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Operator Volume 43 Issue 2 • February 2013
Great Training, Great People, Great Time! MN School Bus Safety Expo in St. Paul January 18 & 19, 2013
A A: “Not An Ordinary Day - Preparing for the Unexpected” Hands on training during the vendor show. Seizure training and removing a student with rescue blanket.
B: Keynote Speaker Marina Jurica from Fox 9 News
From the President
MISSION STAT E ME NT:
Gaylen Lenz Madelia Bus Service, Madelia, MN Another Winter Conference has come and gone. I would like to say Thank You to Shari and Shelly and the conference committee for putting together the agenda and making this a success. They try hard every year to come up with something new and fresh and they succeeded in doing that. Tom Revnew and Steve Jannings put on a presentation on Friday morning about transportation contracts and dispelling some of the myths that some consultants are telling school districts. Again, if you are having problems in your school district negotiating a contract, we urge you to contact Tom. Friday afternoon was spent at the St. Paul River Centre with hands on emergency demonstrations called Preparing for the Unexpected. It was a great presentation and it always makes people wonder, "How prepared am I for emergencies?" Our industry also has a great working relationship with the Minnesota State Patrol. We appreciate that they come in and put on a presentation of what they are seeing around the state, what they would like to see changed and asking us how they can help make our industry safer. I appreciate that they are there to keep an open dialogue and to help us to keep in compliance with the law. Some board members will be meeting with the State Patrol in February to help set up the regional meetings again this year and decide what topics will be presented. We will also discuss possible summer training meetings with the State Patrol. Again, Thank You to everyone who helped make this conference a success and a Huge Thank You to the Vendors for supporting the MSBOA. Remember to start putting together your nomination packets for the Transportation Specialist of the Year Award! Keep a Smile! Gaylen
BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ FIRST VICE PRESIDENT RUDY LUNDAHL
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT JOSH SCHIFFLER
The Operator THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES. THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW â€˘ ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail email@example.com or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2013. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
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Legislative Update By Tom Keliher, Keliher Government Affairs Consulting, LLC. Phone (612) 723-5168 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org At this time of year, late January, the Governor’s budget has been presented to the Legislature and the February forecast will be announce at the end of next month. These two events outline the parameters of the available revenues to fund the functions and services of state government as detailed in the Governor’s budget suggestions. Roughly 80% of a Governor’s budget, in terms of policy and funding, is enacted into State Law. One of the key features of the Governor’s budget, as proposed, would be tax increases. A key element of the Governor’s campaign for election in 2010 was the promotion of raising taxes on the wealthy and creating a more balanced and fair tax structure. In addition to proposing higher income taxes the budget also proposes to lower the State Sales Tax from 6.85% to 5.5% while broadening the goods and services to which the tax would be collected. This Sales Tax alteration raises more than $2 billion in new revenue. In broad terms, the tax proposal would begin to collect sales taxes on services between business to business transactions, such as accounting, legal, consulting etc. In addition, haircuts, clothes, and food traditionally not taxed would now be affected by a sales tax. The Governor’s budget also appears to make cuts in general fund spending within certain State Agencies, giving the appearance of reducing the size and expense of State Government. However, the detail documents, some not yet produced, are rumored to contain increases in fees and licensing charges when individuals or business interact with State Government. The Governor’s proposal raises $1.1 billion in income taxes with a 2% increase for married couples earning $250K or more and head of households, and 2% on singles earning $150K or more. Overall, the Governor’s budget raises a little more than $3 billion in new revenue. About one half of the new revenue ($1.4 billion) will be used to provide homeowners with up to $500 in property tax refunds. The education system would receive $700 million in new spending, to be allocated between Higher Education, early childhood education (pre-kindergarten) and the funding for all day kindergarten. The remaining $800 million, or so, will be spread around State Government for a variety of Governor’s initiatives and program enhancements or re-investments. The budget also calls for a reduction in the State’s corporate business tax from 9.8% to 8.4%, which requires cuts or new revenue from other sources in order make the reduction. The Governor and the Legislature seem willing to pay back the remaining balance of the School Shift, about $1 billion, over time, but not this year. When the budget was reconciled in November, there was an additional billion dollars in excess revenue collected, with State Law stating that any surplus would be spent directly and automatically to paying back a portion of the shift. This event left a little over $1billion balance in the effort to pay back the school shift. In any event, enacting over $3 billion in new income and sales tax dollars is going to affect business and individuals in a very noticeable manner. The DFL House and Senate, the majority party controlling the legislature, have been supportive of the Governor’s Budget, but it appears that the support may be softening. There may be Legislative support for some but not all of the Governor’s tax proposal, which would then affect the amount of new dollars available for increased and enhanced spending measures. MSBOA is working towards the passage of our Legislative Agenda, as listed on the MSBOA web site. Primarily, MSBOA is working to improve the safe delivery of students to school while removing un-necessary regulations while looking to improve State Government services provided to MSBOA contractors. If any members have any question or comments, please feel free to contact me at Thomas@keliher-mn.com or to call my cell phone at 612-723-5168. This is the end of the first four weeks of the 2013 Session. The pace is just starting to pick up as the Legislature heads towards a May adjournment.
MSBOA Board of Directors Meeting January 17, 2013 St. Paul Crowne Plaza Call to Order at 6:45 p.m. following the Conference Call with NSTA’s Jim Seal and Ron Kinney. Shari Danzeisen read the Mission Statement. Jim Koonst made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 10th meeting, John Benjamin seconded. Motion Carried. Treasurer’s Report - Tom Hey – Goff Public study put us in the red, question about drug testing revenue. Recommendation to advertise CMS. Doug Grisim made a motion sign the accountant’s contract to stay with current accountant – KDV. Rudy Lundahl seconded. Motion Carried.
options for raising funds to cover Bullying will be a big topic at the Capital. It’s going to affect school buses as an extension of the classroom. Will be comprehensive. Current state law is only 37 words. Reviewed legislative agenda. Reviewed state patrol and MAPT’s pending legislation. Discussion concerning Clearway ad. Recommendation to have Tom Revnew write a letter to Clearway. Question regarding Senator Bonoff’s collaboration study – haven’t seen any results. Hoping that with committee changes perhaps it may get dropped. Legal Issues – Distributed written report.
John Benjamin made a motion to approve the treasurer’s report. Connie Grisim seconded. Motion carried. Visitor Lt. Reu – Still watching transit issues. Wants to continue with Outreach meetings. Committee Reports – St. Paul – Last year here. Looked at the Marriott, St. Cloud. Suggestion to listen for feedback over the conference. Discussion regarding driver training options. Suggestion to add driver training portion to summer conference. Deferred to Executive Committee. Summer Conference moved to Sugar Lake, signed 2 year agreement. Promotion committee – Discussion regarding promotional materials, Be a Buddy, Not a Bully rubber bracelet. Membership – Some positive movement on some of the larger companies. MTN, Septran, Durham all interested in joining the conference. PAC – Cut some checks to the DFL Caucus. Have to wait now until session is over. Sold 42 Wild Tickets. Transit/Contracts – Message from Seal is that investigation is necessary. Tom Hey made a motion to spend up to $2500 for a private investigator, Doug Grisim seconded. Motion carried. Executive Committee – No report. Legislative Committee – Discussion about various
Safety and Compliance Summer Session deferred to Executive Committee Tom Hey made a motion to adjourn, RL seconded, Meeting Adjourned.
5 Smart Business Moves: Plan for Mandatory Health Care Coverage By Kim A. Mahanna, Smith Schafer and Associated, Ltd. Phone (651) 770-8414 Email email@example.com Bus companies could be hugely impacted by federal health care reform law in 2014 with regard to mandatory employee health care coverage requirements. If your company falls under the definition of having at least 50 full-time equivalent employees, even if theyâ€™re spread across different entities, you could face steep health care costs within a year. This article presents several smart business moves to be aware of and make before the clock winds down. Do you have more than 30 full-time employees? If not, you do not have to offer health care coverage and will not be penalized. An employee is considered full-time if they are employed, on average, at least 30 hours of service per week. This also includes seasonal employees. Full-time status is determined on a monthly basis. Determining if you are a large employer. If you have more than 30 full-time employees, you must calculate the number of fulltime equivalent employees who do not meet the 30 hours a week test. To determine the number of full-time equivalent employees, calculate the number of hours of service for all employees who were not full-time employees for the month and divide that total by 120. If the number of full-time employees plus the number of full-time equivalent employees is 50 or more, you are considered a large employer and must provide health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. This can include multiple entities. Calculating the penalty for not offering coverage. A large employer will be penalized for any month coverage is not offered. The penalty is assessed on a monthly basis and is equal to the number of full-time employees (not full-time equivalent employees) over 30 multiplied by 1/12th of $2,000. Large employers must offer affordable coverage. Affordable coverage is defined as coverage where the annual premium is less than 9.5 percent of the employee's annual income. An employer who offers unaffordable coverage must also pay a penalty. Penalty for unaffordable or inadequate coverage. This penalty is assessed on a monthly basis and is calculated as 1/12th of $3,000 for each employee who receives a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for insurance purchased through a state exchange. Employer pays the lower of the two penalties. The penalty for offering unaffordable coverage is capped at the amount of the penalty that would have been assessed if the employer had not offered coverage at all. Employee notification. Prior to March 1, 2013, large employers must provide employees with written notice of the existence of their state's health insurance exchange and inform the employees of the possibility of losing the employer's contribution to health insurance coverage, if they purchase insurance through the exchange. Automatic enrollment. Employers with more than 200 full-time employees, who offer health coverage, will be required to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of its health benefit plans. An employee must affirmatively opt out of employer-sponsored coverage in order for an employer to stop covering that employee. Coverage begins in 2014. The IRS is developing regulations to implement the above rules and will be further defined in the coming months. For more information on this topic or tax and tax-planning questions you may have, please contact the Smith Schafer Transportation Team at (651) 770-8414.
MSBOA is on Facebook The MSBOA is now on Facebook. It’s our intention to use the Facebook page to post relevant school bus new stories, share training information, useful links, etc. You should also be able to have conversations with other school bus professionals or ask questions. Hopefully it will be a great tool for our association. But it will only work if you join us! If you are already a member of Facebook, you can find the MSBOA by searching for the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association on the Facebook website. Click “Like” and that’s all you need to do. If you are not a member of Facebook, you’ll need to join to use this feature. You can also go to www.msboa.com and click on the Facebook Icon.
Need Legal Help? It’s Just a Phone Call Away! As a valued member of Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association, you are entitled to using Thomas Revnew of Seaton, Peters & Revnew Legal Hotline free of charge. During each six month period, you will be entitled to two free fifteen-minute telephone calls to the Hotline. MSBOA encourages you to use this free service. When using the hotline, please follow the following procedure: 1.
Call Tom Revnew's direct dial, which is (952) 921-4622.
Identify yourself, your company name and that you are a client of MSBOA.
If Tom Revnew is not available, please leave a voicemail with the information described above and Tom will return the call as soon as possible.
If Tom Revnew is not available and your call is an emergency, please dial "0" when you receive Tom's voicemail and you will be transferred to the receptionist.
News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES
Holiday Afterthoughts 2013 By Rudy Lundahl MSBOA Board Member
Holiday afterthoughts are sometimes hard to come by. Especially this year due to the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook school. Every one of us has had thoughts go through their heads over the holiday break. Let’s look a little deeper into the issues here……. GUN CONTROL…….. In my mind there is no real reason that any assault type weapons should be allowed to be sold in this country unless they are required as part of the tools that are needed to do your job (i.e. police, swat team, FBI etc.). Now my idea is that I personally would not mind having to register all my guns or even register a list with whomever it took….but…...my gut feeling tells me that all these things might be good ideas, but won’t stop some nut job in the big scheme of things. Is the issue really of controlling guns?…...or is it the issue of trying to control the human mind and the terrible things that can and do go on inside people’s heads?……..no one can ever plan enough to stop such tragedies from happening. Control is good…….I do believe that just about any card carrying human being who really believes that they have a right to bear arms and use them for target practicing or hunting or personal protection would agree…...at this point there needs to be a ban on any and all assault type weapons from here on out. Of course I realize that getting the ones that are already out there off the streets is probably short of the impossible dream…..but we have to start somewhere to prevent such senseless acts from ever being done again. SCHOOL SECURITY…..the time is probably not too far away when the bus driver or aide has to wear a photo ID at all times even to get into the school to use a washroom in-between routes. I guess we just need to accept the fact that the world has changed. Don’t be insulted or upset if the people that are taking care of the little darlings that we spend all our time and blood and sweat and tears on getting them to and from school are extra careful about who you are…..they too are just doing the best they can to take care of our most precious commodity's…….our passengers. Remember…..think back to when your children were in school or look ahead to the time when you will have children in school…...you would have wanted or will want them to be as safe as possible. Yes the world has changed and we must be ready to change also. THE FISCAL CLIFF…...hard to believe the numbers of dollars that are spent just talking about falling off the fiscal cliff…..I wish some of our fine elected officials would simply jump off that cliff…...and then maybe do something about the pork barrel spending and the partisan politics that caused this cliff to rear its ugly head…….how hard do we have to make this anyway? Just a thought….stop funding wars overseas with trillions of dollars that somehow benefits the USA ….stop spending our hard earned tax dollars and turn that money into the infrastructure that is so sorely lacking in spots of the USA. SO…….. a New Year’s Resolution for a simple bus guy like me might go like this……...be extra careful with all your personal firearms…….keep them locked when not in use…..and away from any children…..and understand that schools are being extra careful when you stop in to use the facilities……..and last but certainly not least…...don’t complain about politics if you are not actively involved yourself. Change starts with you! Have a safe winter from Rudy in Duluty!
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ClearWay Minnesota Ad Uses School Buses in Negative Way to Highlight Student Smoking Problem
This past January, ClearWay Minnesota started airing 30 second television ads about youth smoking. While trying to curb youth smoking is a laudable goal, unfortunately, they used a school bus to convey their message. The ad opens with a young boy lighting up a cigarette. Then the camera pans out to show the rest of the children on the bus all smoking and the bus interior is hazy with cigarette smoke. As the ad closes, the camera reveals many buses traveling on the highway, presumably all filled with smoking children. Tom Revnew, the MSBOA attorney, has sent a letter to ClearWay Minnesota asking them to cease circulation of this ad. We have also used our Facebook page to discuss our issues with the ad as well as to alert others. The children on the bus are not disciplined for smoking, nor do they face any negative consequence. A viewer may mistakenly believe that this is acceptable behavior on the school bus. Many parents have posted on ClearWayâ€™s Facebook page complaining that young viewers may believe that is okay for children to smoke. ClearWay explained that they chose the school bus because of its instant association to children, but that it wasnâ€™t intended to be an actual school bus experience. The MSBOA maintains that they are exploiting the hard work of the school bus industry who has worked tirelessly for increased safety for the past 60+ years - including drivers who strictly prohibit smoking. As a response ClearWay has posted that they have decided to change their media buy and that the ad will only air after 8 pm. If you would like to weigh in you can email Clearway on their webpage. http://clearwaymn.org/contact/ or mail the CEO David J. Willoughby, 8011 34th Avenue South, Suite 400, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55425.
BY THOMAS REVNEW, ESQ., OF SEATON, PETERS & REVNEW
HOTLINE PHONE: (952) 921-4622
Employer-Provided CDL Training A common practice among school bus companies is to offer pre-employment Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training to applicants who do not have the required certification. One question that arises as a consequence to this practice is whether those applicants must be paid under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) while they are attending that training. The answer is no, according to U.S. Department of Labor guidance. Pre-Employment CDL Training In many instances, since CDL training is being provided prior to employment, the FLSA is inapplicable because the individuals are not yet employees. Whether “trainees” are employees of an employer under the FLSA will depend on all of the circumstances surrounding their activities with respect to the employer while in “training” status. According to the Department of Labor, if all six of the following criteria apply, the “trainees” are not employees within the meaning of the FLSA: (1) the training, even though it may include actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school; (2) the training is for the benefit of the trainees; (3) the trainees do not displace regular employees, but may work under their close observation; (4) the employer derives no immediate advantages from the activities of the trainees, and sometimes the employer's operations may actually be impeded; (5) the trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job upon completion of the training period; and (6) the employer and the trainees have an understanding that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training. Pursuant to a Department of Labor Opinion letter addressing pre-employment training for school bus drivers, whether a trainee may be considered to not be an employee depends on these six circumstances. See DOL Op. Ltr. Oct. 15, 1993 (1993 WL 901174). Generally, in most cases of school bus companies offering CDL training, these elements are met. The CDL training provided by school bus companies is comparable to what would be given at a vocational school; the trainees receive the benefit of a CDL, which may be used in employment with any company; regular employees are not displaced by the trainees; the employer, who could simply only hire those with pre-existing CDL certification, is not immediately benefited, particularly since the trainee could seek employment elsewhere after receiving a CDL; the trainees are informed that they are not necessarily entitled to a job upon completion of the training; and the trainees are informed that they will not be paid for the training. CDL Training for Individuals Who are Already Employees According to a separate Department of Labor Opinion Letter also addressing CDL training by a school bus service provider, employers are generally also not required to compensate pre-existing employees for time spent in CDL training. See DOL Op. Ltr. May 3, 2001 (2001 WL 1592778). Employers are not required to pay employees for the training provided the following criteria are met: (a) attendance is outside the employee's regular working hours; (b) attendance is in fact voluntary; (c) the course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee's job; and (d) the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.
Continued on Page 10.
Best Values: • Legal Hotline for MSBOA Members • Employee Handbook & Employment Materials Package $875 (Includes 2 hours of attorney time - hourly rates thereafter)
• Drug & Alcohol Testing Package $425 Ask for MSBOA Discount of $100 off above packages Contact Tom Revnew 7300 Metro Blvd., Suite 500 • Minneapolis, MN 55439 Tel 952.896.1700 • Fax 952.896.1704 www.seatonlaw.com
Frequently Asked Question to MSBOA Office The following message is listed on the Minnesota New Hires website: EFFECTIVE October 1, 2012 New Reporting Requirements Not only do employers need to report all new hires, Section 802 of the Claims Resolution Act requires employers to also report the date employees first perform services for pay. Employers should report this date in the â€œDate of Hire fieldâ€?. In addition, the Act requires employers to re-report all employees who have had a break in service for more than 60 days. In Minnesota, both changes were effective October 1, 2012.
Question: How will this 60 day break affect school bus companies? Will we have to report our drivers as a rehire following summer break? Answer from Tom Revnew, Seaton, Peters & Revnew: This is a new requirement in all 50 states See http://newhire-reporting.com/MN-Newhire/Instruct.aspx : Re-hires or Re-called employees: Employers must report re-hires, or employees who return to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment after 60 days. Employers must also report any employee who remains on the payroll during a break in service or gap in pay, and then returns to work after 60 days. This includes teachers, substitutes, seasonal workers, etc. Under Minnesota Statute 256.998, subd. 1 (f) "Hiring" means engaging a person to perform services for compensation and includes the reemploying or return to work of any previous employee who was laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment when a period of 60 days elapses from the date of layoff, furlough, separation, leave, or termination to the date of the person's return to work. Employers are not required to report the hiring of any person who will be employed for less than two months' duration; and will have gross earnings less than $250 per month. 256.998, subd. 1(h)(3). The law applies to all employers who employ more than one individual
Legal Notes....Continued from Page 9. The training is considered voluntary because the employer is not mandating the employee to participate in the training. In this case, it is the state, and not the employer, requiring the training. Such state-required training is of general applicability, and not tailored to meet the particular needs of individual employers. See DOL Op. Ltr. May 3, 2001 at *1. As for criterion (c), although the training is clearly related to the employees' job, the FLSA regulations provide that such training need not be compensated if it corresponds to courses offered by independent bona fide institutions of learning and is voluntarily attended by an employee outside of normal working hours. Id. Such is the case with CDL training. Therefore, the FLSA does not require compensation for time spent in general CDL training. Please note that Department of Labor opinion letters are not considered law and merely provide guidance, and the position of the Department may change depending on political administrations. In order to ensure that you are not required under the FLSA to compensate either applicants or employees for CDL training, make sure that your training complies with the applicable above requirements.
Thanks Vendors! Thanks to all MSBOA Vendors who attended our 2013 MN School Bus Safety Expo in St. Paul. Your support is very important to the success of our event!
247 Security AngelTrax Boyer Trucks Education Logistics Espar GateKeeper Systems Interstate Power Systems IState Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. North Central Bus & Equipment Pomp’s Tire Service Q’Straint Seon Design, Inc. Sprint Telin Transportation Group The Braun Corp Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Ziegler, Inc. Zonar Systems
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MSBOA Planner Save these Dates!
Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Meets 3rd Weds. of Every Month Locations Vary Contact: LeAnn Livingston 651-982-8193
January 18-19, 2013 MN School Bus Safety Expo Crowne Plaza & St. Paul River Centre St. Paul, MN
Transportation Issues Study Committee Meets 4th Weds. of Every Month Contact: Keith Paulson 763-506-1132
June 9-11, 2013 MSBOA Summer Conference Ruttgerâ€™s Sugar Lake Lodge Cohasset, MN
Office of Pupil Transportation Stakeholders Quarterly Meetings Held, Dates Vary Contact: Lt. Brian Reu 651-405-6047
In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legal Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Legislative Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302
MN State Patrol Contacts Listed to the right is contact information for the state troopers in charge of school bus transportation. Use this contact information! They are ready to help with any questions or concerns you may have!
Northern Region Sergeant James Senenfelder Northern Regional Trooper Phone (612) 360-5172 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Metro Region Sergeant Paul Davis Metro / Central Regional Trooper Phone (612) 685-4820 E-mail: email@example.com Southern Region Sergeant Chad Dauffenbach Southern Regional Trooper Phone (507) 430-0791 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org