Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drafting A Change

As some of you may know, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee recently released a draft version of a bill designed to fix many of the unintended consequences of the CPSIA. This important piece of legislation will be the focal point of tomorrow’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade hearing.

From my perspective, this legislation will go a long way to reduce some of the unnecessary and over burdensome mandates of the CPSIA. For instance, the bill establishes limits for children’s products that are too large to be swallowed, alternative lead limits for metals and a de minimis exception for other materials. It also limits third party testing to specific categories of products with known risks. These changes would free the Commission to focus its efforts on hazardous products, rather than on the enforcement of non-risk based standards and procedural compliance.

Further, I want to note a key provision regarding the Public Database. The bill narrows the definitions of “consumer” and “public safety entity” to persons who either used a product or are closely associated with someone who did. In addition, the bill requires that the name and contact information of the affected individual be included in the report. I believe these simple changes would address many of my concerns regarding the veracity and verifiability of information submitted to the public database.

Finally, I want to commend Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack and members of her staff for their hard work on drafting this piece of legislation. While I know bills can change significantly during the legislative process, this draft reflects the Committee’s commitment to correct the problems with the CPSIA about which there is strong bipartisan agreement. I look forward to sharing my impressions of tomorrow’s hearing and welcome your comments about this legislation.

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