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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 1-24-22

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are both in session this week. The Senate plans to take up consideration of voting legislation passed by the House last week and may consider judicial and administration nominations. The House plans to vote on legislation to automatically enroll veterans in the Veterans Affairs health care system.

NCA Files Amicus Brief in Florida
Last week, NCA filed an amicus curiae “friend of the court” brief in a case before the Florida Appellate Court involving an NCA member club. The case is an appeal of a lower court decision that would require clubs to treat bylaws in effect at the time a member joins as a binding contract that is unamendable, notwithstanding Florida law and club bylaws allowing for a process to amend bylaws. You can read a copy of the brief here.

NJ Governor Leaves Caddie Bill Unsigned
Legislation that would have exempted caddies from independent contractor regulations established by the state of New Jersey was left unsigned by Governor Chris Murphy (D) as the session came to a close last week. The bill passed the New Jersey Assembly in December and received late-session consideration by the Senate as the chamber neared a conclusion. There was little opposition to the exemption, though some industries questioned why caddies alone were exempted. Governor Murphy “pocket-vetoed” the bill, which means he did not explicitly veto the legislation but merely left it unsigned as time expired. Although a disappointing end, a pocket-veto leaves open the possibility of a future signature should the bill be resurrected in the current legislative session.

Trucker Vaccine Mandate Compounds Supply Chain Crunch
NCA will host an extremely valuable webcast on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 2pm ET on a topic that is gaining increased The U.S. began enforcing a vaccine mandate for non-citizen truckers entering the country from Mexico and Canada on Saturday, January 22, raising concerns about the effect it will have on an already stressed supply chain. Canada imposed a similar mandate a week earlier, which has caused significant disruption to fruit and vegetable markets. In 2020, Mexico accounted for 77% of U.S. fresh vegetable imports, but disruptions could come to the broader import market as well. Domestic trucking is already suffering from a shortage of drivers—it’s estimated the U.S. needs an additional 80,000 to 85,000 truckers to meet demand—and the pandemic. The vaccination rule also applies to temporary workers coming into the U.S., which could significantly impact fruit and vegetable harvests, leading to additional shortages. While global food prices have moderated in recent weeks, many are concerned about potential spikes due to the impact of the mandate.

Federal Worker Vaccine Mandate Stayed
On Friday, a federal judge in Texas issued a stay against President Biden’s rule requiring federal workers to be vaccinated. In the ruling, the judge raised questions about “whether the president can, with the stroke a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment.” This injunction is the latest in legal setbacks to the administration’s COVID response. The Supreme Court recently prohibited the OSHA requirement of vaccine or testing for workers of employers with 100 or more employees.

Markets Skittish Ahead of Fed Action
The U.S. stock market has been on a downward trend and investors are eagerly waiting for the Federal Reserve to give indications of how high it intends to increase interest rates this year and when those hikes will begin. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which sets interest rates, meets this week. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will make announcements at the conclusion of the policy meeting on Wednesday. The NASDAQ is down 14% from its November high and other indices are firmly in correction territory.

Overtime Threshold Revision Ahead
The Department of Labor included a plan to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) modifying the white-collar overtime exemptions sometime in April of this year. In advance of the NPRM, NCA signed onto a letter to Secretary Marty Walsh urging him to follow past precedents and hold meetings with employers to receive input on the potential impact changes may have on employee exemption requirements. The overtime threshold has been subject to rulemakings in the previous two administrations, with significantly different views of an appropriate threshold.

OSHA Heat Prevention Comments Due
Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on the prevention of heat illness and injury for indoor and outdoor workplaces. The comment period for the ANPRM was set to expire in December, but the agency extended the due date to January 27. NCA signed onto a letter with allied organizations requesting additional time to file comments, but has not yet heard from OSHA in response to the request. NCA plans to submit general comments on the ANPRM, but will likely have more extensive comments should the agency release a proposed rule.

National Club Conference Registration Open
Registration for the National Club Conference on May 15-17, Charleston, S.C., opened last week. I am pleased to be among the many excellent speakers at the conference. We will have lots to talk about on the government relations and political front as congressional districts will hopefully have been finalized and races will be shaping up. We anticipate a sell-out—reserve your place here. I look forward to seeing you there!