Indiana Senate Committee Passes Groundbreaking Micromarket Bill

Posted On: 2/13/2017

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TAGS: micro market definition, Indiana Senate's Commerce and Technology Committee, micro market codes, micromarket definition, Indiana Refreshment Providers Association, National Automatic Merchandising Association, Sheree Edwards, Sen. Tim Lanane, Jeff Snyder

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Senate's Commerce and Technology Committee passed a bill on Feb. 2 that codifies the definition of a micromarket. The Indiana Refreshment Providers Association (formerly the Indiana Vending Council) is in favor of the legislation and said the state may be the first to legislate the operation of and provide a legal description for the unstaffed micromarket concept.

The definition that the National Automatic Merchandising Association uses to describe a micromarkets is "unattended retail," which refers to an operation that provides packaged foods or whole fruit using an automated payment system, and has controlled entry not accessible by the general public.

NAMA legislative director Sheree Edwards said the Indiana bill refers to a micromarket as unattended retail that does not require a person in charge to be present. Ironically, the bill text does not specifically define a micromarket.

The bill (SB 77) was authored by Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) and coauthored by Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) and Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).

Sen. Ford introduced the bill followed by testimony from IRPA president Jeff Snyder, who explained the micromarket concept and the importance of the legislation. There was no testimony in opposition and the committee voted 6--0 in favor of the bill.

Micromarkets have been allowed to exist in Indiana as the result of a "governance document" negotiated between the Indiana State Department of Health and IRPA. The vending association explained that ISDH has been cooperative with the industry, but the governance document is nothing more than a "gentleman's agreement" that could be rescinded at any time.

"The implications and ramifications for having the micromarkets legally defined provide opportunities and guidelines for other states to follow suit and protect this extremely valuable new business model for our industry," Snyder commented. "IRPA is not at the finish line with this issue, as it must pass the full Senate and then move over to the House of Representatives and the 6-0 committee vote will go far in the minds of other legislators."

The former Indiana Vending Council changed its name to Indiana Refreshment Providers Association earlier this month.