News

ACI is working hard to compile resources and information to create a "one-stop shop" on our website for up-to-date access to all things COVID-19 relating to agribusiness.  Links to news, information, and resources will be updated as they come in.  Included below is a list of links and resources we currently have posted.  Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or needs.  

COVID-19 Resources


May 13, 2020

Indianapolis Public Health Order
 Released
The Marion County Public Heath Department, in conjunction with the Mayor's office, released this order this morning.  It lays out re-opening plans between May 15 and June 1 for Indianapolis.

May 11, 2020

Governor Holcomb May 8th Executive Order 20-27
On May 8th, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb issued a new executive order.  To read the executive order, click here.  A brief summary is provided below:

  • Poll Worker Stipends:  To encourage recruitment of poll workers for Indiana's upcoming primary election, the relevant portions of Ind. Code 22-4-1 that prohibits any stipend paid to any individual working the polls for the Primary Election on June 2, 2020 from being considered "deductible income" will be suspended.  Therefore any unemployment benefit will not be reduced by payment of any stipend paid to any poll workers.
  • BMV Deadlines: The Commissioner of the BMV will further extend deadlines for renewal of driver's licenses or ID cards, vehicle registration renewals, title transactions, salvage titles, and off-road vehicle and snowmobile titles by suspending the imposition of late fees through June 4, 2020.
  • Extension of Tax Deadlines:  Extending individual second quarter estimated payments from June 15 to July 15, 2020.  Extending corporate estimated payments due on April 20, May 20, or June 22 to July 15, 2020.  Extending corporate tax returns due on May 15, June 15, or July 15 to August 17, 2020.  Extending deadline for filing a claim for refund of income tax currently set to expire on or after April 1, 2020, to July 15, 2020.  This includes refunds or withholding or estimated tax paid for 2016 from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
  • Renewals of Professional Licenses, Certificates, Permits:  The expiration of any state agency-issued license, certification or permits which has expired during, or is set to expire during this pandemic is further extended to June 4, 2020.  
  • Audits of Water Distribution System by Water Utilities:  Changes made tot he non-revenue water audits.
  • Extension of State Agency Deadlines:  Any state agency is granted authority to further extend any non-essential deadline of their agency for an additional 60 days period if deemed necessary.

COVID-19's Impact on U.S. Food and Agriculture
Click here to see this webinar featuring Purdue ag economists Jayson Lusk, Michael Langemeier, and James Mintert.  This webinar examines COVID-19's impact on U.S. food and agriculture.

FEMA Releases PPE Preservation Best Practices
FEMA released a factsheet on best practices for preserving PPE.  This guidance summarizes best practices for national implementation to sustain personal protective equipment (PPE) while ensuring the protection of workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.

SBA Continues to Deliver Unprecedented Relief to the Nation's Small Businesses  
Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized under the CARES ACt, the SBA is delivering unprecedented relief to the Naiton's Small Businesses.  In the first round of funding alone, the agency processed more than 14 years' worth of loans in less than 14 days.  With an additional $310 billion in authorized funding, SBA continues to authorize PPP loans.  In Round II, 5425 lenders have approved over 2.4 million loans averaging $74,304 per loan.  More here.  A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.  Additional questions should be referred to local and regional offices (here).  

SBA Announces Reopening of Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and Makes Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
On May 4, SBA announced the reopening of the EIDL program and EIDL Advance programs and expanded eligibility to agricultural businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  More here.  More on SBA coronavirus relief options, including EIDL here.


May 6, 2020

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Issues Notice
On April 10, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a "Notice Highlighting Existing Options Related to Hazardous Materials Shipping Papers and Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency".  This notice provides clarification that current hazmat transportation regulations allow flexibility regarding the exchange of shipping papers and signatures that meet social distancing practices.  

On May 1, PHMSA issued another guidance document found here and here to answer frequently asked questions regarding previously issued COVID-related guidance documents.  

Regarding hazmat shipper papers and signatures, a computer-generated electronic signature is ok, however drivers must still carry a paper copy of the shipping papers with them in the motor vehicle.  

This memo was provided by the Fertilizer Institute.

SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to US Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
SBA Release Date: May 4, 2020
SBA Release Number: 20-38 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
“For more than 30 years, SBA has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; however, as a result of the unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital,” said Administrator Carranza. “These low-interest, long-term loans will help keep agricultural businesses viable while bringing stability to the nation’s vitally important food supply chains.”
 
Agricultural businesses include businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)). Eligible agricultural businesses must have 500 or fewer employees.
 
The SBA will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.
 
For more information, please visit: www.sba.gov/Disaster.


April 30, 2020

FMCSA to Distribute Protective Masks to Commercial Truckers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is assisting in the distribution of one million protective masks to the nation's commercial truck drivers.  

FMCSA has been working with states, industry stakeholders, and motor carriers to distribute one million protective face masks for truckers which were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Masks will be distributed in Indiana on May 1, 2020 on I-70 EB/WB at MM 107.  To view all of FMCSA's COVID-19 response actions, visit: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19.


April 22, 2020

BMV Opens More Locations for CDLs
The Indiana BMV has opened more locations to process CDLs. Please see the details regarding these new locations as well as the process for utilizing this opportunity.

Transactions will be restricted to the following:

• New Class A CDL (with or without MC)
• New Class B CDL (with or without MC)
• New Class C CDL (with or without MC)
• New Restricted Class B CDL (with or without MC)
• New Class A CLP
• New Class B CLP
• Upgrade/downgrade for the CDL to add the tank vehicle or hazardous materials endorsement
• New Operator’s License to add For-Hire endorsement
• Amend Operator’s License to add For-Hire endorsement
• Renewal of a Chauffeur or Public Passenger Chauffeur License to obtain a For-Hire endorsement

Any knowledge testing associated with any of the above listed transactions will be permitted.

When you arrive for an appointment, please be prompt and make sure you bring all required documentation. A branch team member will greet you at the door and will require you to show proof of identity before you can enter the branch.

• Beech Grove, IN --- 3841 S. Emerson Ave, Suite C, Indianapolis, IN 46203
• Bloomington, IN --- 1531 South Curry Pike, Bloomington, IN 47403
• Carmel, IN --- 271 Merchants Square Drive, Suite A-100, Carmel, IN 46032
• Corydon, IN --- 2203 Concord Ave NW, Corydon, IN 47112
• Demotte, IN --- 411 N Halleck St, Demotte, IN 46310
• Evansville, IN --- 4209 Highway 41 N, Suite 10, Evansville, IN 47711
• Indianapolis West --- 5620 Crawfordsville Road, Indianapolis, IN 46224
• New Haven, IN --- 701 Lincoln Highway West, New Haven, IN 46774
• Peru, IN --- 300 South Broadway, Peru, IN 46970
• Richmond, IN --- 4503 National Rd E, Richmond, IN 47374
• Schererville, IN --- 1320 Eagle Ridge Drive, Schererville, IN 46375
• Seymour, IN --- 501 Burkhart Blvd, Seymour, IN 47274
• South Bend, IN --- 1139 E Ireland Rd, South Bend, IN 46614
• Terre Haute, IN --- 2920 Professional Lane, Terre Haute, IN 47802
• West Lafayette, IN ---720 W Navajo Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906

If a customer fails any portion of the knowledge exam they must schedule an additional appointment to make another attempt. This must occur at least the next business day depending on appointment availability.

Additional transactions, including all new CDL related titling and registration transactions can either be completed through regular mail or via BMV partner locations. Renewal transactions are covered under the aforementioned Executive Order extensions.

Appointments are available Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

There are specific requirements for CDL and For-Hire. Please review the below requirements. You may also review the FAQs provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if you have additional questions regarding Commercial Driver's License not covered on this page.

If you have all the materials necessary to schedule an appointment, call our Contact Center. The team is available Monday – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET and can be reached at 888-692-6841.


April 21, 2020

INDOT Determines Ag Products Qualify for Emergency Overweight Permit
Over the last couple weeks, ACI has been hard at work pushing to have agriculture included in the emergency overweight permits related to COVID-19.  We are pleased to inform you this evening of some exciting news from INDOT regarding the emergency overweight permits for agriculture.  

INDOT has determined that load of agricultural products intended for emergency response or relief are eligible to travel overweight under the emergency overweight permit, consistent with their statutory authority to issue emergency permits.  Vehicles permitted under this emergency permit are limited to 90,000lbs GVW (axle weight limits also apply, and are included on the permit) and may not exceed legal width, length, and height.  All provisions of the M204 General Provisions of an Oversize/Overweight Vehicle Permit apply to the emergency permit, and carriers are responsible for any damage caused by their travel.

To obtain the emergency overweight permit, carriers must contact the Indiana Department of Revenue's OSW Permitting Office to receive the permit (at no cost, immediately during regular business hours), just like they do with any other OSOW permit.  The OSOW Permitting Office can be reached at 317-615-7320 or [email protected].  The emergency permit must be carried in each vehicle at all times while traveling overweight, along with a copy of the M204 General Provisions available from https://www.in.gov/dor/4195.htm

Indiana State Police have been made aware of this inclusion; they retain full discretion and authority in enforcing vehicle size & weight and OSOW permitting laws and rules.  

Specific questions can be directed to Leslie Morgan, Freight Manager, at [email protected] or 317-234-2739.  


April 17, 2020

President Trump Unveils the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

FEMA Administrator April 15 Letter to Emergency Managers

Treasury and the IRS launched the "Get My Payment" web application to track status of their payment

Small Business Rescue Fund Has Exhausted its $350 Billion Funding Capacity

US DOL Announces $91.8 Million Funding Opportunity to Assist America's Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide

OSHA Memo on Discretion in Enforcement when Considering Employer's Good Faith Efforts During COVID-19 Pandemic


 April 15, 2020

Office of National Drug Control Policy COVID-19 Fact Sheet
During the COVID-19 crisis, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is leading efforts to ensure that prevention, treatment, recovery support services, and safe and effective pain management remain available nationwide.  The Trump Adminsitration is mobilizing the Federal Government to ensure the approximately 20 million Americans who struggle with the disease of addiction can access and continue to receive treatment and recovery support services, while keeping themselves and healthcare professionals safe from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. 

To see the Fact Sheet outlining the priorities and resources provided, click here.


 April 14, 2020

The CARES Act Makes Changes for Health Plans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) makes a variety of changes affecting health plans including:

  • Expanding the types of coronavirus testing that all health plans and health insurance issuers must cover without cost-sharing
  • Accelerating the process that will require health plans and issuers to cover preventative services and vaccines related to COVID-19
  • Allowing telehealth and other remote care services to be covered under a high deductible health plan before the deductible is met
  • Treating over-the-counter medications, along with menstrual care products, as qualified expenses that may be paid for using HSAs or other tax-advantaged arrangements.

To continue reading more about the changes, click here.


April 8, 2020

TSA Grants Temporary Exemption for Hazardous Material Endorsement Holders  
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is granting a temporary exemption from requirements regarding expiration of TSA security threat assessments (STAs) for Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME).  

For the duration of this exemption, a state may grant an extension of up to 180 days for an HME that expired or would otherwise expire between March 1, 2020 and the end date of this exemption, even if the individual was unable to initiate or complete the required STA before the expiration date.  

If the state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension.  TSA may extend this exemption at a future date depending on the state of the COVID-19 crisis.  

ARA continues to work with FMCSA and state agencies to issue guidance for new drivers, seasonal drivers and new CDL endorsements.  We are grateful to ARA for this update and for their continued work to support our agribusinesses.

Click here to read more about the TSA exemption.  


April 6, 2020

OSHA Poster on Steps for Reducing Risk
OSHA has released a poster today outlining the 10 steps all workplaces can take for reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  Click here to see the poster provided.  


April 3, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Announces New CARES Act Guidance on Unemployment Insurance for States 
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the publication of Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 14-20 (UIPL) outlining relevant provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act related to the administration of and eligibility criteria for state unemployment insurance (UI) programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for those not typically eligible for UI, such as gig workers, and expanded UI benefits.  Today's guidance is the first of several upcoming UIPLs to states on the unemployment insurance provisions of the CARES Act.  
To continue reading this news release, click here.

April 2, 2020

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Eligibility Changes
National COVID19 rules stopped all work requirements for SNAP during this emergency.  Able Bodied Adults without Dependents are now eligible, even if you have timed out in the past.  Click here for more details and here for specific resources.  

Amount of Payroll Taxes Deposits Under the CARES Act
The amount of payroll taxes required to be deposited by employers has been affected by various provisions under the CARES Act. Under existing law, for employers with daily payroll tax liabilities of less than $100,000, payroll tax deposits are made either monthly or semiweekly (depending upon the annual amount of employment taxes). For most employers, payroll tax liabilities for the first quarter of 2020 (1/1 - 3/31/2020) will already have been paid, or the amounts yet unpaid may not be materially affected due to the effective dates provisions of applicable sections of the CARES Act.

Employers may be entitled to a tax credit against payroll taxes for employee retention wage payments made after March 12, 2020 (read "Employee Retention Tax Credit Available in the CARES Act"). For monthly depositors, employers may be able to reduce their payroll tax deposit due 4/15/2020 by the amount of the expected credit.

Under separate provisions of the CARES Act, all employers may defer depositing that portion of payroll taxes attributable to employer's social security tax obligation. This relief is available for deposits due during the period 3/27/2020 through 12/31/2020. Caution should be noted that employers cannot receive the benefit of payroll tax deferral if they later choose to receive loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Plan (read "Business Loan Options Available Under CARES Act").

Please contact Kevin Halloran or your Bose McKinney & Evans attorney for more information.

Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with  paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Click here to read more on these provisions.

Guidelines on Payroll Protection Program
The Small Business Administration has just issued initial guidelines on the Payroll Protection Program.  Provided below are the links to the Borrower and Lender Fact Sheets outlining the program and guidelines from SBA.  

Borrower Fact Sheet 
Lender Fact Sheet


March 31, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses
A new factsheet was provided by Senator Rubio and the Small Business Committee regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.  Click here to read the FAQs provided.  To see a new visual provided by the House Small Business Committee, click here.

Real Estate Leasing Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the recent limitation on operations excepting essential services, the Midwest is quickly feeling the economic effects of the coronovirus.  In leasing, many tenants, landlords, and lenders are reaching out in an effort to be proactive and even collaborative about how to best approach this unprecedented impact on our modern global economy.  

Read this summary of Indiana's laws which may be implicated in leasing during this pandemic.  

Please contact Bose McKinney & Evans Real Estate Group with any questions.  


March 30, 2020

CISA Updates its Guidance on Essentials Workers
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber Security & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its guidance on essential workers.  In a change from the previous version, the new DHS/CISA Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance 2.0 explicitly includes seed, agribusiness support services, and grain and oilseed handling, processing, and distribution within the list of essential workers.  

Thank you our national counterparts, American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), for advocating with the Administration to have these segments added to the list.  


 March 27, 2020

House Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package
The House passed a sweeping, $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that will provide immediate assistance to many Americans, small business and major industries on the brink of economic collapse amid the ongoing pandemic.  The package ultimately passed via a voice vote.  President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the bill - the largest rescue package in U.S. history.

DWD Request to Pause Submitting Mass Layoff Spreadsheet
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is requesting all employers stop submitting Mass Layoff Spreadsheets.  This information was very helpful at the beginning of the week but due to the increase in layoffs, the spreadsheets are no longer needed by the unemployment office.  Employers are encouraged to forward employees to file for unemployment insurance benefits at unemployment.in.gov All filings must be done electronically.


March 26, 2020

FMCSA Releases Second FAQ Document for Guidance
Today, FMCSA released a second FAQ document to provide guidance on its emergency declaration that provides hours-of-service relief to truck drivers assisting the pandemic.  There is a positive development in the new FAQ document. It states that wood pulp, feed and fertilizer are eligible for hours-of-service relief under the emergency declaration because they are precursor to items that are "essential" for the emergency relief effort.  Unfortunately, FMCSA singled out pet food as ineligible for hours-of-service relief.  This is unfortunate because pet food is comprised of agricultural ingredients and is part of the food and agricultural food chain.  To read the FMCSA FAQ documents, click below.

FMCSA FAQs 3-19-20
Emergency Declaration FAQs 3-25-20

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Q&A
The U.S. Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") on March 25, 2020, valued at $2 trillion to address multiple issues, industries and needs. Included in this package is the Paycheck Protection Program designed to assist qualifying business concerns, non-profits and certain others with payroll and related expenses, debt interest, rent and utilities. This proposed program includes forgiveness of the borrowed amount subject to the borrower satisfying certain employment and wage/salary requirements.

We are sending this to you in anticipation of its passage by the House and acceptance by President Trump in the near future so that you may be prepared to take advantage of the program upon its enactment and to aid you in eminent decision making regarding your business. However, it is important to note that this program is subject to any legislative changes and being rolled out by the Small Business Administration upon enactment. The legislation is complex and nuanced. Consult with your Bose McKinney & Evans attorney for more information.

CARES Act:  Paycheck Protection Program Q&A
CARES Act:  Paycheck Protection Program Q&A for the Hospitality Industry


March 25, 2020

Indiana Department of Workforce Development to Host Statewide Unemployment Insurance Webinar for Hoosiers Impacted by COVID-19
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will host a live webinar for Hoosiers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The 30-minute live program will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. The program will cover unemployment eligibility requirements, the formula and amounts determined by Indiana State Statute for benefit amounts, frequently asked questions—and how to apply for benefits. “We are taking these measures to help the public better understand the process, and most importantly, how to apply for benefits,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said. “During this time of uncertainty, we want to provide as much information to the public as we possibly can, and the live webinars are part of those efforts.” Important notice: The number of attendees on live will be limited to the first 500 who are online for each event. Up to 5,000 can register for each of the two. The program will be recorded and made available to all who register. Once recorded, the program will then be posted on the special landing page established by DWD: www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm. To register, visit: https://on.in.gov/UI2020

CARES ACT Participants May Not Also Participate in the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
Very early this morning, the CARES Act was agreed to in principle by the Senate.  The final drafts have not been released and it will still await approval in the House, but the last drafts have an exclusion for those receiving funding, being approved for, or have applied for an EIDL.  We are being advised that if possible, to wait before applying for the Paycheck Protection program.  

Here is a very basic recap of the two program:

Paycheck Protection Loan (subject to final adoption and potential program rules) 

  • Eligible Businesses:  In general, any business, nonprofit organization, veterans organization, or Tribal business employing no more than 500 employees, except accommodations and food service industry who many have up to 500 employees at each physical location.
  • Loan Amount:  lesser of: (a) running 12-month payroll average multiplied by 2.5; or (b) $10,000,000
  • Term:  Forgiven if certain conditions are met
  • Use of Funds:  retain workers, maintain payroll, and to make mortgage payments, lease payments and utility payments

 SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

  • Must qualify as a "small business" under SBA standards (based on NAICS codes)
  • Loan Amount: Up to $2,000,000
  • Term :  Up to 30 years dependent on borrower's ability to pay as determined by SBA
  • Interest:  3.75% for for-profits and 2.75% for nonprofits
  • Use of Funds: Working capital (to include payroll)
For questions and/or followup, please contact Chad Walker at 317-684-5199 or [email protected]


Department of Labor FFCRA Online Dialogue
 Opportunity
The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.  We need your input by March 29, 2020.  Anybody who is interested can participate online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com from March 23 through March 29, 2020 or can join a Twitter chat hosted by @ePolicyWorks on March 25, 2020 starting at 2 pm using the hashtag #EPWChat.

Department of Labor Q&A on FFCRA
Late yesterday, the Department of Labor issued further guidance, in the form of a Q&A document, regarding the availability of paid and unpaid leave under the FFCA.  Highlights of this guidance are as follows:

  • The effective date of the FFCRA is April 1, 2020.
  • There is no retroactive application of the law, so any leave (paid or unpaid) provided by an employer before that date does not count toward an employee's leave eligibility (and presumably not subject to payroll tax credits).
  • The DOL will use the "joint employer" and "integrated employer" tests (same as FMLA) to count employees for coverage purposes (i.e., only employers of "fewer than 500 employees" are covered).
  • Additional guidance is provided regarding how to count hours worked by part-time employees to calculate available paid leave.
  • Leave may be aggregated for different qualifying reasons up to the amount of available paid leave for each of those reasons.
  • Employees may substitute employer-provided paid leave for expanded FMLA leave (to care for a child home from school) for the first two weeks of such leave.

 Here is the link to this document:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.


 March 24, 2020

CISA Guidance Updated on March 23, 2020
CISA updated its Guidance yesterday to include some changes that now specifically name storage, transport, and distribution of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids in its list of essential businesses.  To read the entire update, click here.


March 23, 2020

Gov. Eric Holcomb Issues a "Stay at Home" Order
At noon today, Governor Eric Holcomb issued a "Stay at Home" order to be in effect from March 25 to April 7.  Indiana is using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response to define essential business.  

Bose McKinney & Evans Provide Legal and Legislative Resources
Bose McKinney & Evans has created a website resources page for COVID-19 legal and legislative items that could be of great service.  Find this great information here:  https://www.boselaw.com/2020/03/covid-19-resource/.


March 20, 2020

SBA to Provide Small Business Loans
The Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the SBA would work with state governors to provide targeted low interest disaster recovery loans to certain businesses severely impacted by COVID-19.  On March 18, 2020, the SBA declared that these disaster recovery loans would be available to non-profit organizations and small businesses within the State of Indiana.

The loan amounts may be up to $2 million and the proceeds of the loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of COVID-19.    The interest rate on such loans for non-profits is 2.75% and the interest rate for small businesses is 3.75% and the term of the loan could be up to 30 years.  Applications may be made online at www.sba.gov/disaster.

FMCSA Issues Expanded HOS Exemptions
Yesterday evening, FMCSA issued an expanded list of house of service (HOS) exemptions under its Emergency Declaration.  FMCSA's press release lists the following items under its emergency relief measure:  

Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
• Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
• Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
• Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
• Fuel.
• Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
• Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
• Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The Fertilizer Institute has requested the Administration to designate fertilizer as a critical industry and has urged DOT to consider fertilizer as part of an expanded HOS relief measure.

CISA Releases Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released a Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.  This memo in in response to the guidance from the President that states: "If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule."  The link to this memo which identifies the list of workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential that includes, but is not limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works is provided here.

Insurance Information Institute Provides Great Resources in Response to COVID-19
The Insurance Information Institute is a great resource of COVID-19 insurance information.  Find all great resources at www.iii.org.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners met today and a few highlights are provided below.  A slide deck as well as summaries will be posted once completed.  

  • Beware of short term medical products - most exclude COVID-19 coverage and are not included in most emergency state mandates
  • Employers have exposure for workers working remotely, but don't control work environment
  • There is a need for greater education and communication about responsibility to protective equipment, masks, hand sanitizer, lack of hand sanitation stations and the liability exposure arising from failure to adequately follow and communicate public health guidelines
  • There is an increased rick due to increase in remote working 

March 19, 2020 - Updates

OISC Releases Temporary Regulatory Compliance Guidance
The Office of the Indiana State Chemist (OISC) is releasing new temporary guidance regarding compliance with state pesticide and fertilizer regulatory requirements in Indiana, in consideration of the disruptions to normal operations that are being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  To read the entire press release by the OISC that outlines these temporary modifications effective immediately, please click here.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Executive Order 20-05 
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Executive Order 20-05 this afternoon in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  It is an expansive order with changes across state government.  To read the order, click here.  Some key points are below:

  • All K-12 schools will remain closed until May 1 and all state-mandated assessments are cancelled.  
  • The state will follow the federal government's guidance and extend state income tax payments to July 15 without penalty, in addition upcoming property tax bills wil have a 60 day grace period.  The state will assist local governments with cash-flow issues related to this extension.
  • Utilities are prohibited from discontinuing service during the public health emergency.
  • Unemployment insurance laws will be loosened and broadly interpreted to allow maximum flexibility for applicants to be approved and paid.
  • No eviction or foreclosure action may take place during the state of emergency.
  • Under Medicaid and HIP, telehealth will be expanded, recipient renewals will be extended, job requirements will be waived un TANF, and no premium payment will be required under HIP.
  • Insurers are asked to adopt a 60 day moratorium on policy cancellation for non-payment, suspend prior authorization for COVID-19 related treatment and testing, and not increase coverage costs for medical care related to COVID-19.

 

State-by-State Tax Filing Deadlines in Light of COVID-19
Please use this link for a state-by-state guidance for state tax filing deadlines in light of COVID-19.  This is published by AICPA and updated regularly.  Indiana just announced an extension to July 15.  

The U.S. Small Business Administration Website Provides Clarity on Economy Injury Disaster Loan Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19.  Please click here to read more about this response.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management Message
Please click here to read a message from the IDEM Commissioner, Bruno Pigott.

President Trump Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act:  New Requirements for Private Employers With Fewer than 500 Employees and Government Employers
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law new legislation in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly voted in support of the legislation with the Senate passing it by a vote of 90-8 just hours before the President signed it.  The law takes effect within 15 days of enactment, which is April 2, 2020.

This law is broad and addresses a variety of relief efforts related to coping with COVID-19.  To read a summary that captures noteworthy impacts for employers and businesses, please click here.  

ACI Sends Letter to Governor  Holcomb 
Today, March 19, 2020, ACI sent a letter to Governor Holcomb regarding some clear steps that the administration can take to ensure a steady supply of food.  To read this letter , please click here.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development to Host Statewide Unemployment Insurance Webinars for Hoosiers Impacted by COVID-19
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will host two live webinars for Hoosiers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The 30-minute live programs will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. The program will cover unemployment eligibility requirements, the formula and amounts determined by Indiana State Statute for benefit amounts, frequently asked questions—and how to apply for benefits. “We are taking these measures to help the public better understand the process, and most importantly, how to apply for benefits,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said. “During this time of uncertainty, we want to provide as much information to the public as we possibly can, and the live webinars are part of those efforts.”

Important notice: The number of attendees on live will be limited to the first 500 who are online for each event. Up to 5,000 can register for each of the two. The program will be recorded and made available to all who register. Once recorded, the program will then be posted on the special landing page established by DWD: www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm.

To register, visit: https://on.in.gov/UI2020


 March 18, 2020 - Updates

Purdue University Cancels Commencement Ceremonies Among Other Events - COVID-19 Update
Purdue University has updated the details of its COVID-19 repsonse.  Among those updates includes cancelling all Spring 2020 classes in person and will be delivered by remote instruction only.  Traditional in-person commencement is canceled.  Residence halls are closing and students should be moving to alternate locations.  To read more, click here.  

OSHA Presentation:  Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Please click here to see a document prepared by OSHA for guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.

What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sent this bulletin today.  

Senate Bill will Pass House Coronavirus Bill Without Changes
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday the upper chamber will pass the House's second coronavirus funding package without changes.  The decision comes despite some vocal GOP opposition to the measure over concerns about its impact on small businesses.  Continue reading here.

Employment Issues Implicated by Coronavirus: How You Can Minimize Pandemonium With This Pandemic
Given the emerging issue, local, state and federal government actors are making decisions and issuing guidance that affect your workplace and inform your own decision-making as employers.  In addition to ongoing guidance and directives, numerous laws and regulations already on the books impact your options and best practices.  In terms of lawful and wise business practices and considerations, click here to find 12 basic principles to follow now. 

Insurance and the Coronavirus: Assessing Potential Claims and Coverage Issues
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has the potential to impact various lines of insurance coverage.  As always, the determination of whether an insurance policy affords coverage for a specific claim will depend on the language of the policy and the facts at issue.  This article provides a general overview for three types potential claims and coverage issues that may arise as a result of the outbreak:  event cancellations, business interruptions and workers' compensation.  Continue reading here.


 March 17, 2020 - Updates

Business Services Division Lobby Now Closed to the Public
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Business Services Division will be operating with only essential staff until further notice.  The lobby is now closed to the public.  If it is essential to deliver documents to the office, you must have an appointment.  Appointment details are below.  
The office requests that , whenever possible, all available filings should be submitted on INBiz.  INBiz submissions greatly reduces the required processing time.  By submitting online, you help the office and everyone who depends on their services.  The Secretary of State recognizes the importance of Business Service's work, and we will do our best to provide uninterrupted service.  However because they are limited to essential staff, you should plan for and expect delays in processing times.  
BUSINESS ENTITY FILINGS
The office requests that all available filings be processed on INBIz. 
Filings that are unavailable on INBiz may be submitted by appointment or by email to [email protected] These include:

• Mergers
• Corrections
• Nonqualified Domestications and Conversions
• Share/Interest Exchange
• Series LLC amendments with a name change
• All Benefit Corp Filings
• Preclearance

FUND YOUR SUBMITTER ACCOUNTS
If submitting by email, you will need to fund your submitter account. You may either mail a check with an explanation that it is to fund your submitter account or make an appointment to make a credit card payment.
UCC FILINGS (all services are available on INBiz)
The office requests that ALL UCC filings be processed on INBIz. Unlike business entity, we will NOT receive UCC filings by email.
TRADEMARK FILINGS & NOTARY COMMISSIONS
All trademark and notary applications are currently required to be submitted online. There is no change in this procedure. However, depending on staffing impacts you may see delays in processing times.
AUTHENTICATION & APOSTILLE REQUESTS
The office requests that authentication & apostille requests be mailed to the office rather than being delivered personally. In the event that mail delivery is suspended, you may request an appointment to deliver documents.
APPOINTMENT REQUESTS
Appointments may be requested by emailing Beth Swindle at [email protected]
For questions, please contact, INBiz at 317-234-9768.

Local Clinics in Indiana and Ohio Cancelling DOT Physical Appointments 
There have been reports of local clinics cancelling DOT physical appointments stating that they are considered non-emergency and will be postponed until further notice.  We recognize these implications for a full time CDL driver and/or a Restricted Ag CDL.  The Agricultural Retailers Association has been made aware and will be sharing this information with FMCSA prior to a DOT FMCSA call that they will be participating in today.  

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Provides Relief to Market Participants in Response to COVID-19The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) has issued a number of no-action letters providing temporary, targeted relief to futures commission merchants, introducing brokers, swap dealers, retail foreign exchange dealers, floor brokers, and other market participants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The spread of the coronavirus has caused compliance with certain CFTC requirements to be particularly challenging or impossible because of displacement of registrant personnel from their normal business sites due to social distancing and other measures.  To continue reading this document, please click here 


March 16, 2020 - Updates

Documents Released by Mayor Joe Hogsett

Indiana Hemp Advisory Committee March 18 Meeting Cancelled
The March 18 meeting of the Indiana Hemp Advisory Committee that was to be held in West Lafayette, IN is cancelled due to the recent COVID-19 virus travel and meeting restrictions.  The meeting will be rescheduled as soon as circumstances have improved.

U.S. House of Representatives Passes "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" (HR 6201)
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Families First Coronavirus Respones Act" (HR 6201).  While the House is in recess this week, the U.S. Senate is in session and they are expected to begin consideration of HR 6201 as early as today.  President Trump has indicated a willingness to sign the bill but it is unclear what will happen in the Senate as some Senators and businesses have raised concerns with the bill's potential impact on small businesses.  

The emergency legislation would require certain businesses to provide sick and quarantined workers with two weeks of emergency paid leave and provides tax credits for employers to provide up to three months paid time off for protracted absences from work due to COVID-19.

Click here to read the section-by-section summary of the bill.  In particular, TFI encourages you to read the following sections to determine the potential impact on your business:
DIVISION C - Emergecny Family and Medical Leave Expansion ACt
DIVISION D - Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020
DIVISION E - Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
DIVISION G - Tax Credits For Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave

Governor Holcomb Closes Restaurants and Bars to Dine-In Customers
Gov. Eric Holcomb said bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are required to close in-person dining.  Delivery and takeout services are still allowed through the end of March, according to the governor’s office.  To read more on other guidance from the governor, click here.

U.S. Animal Food Facilities Interested in Exporting to China Should Contact FDA by April 3, 2020
On March 13, the Food and Drug Administration issued a notice that outlines the process U.S. feed additive, premix, and compound feed facilities need to take in order to be listed and approved for export to China. To have your facility considered for inclusion on the list of approved U.S. facilities that the FDA will provide to China, email the FDA at [email protected] and include all of the following information no later than April 3.

  • Email subject line: (Your Company’s Name): Facility Data for Export to China
  • Permission statement (such as): I, (Your Name, Company Name, Company Title), grant permission to the FDA to share with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC), the name and address of the registered animal food facilities I have designated below, to facilitate access to the Chinese animal food market, as described in Annex 12 of the Economic and Trade Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, from Jan. 15, 2020.
  • Individual facility data: For each registered facility you wish to include on the list, provide the facility name, street address, city, state and zip code. (Note: Information provided will be verified against the data in the FDA’s FURLS registration database before being included in the list for China.)

Pesticide Trainings by Purdue Pesticide Programs Have Been Impacted by COVID-19
The recent COVID-19  situation has caused a number of disruptions.  Pesticide Training provided by Purdue Pesticides Programs have been temporarily impacted as well.  Follow this link to a list of adjustments that have been made to comply with federal, state, and university policy and guidance intended to minimize the human health impacts of this virus.  It is important to revisit this site, as needed, because the guidance and list of impacted items are expected to changes as this crisis evolves. 
To see the list of these changes, please click here.

COVID-19 Impacts on Seed
ASTA is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, including impacts on the seed industry - both domestically and globally.  The following list is a provided for clarification on seed shipment issues:

Shipments between the U.S. and E.U are not impacted by travel ban: The Trump Administration clarified that the 30-day travel ban is limited to foreign, non-U.S travelers (unless they are a permanent U.S. resident) who have been in the Schengen region, which consists of 26 countries in Europe. Cargo is not included; both ocean and air carriers continue to move cargo across the Atlantic. We do expect to see a reduction of air freight capacity between the U.S.-E.U. in the coming days. Cargo often travels in the lower-hold of passenger carrying aircraft and commercial airlines are reducing their passenger-services due to decreased demand.
Global couriers continue to offer services: Global couriers such as FedEx and DHL continue to move cargo globally, with some service delays or restrictions in regions experiencing COVID-19 spread.
Ripple effects on ocean shipping: Ocean shipping volumes in the Trans-Pacific remain imbalanced as China manufacturing operations recover, leading to intermittent shortages of containers. We are also hearing reports of blank sailings and long lines to pick up and drop off containers at certain West Coast ports. We will continue to follow this situation closely.
ASTA signed on to a multi-association letter to the Federal Maritime Commission urging ocean carriers to waive detention and demurrage fees when the situation is out of the shipper’s control, including COVID-19.
Transmission via cargo unlikely: From the Center for Disease Control: “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.”  

Hackers are Spreading Malware Through Coronavirus Maps
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has disrupted business operations across the globe but cybercriminals are showing no signs of slowing down as they attempt to capitalize on people's fears surrounding the virus.  To read more on this, please click here.

Conservation Stewardship Program Deadline
On March 11, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Mike Cox announced that Indiana is now accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by June 1, 2020, to be considered for this funding period.

To keep reading this article, click here.  

FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration
Over the weekend, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an Emergency Declaration allowing an hours-of-service (HOS) exemption for drivers transporting certain products used to support the COVID-19 response. This Emergency Declaration applies to distributing commercial products that can be purchased by consumers.

TFI has reached out to FMCSA staff to ask for its consideration for including ammonia and other fertilizers in a similar HOS relief measure. With the Spring planting season upon us and with a quickly evolving situation, we want to ensure farmers receive the nutrient inputs they need to protect our food supply.