All praise to radio talk show host, lawyer, and law professor Hugh Hewitt, who has labored hard to spread the word about the disastrous economic and personal harm caused by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. On Friday, he interviewed Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources, Inc., a leading activist calling for CPSIA reform, and the three-segment discussion covered all the law’s problems from A to X. (Y and Z are still out there waiting to make themselves known.)
Read the whole thing, but for now here’s the section about tracking labels. The NAM appreciates the mention, Hugh.
HH: Now in terms of the labeling, the tracking label requirement that we talked about during the break, it is effective August 14th. Explain to the audience when you got word on how to implement the requirement.
RW: Two days ago.
HH: See, no one’s going to believe that, because it’s so absurd.
RW: Well, and there’s been a great deal of interaction with the agency about tracking labels. You know, I must say candidly, the agency has been put in a situation where they always look bad on this kind of thing, and I don’t really want to jump on their back for it. Yes, it’s really unfortunate that it took 11 ½ months, but I will say it’s not like the agency had nothing else to do. They were given a lot of simultaneous, impossible requirements to meet. The mistake I believe that the agency has made is not just admitting that it took too long, and then slow the process down to allow for the kind of discussion with industry, and the time for a smooth, reasonable implementation that a process like this would require. The idea that you can put a six page document out three weeks before it’s due, and that that would make everything okay just doesn’t make any sense. It effects 60% of the economy.
HH: And it also comes out at a time when there’s been tremendous turnover at the agency, as is natural with a transition. The new chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, supposed to be very smart, I’ve invited her to be on the program. The old chairman, Nancy Nord, very smart, she’s been on the program, they don’t have a vast staff. They don’t have the kind of lawyer brigades that they need to work through a hundred different stays. But now the National Association of Manufacturers has put a petition in front of them to do what with regards to the labels, Mr. Woldenberg?
RW: Well, they’ve asked for a stay of a year. In other words, they’ve said roll this provision back a year to allow for the kind of interaction and finalization of rules that I’ve just suggested. Actually, in my opinion, they should roll it back for a year from the time the rules are finalized, because if you look at the various industries that are affected by this, there’s very long lead times to manufacturing, particularly in apparel, which I think may have the longest lead times of all. And you just can’t drop this on them three weeks ahead of time. It’s, I mean, the game is over three weeks ahead of time.
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