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Government Affairs

ASTA to Asst Secretary Risch re Passport Operations.pdf — May 29, 2020

Advocacy Toolkit — May 12, 2020
How big is the travel agency industry in your state? How much has ASTA saved travel agencies? What is ASTAPAC? These resources answer those questions.

ASTA to Treasury Ticket Agent Loans — March 31, 2020

Jay Ellenby, Safe Harbors Business Travel Group (Bel Air, MD) Testimony before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee — March 2, 2020

Genevieve Strand, Director, Advocacy, ASTA, Testimony Before the New York Standing Committee on Labor (Independent Contractor Classification) — December 5, 2019

ASTA to NJ Senate Labor Committee — November 13, 2019

Coalition Letter on CBP Staffing Levels — October 28, 2019

ASTA to Reps Johnson and Fortenberry HR4489 Resort Fees Oct 2019 — October 4, 2019

ASTA Letter to Reps. Stefanik, Roe and Byrne in Support of HR 4069 (Independent Contractor Harmonization). — August 1, 2019

The Value of Travel Advisors — June 19, 2019
Who uses travel advisors, who wants to use travel agents and how to market to both. ASTA’s Value of Travel agents study surveyed over 8,000 U.S. Travelers and found out who uses travel agents and who does not. But more importantly it found that non-users were interested in using a travel agent.

Minnesota Call to Action on Sales Tax on Travel Advisors — April 15, 2019
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton released budget proposal which includes additional taxes on travel advisor services, now is the time for you to take action.

ASTA Letter to Sens. Rubio and Scott re: Cuba Travel/Helms-Burton Act — March 29, 2019

ASTA Letter in Support of Arkansas HB 1850 (Independent Contractors) — March 26, 2019

ASTA Letter in Support of Tennessee SB 466 (Independent Contractors) — February 22, 2019

Congressional Letter to U.S. Department of Labor re: Travel Agencies and the Retail Overtime Exemption — June 27, 2018

ASTA Letter of Opposition to Pennsylvania HB 1511 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — April 27, 2018

ASTA to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure re: FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) — April 18, 2018

ASTA Letter to Congressional Leadership re: H.R. 3825 (Independent Contractors) — March 15, 2018

ASTA Letter of Opposition to Iowa HSB 671 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — February 28, 2018

ASTA Letter of Opposition to Pennsylvania SB 721 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — January 30, 2018

ASTA Letter of Opposition to New Hampshire HB 1548 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — January 17, 2018

ASTA letter to Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees re: Tax Reform Bill — December 5, 2017

ASTA letter to Secretary Tillerson re: Turkey Visa Suspension — November 3, 2017

ASTA Comments on U.S. Department of Transportation Regulatory Review — November 1, 2017

ASTA to Rep. Stefanik re: H.R. 3825 (Harmonization of Coverage Act of 2017) — October 2, 2017

ASTA to OFAC_Cuba Policy Changes: ASTA Letter to Office of Foreign Assets Control re: Cuba Policy Changes — October 2, 2017

ASTA Comments on the Department of Labor’s Request for Information on Overtime Rules — September 25, 2017

Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity Coalition Letter on Department of Labor’s Request for Information on Overtime Rules — September 22, 2017

Agency Relationships and the Law Manual — September 21, 2017
The concept of “agency” – the legal relationship that is created when one person is authorized to act on behalf of another – is an important one in the travel industry. Travel agents are routinely authorized to act on behalf of others, most notably, the traveling public. This manual uses real-life case studies to provide an understanding of what this means to the travel agent.

2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual — September 21, 2017
ASTA’s 2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. ASTA has added several new features to the 2017 manual

ASTA Amicus Brief in City of Phoenix v. Orbitz Worldwide Case (Hotel Taxes) — September 12, 2017

ASTA Amicus Brief in US Airways, Inc. v. Sabre Holdings Corp. Case — July 26, 2017

Travel Industry Letter to President Trump re: Visa Processing Changes — July 18, 2017

ASTA to Senate Commerce Committee re: FAA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S. 1405) — June 28, 2017

ASTA to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure re: 21st Century AIRR Act (H.R. 2997) — June 26, 2017

House, Senate FAA Bills Introduced — June 23, 2017
This week, legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and set federal aviation policy generally.

ASTA Letter to Ohio House Finance Committee re: HB49 (Hotel Taxes) — April 26, 2017
ASTA Letter to Ohio House Finance Committee re: HB49 (Hotel Taxes)

ASTA Letter to Pennsylvania Senate Banking & Insurance Committee re: SB 630 (Travel Insurance) — April 24, 2017
ASTA Letter to Pennsylvania Senate Banking & Insurance Committee re: SB 630 (Travel Insurance)

Gain a Marketing Advantage Through Promoting Sustainable Travel — April 6, 2017
The marketing advantage of the sustainable travel niche is the growing desire of consumers to “do well” while vacationing and traveling.

Regulatory Compliance for Travel Agency Professionals — April 6, 2017
Travel agencies of various sizes have been assessed civil penalties ranging from $20,000 to $125,000, and on day two of 2014 DOT levied a $95,000 fine on a single agency. This video will delve deeply into the nuances and key compliance issues of the principal federal consumer protection rules and policies.

ASTA Letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security re: Electronics Ban — March 31, 2017

ASTA Members to Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) re: RSE Blacklist — March 28, 2017

Ohio Service Industry Coalition (incl. ASTA) Letter to State House of Representatives re: Sales Tax Expansion — March 6, 2017

ASTA Comments on U.S. Department of Transportation Proposal re: Voice Calls In-Flight — February 16, 2017

Michael Dixon, Travelink (Nashville, TN) Letter to Sen. Alexander re: RSE Blacklist — January 31, 2017

ASTA Comments to U.S. Department of Transportation on Bag Fee Refund Proposal — January 25, 2017
On behalf of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the more than 100,000 Americans who work at travel agencies across the country, I am writing to express ASTA’s viewpoint with respect to the various issues raised in the ANPRM regarding implementation of the statutory requirement...

ASTA Comments on State Department’s Proposed Passport Fee Increase — November 18, 2016

ASTA Letter to Trump Administration Transition Team re: Regulatory Priorities — November 16, 2016

Letter to Pennsylvania Senate Banking & Insurance Committee re: S.B. 1331 (Travel Insurance) — September 23, 2016

Travel Industry Letter to House of Representatives re: Zika Funding — September 7, 2016

Travel Industry CEO Letter in Support of Norwegian Air’s DOT Application for Expanded Trans-Atlantic Service — August 30, 2016

Andrea da Rosa, Balboa Travel Inc. (San Diego, CA) Testimony Before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Travel Insurance Working Group — August 26, 2016

NY/NJ Chapter Letter to Govs. Cuomo & Christie re: JFK Airport Panic — August 18, 2016

ASTA Petition to Amend U.S. Department of Labor Regulations re: Retail or Service Establishment Overtime Exemption — August 5, 2016

Helpful Resources — June 22, 2016

Letter to U.S. Sens. Moran, Leahy re: Cuba Travel Freedom Amendment (Cuba Travel) — June 15, 2016

Video Library — May 17, 2016

ASTA Priorities for FAA Reauthorization — May 1, 2016

Letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation re: H.R. 636/S. 2658 (FAA Reauthorization) — April 7, 2016

Letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship re: DOL Overtime Rules — March 11, 2016

Letter to Nebraska Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee re: LB 1040 (Seller of Travel Registration) — February 24, 2016

Letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee re: AIRR Act/FAA Reauthorization — February 10, 2016

Letter to Louisiana Rep. Moreno re: HB 59 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — January 23, 2016

Jay Ellenby, Safe Harbors Travel Group, Inc. (Bel Air, MD) Letter to Maryland General Assembly re: Senate Bill 190 (Sales Tax on Hotel Fees) — January 5, 2016

Letter to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislative Leadership re: Sales Tax on Travel Services — November 10, 2015

Air Travel Coalition Letter to Congressional Tax Committees re: Diversion of Customs Funds to Support Highway Infrastructure — October 16, 2015

ASTA to Massachusetts Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure re: HB 181 (Travelers Bill of Rights) — October 15, 2015

ASTA to Mass Fin Serv Committee re HB 961 Travel Insurance.pdf — September 29, 2015

Partnership To Protect Workplace Opportunity — September 4, 2015

ASTA Comments to U.S. Department of Labor Proposed Rule Defining and Delimiting Exemptions for Certain Employees — September 4, 2015

ASTA Letter to U.S. Department of Labor Requesting Extension of Comment Period for Overtime Eligibility Rulemaking — August 19, 2015

ASTA Letter to Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Finance (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — June 25, 2015

ASTA Letter to Ohio Legislative Leadership re: HB64 (Hotel Occupancy Tax) — June 22, 2015

ASTA Letter to New York Senate Insurance Committee re: S5363 (Travel Insurance) — May 29, 2015

Travel Industry Letter to House of Representatives re: Zika Funding — May 9, 2015
Travel Industry Letter to House of Representatives re: Zika Funding

ASTA Letter to New Hampshire Senate Commerce Committee (Travel Insurance) — April 16, 2015

ASTA Letter to Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) re: Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 664) — April 6, 2015

ASTA Presents Rep. Sam Farr with Travel Advocate Award — March 18, 2015
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) will present Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus...

Larry Swerdlin, Burton’s Travel (Owings Mills, MD) Testimony Before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee (Sales Tax on Hotel Fees) — March 11, 2015

Jay Ellenby, Safe Harbors Travel Group, Inc. (Bel Air, MD) Testimony Before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee (Sales Tax on Hotel Fees) — March 11, 2015

Craig Baldridge, Creative Vacations & Cruise Centers (Dublin, OH), Testimony Before the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee (Sales Tax on Services) — March 11, 2015

Washington Call to Action #3 – Last Chance to Stop $11.7 Million Tax Increase — June 18, 2013
Today, the Washington legislature enters the final days of its overtime session to hammer out a state budget by June 30 (after which a government shutdown will occur).

Arizona Travel Insurance Deregulation Bill Defeated — June 14, 2013
Arizona’s travel insurance deregulation bill (HB2560) died in the Senate last night.

June 6: ASTA-Led Coalition Letter on Poland's Entry into the Visa Waiver Program — June 6, 2013

Arizona Call to Action – Travel Insurance Deregulation — May 7, 2013
Thank you to everyone who responded to our legislative action alert on travel insurance earlier this year!

Delta Increases “Domestic/Canada” Change Fee to $200 Matching United and US Airways — May 1, 2013
Effective April 30, 2013, Delta Air Lines has increased its standard “domestic” change fee from...

United Change Fee Increase Update, US Airways Matches Increase — April 24, 2013
Update: United Airlines (UA) has increased its change fee in “markets/fares that ...

PACs and political influence in the travel industry — February 12, 2013
To many people, the term "PAC" conjures images of smoke-filled rooms, suitcases full of cash and corrupt politicians. And don't forget about those negative ads!

Arizona Call to Action on Travel Insurance Deregulation — February 11, 2013
Protect your travel insurance revenue stream by asking your state legislators to support travel insurance deregulation legislation (HB 2560).

State Updates — January 14, 2013
The ASTA Government Affairs Department works tirelessly for its members throughout the country by monitoring issues and organizing grassroots on their behalf within the state legislatures. State Taxes, Licensing Regulations, and Surety Bonds are just a few of the many issues that have been addressed during the past few years.

Federal Updates — January 14, 2013
Federal legislative issues facing travel agents in which ASTA is monitoring and actively addressing.

Written Commission Compensation Agreements for California agent Employees — August 16, 2012
By January 1, 2013, all businesses that pay their California employees by commission must devise written agreements that spell out the method by which commissions will be computed and paid.

Chamber of Commerce Grassroots Campaign — June 9, 2011
Various Chambers of Commerce across the country have entered into the travel business, arranging and selling tour packages to community members. These activities undercut the business activities of the organizations’ own members—local travel agencies and tour operators. In some cases, the Chamber adds insult to injury by using travel companies that are not even Chamber members.

This issue has become, and rightly so, a serious matter of concern for travel agencies and tour operators across the country who are already facing numerous challenges in their struggle to stay in business, only to find themselves in competition with the very organization that purports to support them. ASTA has prepared a grassroots public relations plan for its members who find themselves in competition with their own Chamber to use in alerting the media and their communities to this unfair practice.

ASTA's Pain-Free Advocacy Guide for Travel Advisors - How to be an Industry Advocate — June 6, 2011
Every individual and business, no matter who they are, has the opportunity to influence the policies that are created by their elected officials and impact where they live and work. Whether you realize it or not, you advocate the people, places and interests you care about every day. Why not put the same support towards the welfare of your business, clients and peers? ASTA's guide provides many of the simple things you can do now to make a difference towards vital issues that can expand or limit your success.

ASTA letter to President Obama on Cuba Travel — September 24, 2010
A letter to President Obama asking to remove barriers to Cuba travel.

ARC Announces change in Mexicana Processing — August 6, 2010
Airline Reporting Copr. (ARC) issued a statement to advise that it has reopened processing for credit card refunds on Mexicana-validated tickets.

ARC Continues Mexicana Airlines Processing — August 3, 2010
Mexicana Airlines has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Mexico and has stated that it expects to continue to operate flights and customer programs without interruption while it reorganizes.

ASTA Government Affairs Update — July 15, 2010
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step on a matter of vital importance to the travel agency community...

ASTA Letter re Alaska Cruise Tax — March 29, 2010
ASTA Letter re Alaska Cruise Tax

State Regulation - Seller of Travel Legislation Study — July 14, 2009
Currently, seventeen states including the District of Columbia impose some type of regulation on travel sellers and tour operators. Due to the perceived rampart abuse of consumers, states began enacting stern measures designed to combat fraudulent business practices within the industry. California, Florida, Hawai'i and Washington generally have the most restrictive seller of travel regimes, while the laws in states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are much more limited in scope.

ACTION REQUIRED: Small Business Lending Stripped out of Stimulus Bill — February 13, 2009
ASTA has learned that Congressional negotiators, have removed a program from the stimulus package that would have allowed travel agencies and other small businesses to receive loans directly from the Small Business Administration.

Legislative Action: ASTA’s Guide to Participating in the Political Process — May 12, 2008
Each year, numerous bills circulating through Congress and state legislatures are proposing more taxes on agency service fees, changes in business taxation, potential solutions for health care reform and many other policies affecting the livelihood of travel professionals. This detailed guide shows you many of the valuable ways you can participate in the policymaking process and influence positive change for the future of the travel industry.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — June 25, 2007
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) now requires all travelers, including U.S. citizens, traveling to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, to have a valid passport that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States when traveling by air. The second phase of WHTI addresses land and sea ports of entry as well as a yet to be determined travel pass card.

Tax Gap — June 25, 2007
ASTA joined the Coalition for Fairness in Tax Compliance to regularly track any and all proposed changes that could potentially affect the way businesses are taxed.

2007 State Legislative Initiatives — June 25, 2007
Since January, more ASTA members have become actively involved at the state level. This is where, as a direct result of the grassroots work by ASTA travel agents, ASTA has successfully defeated efforts by several states to unfairly tax travel agencies.

Passenger Bill of Rights — June 25, 2007
When the issue of passenger rights was addressed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 1999, ASTA was the lead industry organization backing a legislated bill of rights. This issue has resurfaced today.

Health Care Reform — June 25, 2007
ASTA is currently monitoring a variety of proposed health care reform packages to study their potential effects on businesses that sell travel.

Car Rental Excise Tax — June 25, 2007
ASTA is part of the Coalition Against Discriminatory Car Rental Excise Taxes, and supports HR 2453 which prohibits future discriminatory car rental excise taxes and protects the rights of all car rental consumers.

Junk Fax Regulations, ASTA Comments on Petition for Declaratory Ruling on FCC's Proposed — January 12, 2006
ASTA Comments on Petition for Declaratory Ruling on FCC's Proposed Junk Fax Regulations


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