OBI Policy Manager:
Betsy Earls, Vice President & Counsel
Mission: To promote policies and laws that maintain and advance a strong retail climate in Oregon that contributes to a robust, sustainable and competitive economy.
- Encourage innovations that integrate economic and environmental progress and allow retailers to better meet customer needs;
- Advocate for flexible, effective workplace incentives instead of command and control regulatory mechanisms;
- Support streamlining of supply chain logistics, especially around cost-effective transportation of goods from manufacturer to retailer, and ultimately, to the customer.
The Industry: Retailers provide more Oregon jobs than any other industry sector, yet they often operate profits margins of 3% or less. Any additional cost, whether through taxation or regulation, has the potential of affecting retail employment, particularly for Oregon’s small, independent retailers. For many young adults, retail jobs provide the first insight into business basics, including marketing, inventory management, and sales. The Retail Council opposes policies that limit or restrict retailers’ flexibility or that would put an unfair financial burden on the industry
The Council: The Oregon Retail Council includes retailers of all sizes, from local stores to multi-state companies, and meets regularly to share information, develop responses to regulatory proposals and draft retail-specific policies that would increase the opportunity for retailers to serve the needs of their customers and communities.
Current Priority Issues:
Gift Card Legislation: The Retail Council opposes legislation that would unduly restrict retailers’ ability to sell gift cards, and consumers’ ability to redeem them. The Retail Council also opposes limits on retailers’ ability to place certain terms and conditions on gift card sales. In particular, the Council will oppose legislation or budget proposals that attempt to define unclaimed gift cards as abandoned property. Retailers need the flexibility to allow redemption of gift cards regardless of when they were purchased, in order to provide excellent customer service. When the value of a gift card must be turned over to the state after a certain period, retailers lose the flexibility to redeem the gift card after an extended period and risk alienating customers.
Limits on return policies: The Council opposes limits on the information retailers can require from customers who are returning merchandise. Controlling merchandise returns is a key element of retail fraud prevention strategies, and the ability to require identifying information from customers when making returns is critical to inhibiting fraudulent returns.
Pesticide reporting and sale limitations: OBI opposes pesticide sales reporting requirements, as well as efforts to require retailers to provide state-specific labeling or educational information on pesticide use. Federal law requires that all label language be approved by the EPA before a pesticide can be sold or distributed in the United States. Courts consider these labels to be legal documents, and it is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Requiring retailers to provide additional labeling on pesticides could confuse customers and create unnecessary liability.