America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

Plan to attend AOA's 26th annual conference in Daytona Beach.

December 3-5, 2014


America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Hearing on Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act Scheduled for March 4th

Executive Order on Minimum Wage Increase Will Apply to New NPS Contracts after January 2015

Obama Administration Easing Employers into Health Insurance Mandate

AOA’s Twitter Account Hack Reveals Vulnerabilities of Twitter

Hearing on Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act Scheduled for March 4th in House Committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation

A hearing is scheduled for next week on the reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).  The legislation is the authority for outfitter permits in National Forests, on BLM lands and in Refuges.  AOA Executive Director David Brown and AOA board member Brian Merrill are expected to testify.  The discussion draft of the bill circulated for the hearing exempts dispersed users from fees in many areas (except where they are required to have a permit), but requires special recreation permit fees to cover much of the cost for managing recreation including monitoring, user education, trail and facility construction, maintenance, permit administration and other recreation related costs. Don’t panic just yet, this is a discussion draft. Changes can be expected, but it signals that reauthorization of outfitter's permitting authority will be difficult.

Executive Order on Minimum Wage Increase Will Apply to New NPS Contracts after January 2015; NPS to Determine if It Applies to CUA Holders.

The National Park Service issued more clarification on the applicability of President Obama’s Executive Order increasing the minimum to $10.10 per hour applied to concession contracts issued after January 1, 2015.  The wage is also indexed to inflation for federal contractors or contract-like authorizations.  In a clarifying statement NPS said this about the Executive Order:

All new National Park Service concession contracts whose solicitations issued after January 1, 2015 will fall under this new EO.  The EO strongly encourages the inclusion of this increased minimum wage requirement within contracts not yet awarded. The EO does not require the modification of existing concession contracts.

The EO may apply to other contract instruments such as leases and commercial use authorizations.  Additional review is necessary to determine such applicability.

The new minimum wage represents roughly a 30% increase.  The new minimum wage will affect workers who include tips as part of their income as well as workers who are on a fixed hourly wage.

A portion of operating costs in hospitality, particularly retail, food and beverage, recreation-based services are labor including lower wage labor.  As a result, a 30% increase in these costs will have an impact on NPS concessioner expenses.

The NPS is reviewing whether the increase wages and operator expenses will have an impact on visitor rates and/or franchise fees.    

Updates on Employers and the Health Insurance Mandate

AON Hewitt is providing a free update on the sometimes confusing changes to the employer mandate and other compliance issues related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  
A just released Aon Hewitt bulletin provides an overview of the final regulations and their potential impact on employer-provided health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Highlights include:

  • Employers with at least 50 but less than 100 full-time employees (FTEs) are not required to comply with the employer mandate until 2016.
  • Employers that employ 100 or more FTEs must comply with the employer mandate beginning in 2015 or risk a penalty. For 2015 only, a large employer that offers minimum essential coverage (MEC) to at least 70% of its FTEs and their eligible non-spouse dependents will not be subject to the “Failure to Offer” penalty, but could still be liable for the “Targeted” penalty if the coverage is not affordable or does not provide minimum value.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 FTE’s are not required to provide health insurance nor are they subject to the other mandates.

Click here to read AON Hewitt’s latest updates and compliance issues and the rules for determining who is an FTE, including the permissible methods for counting hours and nuances for various categories of employees.

AOA’s Twitter Account Hack Reveals Vulnerabilities of Twitter

With Twitter account hacking prevalent, including at news organizations like CNN and the Associated Press, Twitter users are being warned to avoid clicking on any links embedded in Twitter accounts even from known persons. The AOA account was recently hacked.  We apologize for any inconvenience related to this hack.  Hacking may also occur through third party applications that are supposed to enable you to manage your Twitter account but most likely occurs when clicking on a link in a Twitter message.

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