years. Today, we look back at the first MAGIE show in 1982 in awe of how much has changed since then. MAGIE provides a front-row seat to evolution in our industry. Through 30 years of changing technologies, MAGIE has been the venue in the Central U.S. to see what the equipment and service providers have to offer to the ag retail sector. The changes over the years in equipment has been drastic, but MAGIE has been a constant, welcoming people from around the country to her unique atmosphere that embraces all that is great about the supply and service sector of the ag industry.
Looking back, MAGIE has given something special to all of us in this industry and our congratulations extend to Jean Payne, Kevin Runkle and Leslie Forrest for their commitment in continuing the tradition of MAGIE!
DHS Proposes Ammonium Nitrate Regulations
DHS has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in order to implement the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act of 2007. DHS has established a 120-day comment period, which ends on December 1, 2011. This new regulation will require sellers and purchasers of ammonium nitrate to:
  1. Acquire a registration number from DHS in order to sell, transfer and/or purchase ammonium nitrate.
  2. Requires applicants who sell, transfer or purchase ammonium nitrate to conduct a background check using the Terrorist Screening Database.
  3. Requires DHS to issue an ammonium nitrate registration number for each ammonium nitrate seller or purchaser upon completion of an application to DHS.
  4. Requires ammonium nitrate sellers to verify each potential ammonium nitrate purchaser's identification and registration number prior to selling product.
  5. Requires all ammonium nitrate facilities to keep records of sales or transfers of ammonium nitrate for at least two years after each transaction.
  6. Certain ammonium nitrate sellers must report the theft or loss of certain quantities of ammonium nitrate to Federal authorities within 24 hours of discovering the theft or loss.
Comments will be accepted through December 1, 2011 if identified by docket number 2008-0076, and submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); or by mail at: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (NPPD/ISCD), 245 Murray Lane, SW., Mail Stop 0610, Arlington, VA 20598-0610. Click here for more information.
Safety School Program - TopNotch!
Safety School Program
With over 100 attendees, the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School (NAEHSS) held its 33rd annual meeting on August 23th and 24th in Bloomington, IL. This year's day and a half meeting was kicked off with keynote speaker Daren Coppock, President and CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association. Daren discussed the future of the industry and other regulatory issues we are facing. Following, were many nationally noted speakers addressing key EH&S issues. Terry Pollard, Investigator with PHMSA's Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement, discussed nurse tank inspections and the most common violations being sited. Participants were given a thorough overview of the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule that goes into effect November 10, 2011 by Mark Howard with the U.S. EPA's Office of Emergency Management. If you have responsibilities within the EH&S field at your facility, NAEHSS is the best source of information in the United States for this type of information.
OSHA Issues Grain Bin Hazard Alert
On August 18, 2011, OSHA issued a specific "hazard alert" on dangers of engulfment and suffocation in grain bins - another signal of the agency's increasing concern about, and enforcement of, this aspect of the grain handling facility safety standard. In a press release accompanying the hazard alert, OSHA called grain handling a "high-hazard industry where workers can be exposed to serious and life threatening hazards, such as suffocation from engulfment and entrapment, fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, falls from heights and crushing injuries, and amputations from grain handling equipment". "Suffocation from engulfment is the leading cause of death in grain bins and the number of tragedies continues to climb," OSHA Administrator David Michaels said in the release. "They can be avoided if owners and operators use well-known safety measures that are proven to prevent workers from being killed or seriously injured." Click here for a copy of the hazard alert issued by OSHA.
Key Deadline Passes for Refillable Pesticide Container and Repackaging Requirements
As the final August 16th implementation date of EPA's Pesticide Container and Containment (PCC) rule passes, retailers are being warned to take the rule seriously. U.S. EPA has actively reached out to educate the industry for more than three years. The primary objectives of EPA's rule:
  • Refillers must utilize prescribed procedures to clean refillable containers, and
  • Develop and provide all refill locations with a description of acceptable containers that meet the requirements for stationary tanks and portable refillable containers, and
  • Ensure that portable refillable containers are marked with a serial number or other identifying code, have a one-way valve, tamper-evident device, or both on all openings, and
  • Ensure that containers meet DOT's design, construction and marking requirements.
CropLife America has developed guidance for safely cleaning refillable pesticide containers for reuse or rededication, and a description of acceptable containers that may be provided to refillers in order to meet requirements of the rule. This guidance should only be used if it is authorized by the registrant of the product in the container. Electronic versions of these and additional supporting documents are available here. Click here for more information from CropLife America.
The requirements of EPA's PCC rule have been phased in since it was finalized in 2006. The final phase of implementation went into effect on August 16, 2011. After this date, registrants will be required to incorporate new container management language on the labels of products released for shipment. Pesticide users will be required to follow the new container management instructions as soon as they appear on the labels; stationary tanks and portable refillable containers will also be required to be compliant with the PCC rule. The labels on non-refillable containers must contain recycling or reconditioning instructions, and refillable container labels are required to list instructions for cleaning the container. Click here for more information on EPA's website.
Professional Applicator Course Launched
Applicator Course Launched
Asmark Institute's new mobile course was launched at the 2011 MAGIE Show in Bloomington, IL. The new course will be a day of hands-on instruction with demonstrations capable of being offered remotely throughout the U.S. Dr. Bob Wolf is recognized for his knowledge of application technologies and will be the lead instructor. Training is geared to commercial handlers and/or applicators and the management that supervise them. This course has been almost two years in development and utilizes more than $250,000 in equipment and technology. The course includes fresh new handout materials and tracking of continuing education credits.
New List of Lists Released July 2011
U.S. EPA revised the Consolidated List of Lists and released the new document in July 2011. Click here to access a copy.
Health Care Law Headed to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is likely to decide by January whether a ruling on the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health law will come before or after the November 2012 election. A federal appeals court in Atlanta recently struck down the law's requirement for most Americans to carry health insurance. It conflicted with another appellate ruling upholding the law, and makes it a virtual certainty the Supreme Court will step in to resolve the dispute. What isn't certain is whether a high court decision would come before the end of its 2011-12 term next June. If the justices agree by January to hear an appeal, arguments likely will occur in March or April, with a decision before July. Under normal practice, any case accepted after January gets kicked into the next term.
Illinois SOS Office Requiring New Medical Card Certification
According to the Illinois Secretary of State Office, any person applying for a CDL for the first time and/or renewing their current CDL on or after January 30, 2012 must certify, for medical card purposes, with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office no later than January 30, 2014. In order to self-certify, applicants must appear at any of the Secretary of State's CDL facilities and certify one of the following four categories as part of the new medical card requirement:
  1. Non-excepted interstate (NI)
  2. Excepted interstate (EI)
  3. Non-Excepted intrastate (NA)
  4. Excepted intrastate (EA)
ATA Proposes Elimination of Redundant Security Rules
The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently asked Congress to direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry rather than issuing excessive, burdensome and duplicative security rules. "The private sector is an essential partner and part of the solution for combating terrorism," ATA Vice President of Security and Operations, Martin Rojas, told the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security during a July 12th hearing. "We don't need more regulation, we need more cooperation."
Rojas told the subcommittee that in the decade since the September 11th terrorist attacks, there have been a number of programs initiated to minimize the risk of another attack on U.S. soil, that while "well intended . . . have resulted in a multiplicity of overlapping and burdensome security requirements on trucking companies." In addition to limiting future security mandates, Rojas recommended that as Congress looks to reauthorize TSA, they encourage information sharing between the public and private sectors; improve coordination between federal agencies, many of whom already play a role in transportation security; and ensure that the roll out of readers for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential moves forward promptly.
Electronic Service Program (ESP) Works to offset Freight Costs
With FedEx Freight set to hike rates 6.75% and many of the other major national and regional freight carriers set to follow suit, the increases in the cost of sending freight and even mail is increasing at a more rapid pace. FedEx's new rate announcement in the middle of the year prompted us to check in on the Electronic Service Program (ESP) to see how clients are doing. ESP clients are realizing the savings equal to or exceeding what was anticipated when the program was announced last winter. If you haven't considered ESP for your facility, you will have another chance in the upcoming annual compliance visit this winter.
Requirement for 0.2 Percent Water in Anhydrous Ammonia
DOT inspectors have been auditing ammonia production facilities to ensure compliance with 49 C.F.R., Section 173.315(l) which requires 0.2 percent water in all anhydrous ammonia offered for transportation or transported. DOT has indicated they believe that incorrect water amounts in ammonia is causing nurse tank failures in Iowa. Because of the recent failure of a nurse tank, DOT has initiated a research effort at Iowa State University and has discovered stress corrosion cracking in several sample tanks which could be attributed to the lack of the required amount of water in the ammonia. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has issued a reminder to all ammonia facilities (that will offered ammonia for transportation) of the regulatory obligation in 49 CFR, Section 173.315(l).
NOTE: Speculation within the industry is that a more likely scenario is occurring - that after testing the nurse tanks, some retailers may not immediately fill them with ammonia, thus allowing the water from the testing process to sit in the vessel and cause corrosion. It is very important to fill the tanks with ammonia immediately after the testing process. If filling the tank isn't possible, a minimal amount should be transferred into the vessel.
QRC
Quick Response Codes (QRC)
You see them everywhere! Ohio's brand new state roadmap, unveiled last week at the Ohio State Fair, now features a QR Code on the back. You may have started seeing these square black and white bar-code-like images on printed ad material lately and wondered what they're for. The QR code on this map enables Smartphone and mobile device users to scan the code and get instant access to real-time traffic information such as weather, construction delays and other travel information. The Asmark Institute will be introducing QR Codes this fall as it rolls out the new Professional Applicator Training course. Other planned uses are for products like the Vehicle Maintenance File folders - the QR Code will take the user directly to the instructions and helpful information.
CropLife America Warns of Counterfeit Pesticides
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an interesting article, "Fake Pesticides Are A Growing Danger." The writer, Caroline Henshaw, discusses the illegal trade of counterfeit pesticides that has now developed into a profitable industry in Europe. These untested products risk the lives of consumers and the livelihoods of farmers. This growing issue is now gaining more attention within European Parliament, with lobbyists pushing for a system similar to that in the U.S., regarding the seizure and disposal of counterfeit pesticides. Both CropLife International and the European Crop Protection Association are involved in this effort, and CLA intends to sign on to a Chamber of Commerce letter against rogue websites where fake products are sold.
EPA Updates Chemical Reporting Rule
The TSCA Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule becomes Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule. EPA is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers. The new rule, known as the Chemical Data Reporting rule, also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The CDR Rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Update Rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. EPA says the improved information will allow it to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals. Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.
EPA Officials Make Unannounced Visit to Eastern Kentucky
Last week, officials from U.S. EPA made an unannounced visit to eastern Kentucky to tour four cities including the city of Lynch, which has two mines waiting for surface mine permits. Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 4 in Atlanta, and Lisa Garcia, Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, on a self-proclaimed "environmental justice tour," made the visit to listen to the concerns of citizens identified by groups opposing mountain top removal. The trip was unannounced to members of the media with the exception of one public radio station in Louisville. Federal, state and local lawmakers also found themselves in the dark about federal officials touring part of the state.
Congressman Hal Rogers, whose district includes the cities EPA toured, expressed his feelings on the visit: "I'm thrilled EPA is suddenly taking an interest in southern and eastern Kentucky. I'm hopeful this means my many congressional requests for answers, Congress' repeated calls for restraint, the petitions of coal miners to stop the attacks and pleas from mining families to end the permit moratorium will be addressed. Unfortunately, this looks like a blatantly political listening tour from people they only want to hear from." "My problem with the federal EPA is that I think they have an agenda, and I think they are tied to groups that have an agenda," said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. Since 2009, the EPA has failed to act on over 200 water permits awaiting approval for Appalachian coal mines. The majority of those permits are for mines located in Kentucky and West Virginia. A recent congressional report said if EPA continues to hold the mining permits for Kentucky, the state will lose an estimated $127 million in tax revenue annually.
Why is an accurate MCS-150 so important in the CSA system?
In DOT's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system, there are two BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) that use power unit count and mileage to determine a carrier's BASIC scores. Where do these two BASICs get the information on the carrier's power units and mileage? From the MCS-150 form provided by the motor carrier. The accuracy of the BASIC Measures is highly dependent on the MCS-150s the carrier has filed over the last 18 months. If the MCS-150s are not accurate, then the BASIC Measures are not accurate. The problem is that when the carrier goes through the final phase in the BASIC scoring process, the number that is being used in the comparison to determine the carrier's score leads to an inaccurate "percentile ranking" (score).
Keep it current! The DOT regulations require that a carrier file an updated MCS-150 every two years. The exact month and year the update must be filed is determined by the last two digits of the carrier's US DOT number. However, it is also recommended a carrier file an updated MCS-150 whenever there is a significant change in the carrier's operations (such as a significant change in power unit count or a mileage total for the latest calendar year that is significantly different).
Fertilizer Theft Prompts Bomb Fears
Tampa, Florida - A storage facility in the Port of Tampa reported having 125,000 pounds of fertilizer stolen worth more than $20,000. The theft was described as a major security breach in light of the fact that one of the stolen loads contained 50,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the same fertilizer used to make the bomb at the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1994. Investigators believe the fertilizer in this case was sold to unsuspecting farmers for agricultural use. The theft took place at the Kinder Morgan Storage Facility. Detectives say it was an inside job and arrested plant manager Scott Stevens, along with three other employees. Investigators say Stevens hired several truckers in the area to move the stolen merchandise and sell it to unsuspecting area farmers. They said the truckers would get a cut of the money. Emily Thompson, a Kinder Morgan spokesperson, said the company only learned about the theft after deputies arrested the employees.
FMCSA Issues Alert About Aggressive Marketing Attempts
DOT has received numerous inquiries regarding companies using aggressive marketing tactics to sell supervisor training to employers who may be subject to the drug and alcohol testing requirements. DOT issued notice that they are not familiar with these companies nor the training they are offering. 49 CFR §382.603 requires supervisors of CDL drivers to take 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of alcohol abuse and another 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of controlled substances use. The purpose is to qualify supervisors for determining when reasonable suspicion testing is needed.
Employers Still Responsible for Taxes When Outsourcing Payroll Responsibilities
Many employers outsource some of their payroll and related tax duties to third-party payroll service providers. They can help assure filing deadlines and deposit requirements are met and greatly streamline business operations. As part of those arrangements, employers may designate or enter into an agreement with a third party in which the third party agrees to take over some or all of the employer's Federal employment tax withholding, reporting and payment responsibilities and obligations. But remember, employers are ultimately responsible for the payment of income tax withheld and both the employer and employee portions of social security and Medicare taxes.
DOT Weighs in on Transportation of Agricultural Products
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products. The agency also released guidance designed to make sure states clearly understand the common sense exemptions that allow farmers, their employees and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market. After hearing from concerned farmers earlier this year, FMCSA initiated this review to make sure states don't go overboard in enforcing regulations on agricultural operators, and to ensure consistent access to exemptions for farmers. No regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm.
This guidance - which does not impose any new rules on farmers - follows the Federal Register public notice which FMCSA issued on May 31, 2011, asking farmers, farm organizations and the public to give input on the agency's longstanding safety rules. Earlier this year, farm groups approached FMCSA with concerns that some states might not allow exemptions to Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements for certain farm operations using "crop-share" leasing. When FMCSA investigated, there appeared to be wide differences among states in how the "for-hire" and related agricultural exceptions were being applied. In order to ensure consistency, FMCSA asked state officials to cease all new entrant safety audits on farmers engaged in "crop-share" leasing and issued the public notice soliciting input that would provide insight on the complex use of farm equipment on public roads. The guidance released today, which is based on that input, clarifies three critical issues:
  • Interstate vs. intrastate commerce. Since the difference between the two has been determined by the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal courts, FMCSA has limited flexibility to provide additional guidelines. The Agency has concluded that new regulatory guidance concerning the distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce is not necessary. Generally, the states and the industry have a common understanding on this point. To the extent that fact-specific questions arise, the Agency will work with the states and the industry to provide a clarification for the specific scenario.
  • Commercial Driver's License. Federal regulations allow states to make exceptions to Commercial Driver's License (CDL) regulations for certain farm vehicle drivers such as farm employees and family members, as long as their vehicles are not used by "for-hire" motor carriers. Some states have questioned whether this exemption applies to drivers who work for "crop share" or similar arrangements. FMCSA's notice includes guidance to ensure consistent application of the exemption. After considering the public comments, the Agency has determined that farmers who rent their land for a share of the crops and haul their own and the landlord's crops to market, should have access to the agricultural CDL exemptions given by the states.
  • Implements of Husbandry. In a perfect world, farm vehicles would only operate on farms, while commercial trucks would operate on public roads. The reality is that farm equipment that is not designed or intended for everyday use on public roads is often used for short trips at limited speeds. This creates a gray area for classification. After considering the public comments, FMCSA has determined that most states have already adopted common sense enforcement practices that allow farmers to safely move equipment to and from their fields. In areas where farm implements are common, the enforcement community and the agricultural community have achieved a mutual understanding of which safety regulations should apply to farm equipment on their public roads.
Click here to review a complete copy of DOT's press release.
$30,000 Grant to Help Ammonia Facilities in Iowa Comply with Regulations
EPA has awarded the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) $30,000 to assist with outreach, education and implementation of the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program. All fertilizer facilities that handle, process or store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are subject to EPA's chemical safety requirements. There are approximately 700 agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa. "This grant is designed to prevent releases and protect the health and safety of area residents, and enhance communications with local emergency responders and regulated facilities," said Karl Brooks, Regional Administrator for Regional 7 EPA. "IDALS is receiving this funding to conduct on-site audits, workshops and follow-up safety assessments at agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa." EPA Region 7 receives more accidental release reports for ammonia than for any other chemical. In addition to releases caused by transportation accidents, human error and equipment failure, a number of releases have been caused by anhydrous ammonia thefts.
FFA Receives $1.9 Million to Build an Agricultural Career Network
Microsoft Corporation has donated nearly $1.9 million of software, training and support to the National FFA Organization for the creation of a new online network to help students track educational successes, pursue awards and scholarships and ultimately obtain careers in the agriculture industry. The Agricultural Career Network will be an online portal that students can use starting in middle school, through college and beyond to track their educational accomplishments, activities and awards. It will also allow students to build resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, connect with potential employers and pursue employment opportunities.
"Microsoft's generosity and support gives us the utmost confidence that the Agricultural Career Network will deliver world-class service to FFA members, their teachers and FFA alumni to help them efficiently and professionally document their educational and career progress and achievements," said Mark Cavell, Chief Technical Officer at the National FFA Organization. "We envision the network will be a powerful resource that students can use now and well into their futures as agriculture-industry leaders."
"We applaud FFA for its launch of the Agricultural Career Network" said Staci Trackey Meagher, General Manager for Microsoft's Midwest District. "Microsoft has long believed that inside each and every person there is great potential. To continue increasing digital inclusion, we are committed to providing technology, tools and resources to these organizations and are honored we can assist the FFA with this key initiative."
Federal Labor Law Poster Update: (Click here to order.)
National Labor Relations Act Notice - Effective November 2011
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a Final Rule that requires employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Private-sector employers, including labor organizations, are now required to post the NLRA employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. This new poster must be posted no later than November 14, 2011. The notice states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints. This includes a material substantive change and a new Federal Labor Law Poster is required.
State Labor Law Poster Updates: (Click here to order.)
Arizona - Work Exposure to MRSA - Effective July 2011
The Work Exposure to MRSA change is a substantive change and requires a new poster. Arizona has increased the number of days allowed for reporting exposure from 10 days to 30. Also, the time limit for receiving a diagnosis of MRSA was increased from "2 to 10" to 15 days. There were also cosmetic changes to the notice. This includes a material substantive change and a new Arizona Labor Law Poster is required.
California - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2011
California made changes to the types of employees who may not receive unemployment benefits during specific times of the year. According to the California Industrial Welfare Commission, all California employers must post the updated version of the DE 1857D, Notice to Employees - Unemployment Insurance Benefits. This includes a material substantive change and a new California Labor Law Poster is required.
Connecticut - Discrimination is Illegal - Effective July 2011
Connecticut has added transgender status to classes protected from discrimination in Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations and Credit Transactions. The phrase "mental retardation" was changed to "intellectual disability." This includes a material substantive change and a new Connecticut Labor Law Poster is required.
Louisiana - E-Verify - Effective August 2011
E-Verify is required of any employers doing business with state or local governments in Louisiana and they must continue using the system through the term of the contract. In a separate law, it is required that all employers verify that employees are legally able to work in the United States. Employers must choose to either use E-Verify or check multiple forms of identification from the new hire, which must be kept on file. The bill states that employers who chose to use E-Verify to check the status of new hires have acted in "good faith" and are protected from prosecution. This is a material substantive change and an E-Verify & Right to Work Poster is required for all employers in Louisiana who utilize the E-Verify system. Both are required to be posted in English and Spanish.
Massachusetts - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2011
Massachusetts has revised the schedule for calling in to file for unemployment claims. Part of this rescheduling eliminated Saturday from the schedule entirely. They also changed the name of the department over Unemployment Insurance from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Department of Unemployment Assistance. This includes a material substantive change and a new Massachusetts Labor Law Poster is required.
Missouri - Discrimination in Employment, Housing and Public Accommodations Notices - Effective July 2011
The new posters clarify certain acts that are prohibited by the Human Rights Act. It now explicitly bars discrimination in Job advertisements, Testing, Transfers etc. whereas these were only implied on the previous posters. On the Housing and Public Accommodation posters also add more explicit mention of prohibited discriminatory acts (such as Sexual Harassment or advertising that implies a discriminatory limitation or preference).
The Discrimination in Housing and Public Accommodations, two separate notices, are now to be sold as stand alones. The Housing Poster is required for any business engaged in the renting or selling of housing. The Public Accommodations Poster is required for any business open to the public. Both posters must be posted in a place visible to the public (customers), not just employees, this is the reason they are now 11" x 17" (the required size for all of the Discrimination Posters) stand alones. This includes a material substantive change and a new Missouri Labor Law Poster is required.
Nevada - Overtime Information - Effective August 2011
Updated Overtime Pay Notice for 2011. This includes a material substantive change and a new Nevada Labor Law Poster is required.
South Carolina - E-Verify - Effective January 2012
The South Carolina immigration law has been changed. Effective January 1, 2012, employers will be required to use E-Verify to ensure their employees are legally able to work. The way the law was previously written allowed employers to verify status by an ID or driver's license; this will no longer suffice. This is a material substantive change and an E-Verify & Right to Work Poster is required for all employers in South Carolina. Both are required to be posted in English and Spanish.
Utah - Unemployment Insurance - Effective August 2011
The Utah Department of Workforce Services has greatly expanded their description of the "No Fee Employment Services" offered to unemployed persons in the state. This description now includes; job referrals, career counseling, workshops, employer recruitment, Veterans' services, labor market information, job training/internships, supportive services, financial assistance, medical assistance, childcare assistance, unemployment assistance, emergency assistance, referrals to community and other resources. This includes a material substantive change and a new Utah Labor Law Poster is required.
Wisconsin - Hours and Times Minors May Work - Effective July 2011
Wisconsin made changes to the list of hours and times during which minors may or may not work. Multiple changes were made including the reduction of school day work hours to three and the reduction of permitted time of day to 7am - 7pm (between Labor Day and May 31st). Meal period requirements were also added. The separate listing of Federal and State laws was removed. This includes a material substantive change and a new Wisconsin Labor Law Poster is required.
2011 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.
MAGIE Celebrates
MAGIE Celebrates Thirty Years
Thirty years ago, members of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association developed an idea to host a special event to showcase technological advances in the equipment side of the ag retail industry. They gave the show a friendly name: MAGIE (Midwest AG Industries Exposition) and she has aged beautifully over the years. Today, we look back at the first MAGIE show in 1982 in awe of how much has changed since then. MAGIE provides a front-row seat to evolution in our industry. Through 30 years of changing technologies, MAGIE has been the venue in the Central U.S. to see what the equipment and service providers have to offer to the ag retail sector. The changes over the years in equipment has been drastic, but MAGIE has been a constant, welcoming people from around the country to her unique atmosphere that embraces all that is great about the supply and service sector of the ag industry.
Looking back, MAGIE has given something special to all of us in this industry and our congratulations extend to Jean Payne, Kevin Runkle and Leslie Forrest for their commitment in continuing the tradition of MAGIE!
DHS Proposes Ammonium Nitrate Regulations
DHS has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in order to implement the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act of 2007. DHS has established a 120-day comment period, which ends on December 1, 2011. This new regulation will require sellers and purchasers of ammonium nitrate to:
  1. Acquire a registration number from DHS in order to sell, transfer and/or purchase ammonium nitrate.
  2. Requires applicants who sell, transfer or purchase ammonium nitrate to conduct a background check using the Terrorist Screening Database.
  3. Requires DHS to issue an ammonium nitrate registration number for each ammonium nitrate seller or purchaser upon completion of an application to DHS.
  4. Requires ammonium nitrate sellers to verify each potential ammonium nitrate purchaser's identification and registration number prior to selling product.
  5. Requires all ammonium nitrate facilities to keep records of sales or transfers of ammonium nitrate for at least two years after each transaction.
  6. Certain ammonium nitrate sellers must report the theft or loss of certain quantities of ammonium nitrate to Federal authorities within 24 hours of discovering the theft or loss.
Comments will be accepted through December 1, 2011 if identified by docket number 2008-0076, and submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); or by mail at: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (NPPD/ISCD), 245 Murray Lane, SW., Mail Stop 0610, Arlington, VA 20598-0610. Click here for more information.
Safety School Program - TopNotch!
Safety School Program
With over 100 attendees, the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School (NAEHSS) held its 33rd annual meeting on August 23th and 24th in Bloomington, IL. This year's day and a half meeting was kicked off with keynote speaker Daren Coppock, President and CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association. Daren discussed the future of the industry and other regulatory issues we are facing. Following, were many nationally noted speakers addressing key EH&S issues. Terry Pollard, Investigator with PHMSA's Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement, discussed nurse tank inspections and the most common violations being sited. Participants were given a thorough overview of the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule that goes into effect November 10, 2011 by Mark Howard with the U.S. EPA's Office of Emergency Management. If you have responsibilities within the EH&S field at your facility, NAEHSS is the best source of information in the United States for this type of information.
OSHA Issues Grain Bin Hazard Alert
On August 18, 2011, OSHA issued a specific "hazard alert" on dangers of engulfment and suffocation in grain bins - another signal of the agency's increasing concern about, and enforcement of, this aspect of the grain handling facility safety standard. In a press release accompanying the hazard alert, OSHA called grain handling a "high-hazard industry where workers can be exposed to serious and life threatening hazards, such as suffocation from engulfment and entrapment, fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, falls from heights and crushing injuries, and amputations from grain handling equipment". "Suffocation from engulfment is the leading cause of death in grain bins and the number of tragedies continues to climb," OSHA Administrator David Michaels said in the release. "They can be avoided if owners and operators use well-known safety measures that are proven to prevent workers from being killed or seriously injured." Click here for a copy of the hazard alert issued by OSHA.
Key Deadline Passes for Refillable Pesticide Container and Repackaging Requirements
As the final August 16th implementation date of EPA's Pesticide Container and Containment (PCC) rule passes, retailers are being warned to take the rule seriously. U.S. EPA has actively reached out to educate the industry for more than three years. The primary objectives of EPA's rule:
  • Refillers must utilize prescribed procedures to clean refillable containers, and
  • Develop and provide all refill locations with a description of acceptable containers that meet the requirements for stationary tanks and portable refillable containers, and
  • Ensure that portable refillable containers are marked with a serial number or other identifying code, have a one-way valve, tamper-evident device, or both on all openings, and
  • Ensure that containers meet DOT's design, construction and marking requirements.
CropLife America has developed guidance for safely cleaning refillable pesticide containers for reuse or rededication, and a description of acceptable containers that may be provided to refillers in order to meet requirements of the rule. This guidance should only be used if it is authorized by the registrant of the product in the container. Electronic versions of these and additional supporting documents are available here. Click here for more information from CropLife America.
The requirements of EPA's PCC rule have been phased in since it was finalized in 2006. The final phase of implementation went into effect on August 16, 2011. After this date, registrants will be required to incorporate new container management language on the labels of products released for shipment. Pesticide users will be required to follow the new container management instructions as soon as they appear on the labels; stationary tanks and portable refillable containers will also be required to be compliant with the PCC rule. The labels on non-refillable containers must contain recycling or reconditioning instructions, and refillable container labels are required to list instructions for cleaning the container. Click here for more information on EPA's website.
Professional Applicator Course Launched
Applicator Course Launched
Asmark Institute's new mobile course was launched at the 2011 MAGIE Show in Bloomington, IL. The new course will be a day of hands-on instruction with demonstrations capable of being offered remotely throughout the U.S. Dr. Bob Wolf is recognized for his knowledge of application technologies and will be the lead instructor. Training is geared to commercial handlers and/or applicators and the management that supervise them. This course has been almost two years in development and utilizes more than $250,000 in equipment and technology. The course includes fresh new handout materials and tracking of continuing education credits.
New List of Lists Released July 2011
U.S. EPA revised the Consolidated List of Lists and released the new document in July 2011. Click here to access a copy.
Health Care Law Headed to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is likely to decide by January whether a ruling on the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health law will come before or after the November 2012 election. A federal appeals court in Atlanta recently struck down the law's requirement for most Americans to carry health insurance. It conflicted with another appellate ruling upholding the law, and makes it a virtual certainty the Supreme Court will step in to resolve the dispute. What isn't certain is whether a high court decision would come before the end of its 2011-12 term next June. If the justices agree by January to hear an appeal, arguments likely will occur in March or April, with a decision before July. Under normal practice, any case accepted after January gets kicked into the next term.
Illinois SOS Office Requiring New Medical Card Certification
According to the Illinois Secretary of State Office, any person applying for a CDL for the first time and/or renewing their current CDL on or after January 30, 2012 must certify, for medical card purposes, with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office no later than January 30, 2014. In order to self-certify, applicants must appear at any of the Secretary of State's CDL facilities and certify one of the following four categories as part of the new medical card requirement:
  1. Non-excepted interstate (NI)
  2. Excepted interstate (EI)
  3. Non-Excepted intrastate (NA)
  4. Excepted intrastate (EA)
ATA Proposes Elimination of Redundant Security Rules
The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently asked Congress to direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry rather than issuing excessive, burdensome and duplicative security rules. "The private sector is an essential partner and part of the solution for combating terrorism," ATA Vice President of Security and Operations, Martin Rojas, told the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security during a July 12th hearing. "We don't need more regulation, we need more cooperation."
Rojas told the subcommittee that in the decade since the September 11th terrorist attacks, there have been a number of programs initiated to minimize the risk of another attack on U.S. soil, that while "well intended . . . have resulted in a multiplicity of overlapping and burdensome security requirements on trucking companies." In addition to limiting future security mandates, Rojas recommended that as Congress looks to reauthorize TSA, they encourage information sharing between the public and private sectors; improve coordination between federal agencies, many of whom already play a role in transportation security; and ensure that the roll out of readers for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential moves forward promptly.
Electronic Service Program (ESP) Works to offset Freight Costs
With FedEx Freight set to hike rates 6.75% and many of the other major national and regional freight carriers set to follow suit, the increases in the cost of sending freight and even mail is increasing at a more rapid pace. FedEx's new rate announcement in the middle of the year prompted us to check in on the Electronic Service Program (ESP) to see how clients are doing. ESP clients are realizing the savings equal to or exceeding what was anticipated when the program was announced last winter. If you haven't considered ESP for your facility, you will have another chance in the upcoming annual compliance visit this winter.
Requirement for 0.2 Percent Water in Anhydrous Ammonia
DOT inspectors have been auditing ammonia production facilities to ensure compliance with 49 C.F.R., Section 173.315(l) which requires 0.2 percent water in all anhydrous ammonia offered for transportation or transported. DOT has indicated they believe that incorrect water amounts in ammonia is causing nurse tank failures in Iowa. Because of the recent failure of a nurse tank, DOT has initiated a research effort at Iowa State University and has discovered stress corrosion cracking in several sample tanks which could be attributed to the lack of the required amount of water in the ammonia. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has issued a reminder to all ammonia facilities (that will offered ammonia for transportation) of the regulatory obligation in 49 CFR, Section 173.315(l).
NOTE: Speculation within the industry is that a more likely scenario is occurring - that after testing the nurse tanks, some retailers may not immediately fill them with ammonia, thus allowing the water from the testing process to sit in the vessel and cause corrosion. It is very important to fill the tanks with ammonia immediately after the testing process. If filling the tank isn't possible, a minimal amount should be transferred into the vessel.
QRC
Quick Response Codes (QRC)
You see them everywhere! Ohio's brand new state roadmap, unveiled last week at the Ohio State Fair, now features a QR Code on the back. You may have started seeing these square black and white bar-code-like images on printed ad material lately and wondered what they're for. The QR code on this map enables Smartphone and mobile device users to scan the code and get instant access to real-time traffic information such as weather, construction delays and other travel information. The Asmark Institute will be introducing QR Codes this fall as it rolls out the new Professional Applicator Training course. Other planned uses are for products like the Vehicle Maintenance File folders - the QR Code will take the user directly to the instructions and helpful information.
CropLife America Warns of Counterfeit Pesticides
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an interesting article, "Fake Pesticides Are A Growing Danger." The writer, Caroline Henshaw, discusses the illegal trade of counterfeit pesticides that has now developed into a profitable industry in Europe. These untested products risk the lives of consumers and the livelihoods of farmers. This growing issue is now gaining more attention within European Parliament, with lobbyists pushing for a system similar to that in the U.S., regarding the seizure and disposal of counterfeit pesticides. Both CropLife International and the European Crop Protection Association are involved in this effort, and CLA intends to sign on to a Chamber of Commerce letter against rogue websites where fake products are sold.
EPA Updates Chemical Reporting Rule
The TSCA Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule becomes Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule. EPA is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers. The new rule, known as the Chemical Data Reporting rule, also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The CDR Rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Update Rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. EPA says the improved information will allow it to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals. Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.
EPA Officials Make Unannounced Visit to Eastern Kentucky
Last week, officials from U.S. EPA made an unannounced visit to eastern Kentucky to tour four cities including the city of Lynch, which has two mines waiting for surface mine permits. Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 4 in Atlanta, and Lisa Garcia, Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, on a self-proclaimed "environmental justice tour," made the visit to listen to the concerns of citizens identified by groups opposing mountain top removal. The trip was unannounced to members of the media with the exception of one public radio station in Louisville. Federal, state and local lawmakers also found themselves in the dark about federal officials touring part of the state.
Congressman Hal Rogers, whose district includes the cities EPA toured, expressed his feelings on the visit: "I'm thrilled EPA is suddenly taking an interest in southern and eastern Kentucky. I'm hopeful this means my many congressional requests for answers, Congress' repeated calls for restraint, the petitions of coal miners to stop the attacks and pleas from mining families to end the permit moratorium will be addressed. Unfortunately, this looks like a blatantly political listening tour from people they only want to hear from." "My problem with the federal EPA is that I think they have an agenda, and I think they are tied to groups that have an agenda," said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. Since 2009, the EPA has failed to act on over 200 water permits awaiting approval for Appalachian coal mines. The majority of those permits are for mines located in Kentucky and West Virginia. A recent congressional report said if EPA continues to hold the mining permits for Kentucky, the state will lose an estimated $127 million in tax revenue annually.
Why is an accurate MCS-150 so important in the CSA system?
In DOT's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system, there are two BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) that use power unit count and mileage to determine a carrier's BASIC scores. Where do these two BASICs get the information on the carrier's power units and mileage? From the MCS-150 form provided by the motor carrier. The accuracy of the BASIC Measures is highly dependent on the MCS-150s the carrier has filed over the last 18 months. If the MCS-150s are not accurate, then the BASIC Measures are not accurate. The problem is that when the carrier goes through the final phase in the BASIC scoring process, the number that is being used in the comparison to determine the carrier's score leads to an inaccurate "percentile ranking" (score).
Keep it current! The DOT regulations require that a carrier file an updated MCS-150 every two years. The exact month and year the update must be filed is determined by the last two digits of the carrier's US DOT number. However, it is also recommended a carrier file an updated MCS-150 whenever there is a significant change in the carrier's operations (such as a significant change in power unit count or a mileage total for the latest calendar year that is significantly different).
Fertilizer Theft Prompts Bomb Fears
Tampa, Florida - A storage facility in the Port of Tampa reported having 125,000 pounds of fertilizer stolen worth more than $20,000. The theft was described as a major security breach in light of the fact that one of the stolen loads contained 50,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the same fertilizer used to make the bomb at the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1994. Investigators believe the fertilizer in this case was sold to unsuspecting farmers for agricultural use. The theft took place at the Kinder Morgan Storage Facility. Detectives say it was an inside job and arrested plant manager Scott Stevens, along with three other employees. Investigators say Stevens hired several truckers in the area to move the stolen merchandise and sell it to unsuspecting area farmers. They said the truckers would get a cut of the money. Emily Thompson, a Kinder Morgan spokesperson, said the company only learned about the theft after deputies arrested the employees.
FMCSA Issues Alert About Aggressive Marketing Attempts
DOT has received numerous inquiries regarding companies using aggressive marketing tactics to sell supervisor training to employers who may be subject to the drug and alcohol testing requirements. DOT issued notice that they are not familiar with these companies nor the training they are offering. 49 CFR §382.603 requires supervisors of CDL drivers to take 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of alcohol abuse and another 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of controlled substances use. The purpose is to qualify supervisors for determining when reasonable suspicion testing is needed.
Employers Still Responsible for Taxes When Outsourcing Payroll Responsibilities
Many employers outsource some of their payroll and related tax duties to third-party payroll service providers. They can help assure filing deadlines and deposit requirements are met and greatly streamline business operations. As part of those arrangements, employers may designate or enter into an agreement with a third party in which the third party agrees to take over some or all of the employer's Federal employment tax withholding, reporting and payment responsibilities and obligations. But remember, employers are ultimately responsible for the payment of income tax withheld and both the employer and employee portions of social security and Medicare taxes.
DOT Weighs in on Transportation of Agricultural Products
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products. The agency also released guidance designed to make sure states clearly understand the common sense exemptions that allow farmers, their employees and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market. After hearing from concerned farmers earlier this year, FMCSA initiated this review to make sure states don't go overboard in enforcing regulations on agricultural operators, and to ensure consistent access to exemptions for farmers. No regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm.
This guidance - which does not impose any new rules on farmers - follows the Federal Register public notice which FMCSA issued on May 31, 2011, asking farmers, farm organizations and the public to give input on the agency's longstanding safety rules. Earlier this year, farm groups approached FMCSA with concerns that some states might not allow exemptions to Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements for certain farm operations using "crop-share" leasing. When FMCSA investigated, there appeared to be wide differences among states in how the "for-hire" and related agricultural exceptions were being applied. In order to ensure consistency, FMCSA asked state officials to cease all new entrant safety audits on farmers engaged in "crop-share" leasing and issued the public notice soliciting input that would provide insight on the complex use of farm equipment on public roads. The guidance released today, which is based on that input, clarifies three critical issues:
  • Interstate vs. intrastate commerce. Since the difference between the two has been determined by the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal courts, FMCSA has limited flexibility to provide additional guidelines. The Agency has concluded that new regulatory guidance concerning the distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce is not necessary. Generally, the states and the industry have a common understanding on this point. To the extent that fact-specific questions arise, the Agency will work with the states and the industry to provide a clarification for the specific scenario.
  • Commercial Driver's License. Federal regulations allow states to make exceptions to Commercial Driver's License (CDL) regulations for certain farm vehicle drivers such as farm employees and family members, as long as their vehicles are not used by "for-hire" motor carriers. Some states have questioned whether this exemption applies to drivers who work for "crop share" or similar arrangements. FMCSA's notice includes guidance to ensure consistent application of the exemption. After considering the public comments, the Agency has determined that farmers who rent their land for a share of the crops and haul their own and the landlord's crops to market, should have access to the agricultural CDL exemptions given by the states.
  • Implements of Husbandry. In a perfect world, farm vehicles would only operate on farms, while commercial trucks would operate on public roads. The reality is that farm equipment that is not designed or intended for everyday use on public roads is often used for short trips at limited speeds. This creates a gray area for classification. After considering the public comments, FMCSA has determined that most states have already adopted common sense enforcement practices that allow farmers to safely move equipment to and from their fields. In areas where farm implements are common, the enforcement community and the agricultural community have achieved a mutual understanding of which safety regulations should apply to farm equipment on their public roads.
Click here to review a complete copy of DOT's press release.
$30,000 Grant to Help Ammonia Facilities in Iowa Comply with Regulations
EPA has awarded the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) $30,000 to assist with outreach, education and implementation of the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program. All fertilizer facilities that handle, process or store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are subject to EPA's chemical safety requirements. There are approximately 700 agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa. "This grant is designed to prevent releases and protect the health and safety of area residents, and enhance communications with local emergency responders and regulated facilities," said Karl Brooks, Regional Administrator for Regional 7 EPA. "IDALS is receiving this funding to conduct on-site audits, workshops and follow-up safety assessments at agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa." EPA Region 7 receives more accidental release reports for ammonia than for any other chemical. In addition to releases caused by transportation accidents, human error and equipment failure, a number of releases have been caused by anhydrous ammonia thefts.
FFA Receives $1.9 Million to Build an Agricultural Career Network
Microsoft Corporation has donated nearly $1.9 million of software, training and support to the National FFA Organization for the creation of a new online network to help students track educational successes, pursue awards and scholarships and ultimately obtain careers in the agriculture industry. The Agricultural Career Network will be an online portal that students can use starting in middle school, through college and beyond to track their educational accomplishments, activities and awards. It will also allow students to build resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, connect with potential employers and pursue employment opportunities.
"Microsoft's generosity and support gives us the utmost confidence that the Agricultural Career Network will deliver world-class service to FFA members, their teachers and FFA alumni to help them efficiently and professionally document their educational and career progress and achievements," said Mark Cavell, Chief Technical Officer at the National FFA Organization. "We envision the network will be a powerful resource that students can use now and well into their futures as agriculture-industry leaders."
"We applaud FFA for its launch of the Agricultural Career Network" said Staci Trackey Meagher, General Manager for Microsoft's Midwest District. "Microsoft has long believed that inside each and every person there is great potential. To continue increasing digital inclusion, we are committed to providing technology, tools and resources to these organizations and are honored we can assist the FFA with this key initiative."
Federal Labor Law Poster Update: (Click here to order.)
National Labor Relations Act Notice - Effective November 2011
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a Final Rule that requires employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Private-sector employers, including labor organizations, are now required to post the NLRA employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. This new poster must be posted no later than November 14, 2011. The notice states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints. This includes a material substantive change and a new Federal Labor Law Poster is required.
State Labor Law Poster Updates: (Click here to order.)
Arizona - Work Exposure to MRSA - Effective July 2011
The Work Exposure to MRSA change is a substantive change and requires a new poster. Arizona has increased the number of days allowed for reporting exposure from 10 days to 30. Also, the time limit for receiving a diagnosis of MRSA was increased from "2 to 10" to 15 days. There were also cosmetic changes to the notice. This includes a material substantive change and a new Arizona Labor Law Poster is required.
California - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2011
California made changes to the types of employees who may not receive unemployment benefits during specific times of the year. According to the California Industrial Welfare Commission, all California employers must post the updated version of the DE 1857D, Notice to Employees - Unemployment Insurance Benefits. This includes a material substantive change and a new California Labor Law Poster is required.
Connecticut - Discrimination is Illegal - Effective July 2011
Connecticut has added transgender status to classes protected from discrimination in Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations and Credit Transactions. The phrase "mental retardation" was changed to "intellectual disability." This includes a material substantive change and a new Connecticut Labor Law Poster is required.
Louisiana - E-Verify - Effective August 2011
E-Verify is required of any employers doing business with state or local governments in Louisiana and they must continue using the system through the term of the contract. In a separate law, it is required that all employers verify that employees are legally able to work in the United States. Employers must choose to either use E-Verify or check multiple forms of identification from the new hire, which must be kept on file. The bill states that employers who chose to use E-Verify to check the status of new hires have acted in "good faith" and are protected from prosecution. This is a material substantive change and an E-Verify & Right to Work Poster is required for all employers in Louisiana who utilize the E-Verify system. Both are required to be posted in English and Spanish.
Massachusetts - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2011
Massachusetts has revised the schedule for calling in to file for unemployment claims. Part of this rescheduling eliminated Saturday from the schedule entirely. They also changed the name of the department over Unemployment Insurance from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Department of Unemployment Assistance. This includes a material substantive change and a new Massachusetts Labor Law Poster is required.
Missouri - Discrimination in Employment, Housing and Public Accommodations Notices - Effective July 2011
The new posters clarify certain acts that are prohibited by the Human Rights Act. It now explicitly bars discrimination in Job advertisements, Testing, Transfers etc. whereas these were only implied on the previous posters. On the Housing and Public Accommodation posters also add more explicit mention of prohibited discriminatory acts (such as Sexual Harassment or advertising that implies a discriminatory limitation or preference).
The Discrimination in Housing and Public Accommodations, two separate notices, are now to be sold as stand alones. The Housing Poster is required for any business engaged in the renting or selling of housing. The Public Accommodations Poster is required for any business open to the public. Both posters must be posted in a place visible to the public (customers), not just employees, this is the reason they are now 11" x 17" (the required size for all of the Discrimination Posters) stand alones. This includes a material substantive change and a new Missouri Labor Law Poster is required.
Nevada - Overtime Information - Effective August 2011
Updated Overtime Pay Notice for 2011. This includes a material substantive change and a new Nevada Labor Law Poster is required.
South Carolina - E-Verify - Effective January 2012
The South Carolina immigration law has been changed. Effective January 1, 2012, employers will be required to use E-Verify to ensure their employees are legally able to work. The way the law was previously written allowed employers to verify status by an ID or driver's license; this will no longer suffice. This is a material substantive change and an E-Verify & Right to Work Poster is required for all employers in South Carolina. Both are required to be posted in English and Spanish.
Utah - Unemployment Insurance - Effective August 2011
The Utah Department of Workforce Services has greatly expanded their description of the "No Fee Employment Services" offered to unemployed persons in the state. This description now includes; job referrals, career counseling, workshops, employer recruitment, Veterans' services, labor market information, job training/internships, supportive services, financial assistance, medical assistance, childcare assistance, unemployment assistance, emergency assistance, referrals to community and other resources. This includes a material substantive change and a new Utah Labor Law Poster is required.
Wisconsin - Hours and Times Minors May Work - Effective July 2011
Wisconsin made changes to the list of hours and times during which minors may or may not work. Multiple changes were made including the reduction of school day work hours to three and the reduction of permitted time of day to 7am - 7pm (between Labor Day and May 31st). Meal period requirements were also added. The separate listing of Federal and State laws was removed. This includes a material substantive change and a new Wisconsin Labor Law Poster is required.
2011 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.