Conferees Agree on More Regulation, Authority for CPSC

By July 28, 2008Briefly Legal

CQ Politics updating developments on H.R. 4040, the CPSC legislation, “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act”:

While the final provisions have not been released, advocates and lobbyists say there will be language to protect whistleblowers, make toy safety standards mandatory, regulate manufacturing of all-terrain vehicles and give state attorneys general certain decision-making powers.

 WSJ online has more, including news about federal preemption of state standards, or lack thereof.  

Another major division among House and Senate negotiators opened over whether new federal toy testing procedures could be supplanted or supplemented by others devised by individual states.

The agreed version sidesteps the issue by not including language either way. That deals a blow to industry, which has lobbied heavily for uniform national standards of regulation, enforced in the bill through language that would pre-empt any standards states might impose. Industry lobbyists say that the lack of clear guidance on pre-emption sets the stage for court challenges to the bill.

A patchwork of state rules will make compliance difficult, limit the toys sold in some states, and increase costs for consumers, say lobbyists and companies, which are already dealing with a variety of laws enacted at least 16 states in the absence of weak federal oversight and Congressional action.

So more lititigation ahead. The final agreement includes so-called whistleblower protections and the creation of a public database for consumer complaints, also big priorities for the trial lawyers and their cash flow.


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