In conjunction with the confirmation hearing for Inez Tenenbaum to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), issued a news release calling for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to work on fixing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
This is the clearest statement from a Senator we’ve seen about the CPSIA’s problems, and it carries weight because Hutchison is the ranking Republican on the committee.
“Overall, last year’s law is a good one, and it makes many improvements to the agency. As with most new programs, though, there are a few glitches that need to be worked out,” said Senator Hutchison. “While we worked very hard to write a good bill and had the best of intentions, we knew it was not perfect, and unintended consequences of the law have since surfaced.”
Senator Hutchison voiced her concerns with the new law’s effect on thrift stores, charity sales, and small businesses and noted the need for “common sense” when it comes to enforcement. She added that she was concerned with the time businesses have to comply with the law, as well as the need to provide flexibility when a business needs more time.
“This Committee needs to hold a hearing to discuss implementation of the law and identify significant problems so we can find a solution that will not inflict further harm on the industries and businesses, including small businesses and home crafters, that are already suffering during these tough economic times,” Senator Hutchison said. “Everyone can agree that we want to protect consumers from harmful products, especially children, but an unreasonable law will only be counterproductive.”
Banning dirt bikes, ballpoint pens and pre-1985 kids books and the closure of scores of home-based businesses qualify as more than “a few glitches,” but we won’t quibble with the diplomatic rhetoric of a Senate news release.
What’s significant and welcome here is a key committee member says it’s time to fix the law. For that …thank you.
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