Rosario Palmieri Archives - Shopfloor

CPSC Begins ‘Soft Launch’ of Product Safety Complaint Erratabase

By | Regulations | One Comment

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a nice Monday morning surprise, a “soft launch” of the new consumer product safety complaint database, SaferProducts.gov, which the National Association of Manufacturers believes is ripe for abuse.

Alston and Bird reported the news in a client advisory last Thursday, “Consumer Product Safety Commission Database to Become Operational on January 24, 2011, Weeks Earlier than Expected“:

This early “soft launch” was announced during a CPSC presentation on January 20, 2011. Manufacturers and others affected by the database now effectively have one full business day to prepare for the database’s launch….

Although the CPSC indicated that consumer reports of harm submitted during the soft launch would not be publicly viewable during the launch period, clients should still be prepared to respond promptly to reports of harm. Today’s unexpected announcement also suggests that clients should be prepared for other unexpected actions by the CPSC with regard to the database.

UPDATE (10:25 a.m.): To be fair, we should repeat the CPSC’s important note about the “soft launch”: “Reports and manufacturer comments collected during Soft Launch will not be published and searchable in the Database, even after the official launch in March 2011.” Rest of the post continues below …

The NAM detailed manufacturers’ objections in a Jan. 13 Capital Briefing, “CPSC to Roll out Product Safety Database“:

This database has alarmed manufacturers, who fear that it will become a poorly monitored site that encourages reputation-harming complaints. Unfortunately, the new rule invites the gaming of the database to the detriment of manufacturers of safe products, even to the point of expanding the definition of “consumer” and “public safety entities” those who can register an online complaint to include trial lawyers and activist groups.

Advertising Age’ latest report also spots the problems. From “Marketers, Meet the Feds’ Very Own Yelp“: Read More

If Jobs are the Priority, Of Course You Ask Employers for Input

By | Economy, Regulations | No Comments

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has drawn media attention and the predictable outrage from the predictably outraged for asking companies and business groups (including the National Association of Manufacturers) for their views on regulations and job creation. Issa sent a letter last month to more than 150 companies, trade associations and research group seeking input, inquiries consistent with his priorities for the committee as he identified in a Bloomberg interview:

My number one priority is safety and security of the American people. My two priority is to reduce spending, and my number three, but not the last by any means, is to get this economy going away so there will be jobs. That’s what we have to do with the administration, whenever possible.

If jobs are priority, it makes sense to seek the opinions of the people who create the most jobs, that is, private sector employers. We recall President Obama spending a lot of time with corporate CEOs last month for those very reasons.

Politico first reported the story and did a fair job in its coverage, including the NAM’s perspective on the Obama Administration’s regulatory excess. In the story, Rosario Palmieri, NAM’s vice president for regulatory policy, cited as worthy of review the EPA greenhouse gas controls for major emitters, the proposed limits on ground-level ozone and new controls on incinerators and boilers.

From “Darrell Issa asks business: Tell me what to change“:

NAM’s “high-priority” regulatory list also includes OSHA consultation, noise and other policies, upcoming Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission controls regarding over-the-counter derivatives, Transportation Department limits on hours of service for truck drivers, and implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

“These are all high-priority regulations that can cost manufacturing jobs and will if implemented the wrong way or will as currently proposed or finalized,” Palmieri said. “We’re anxious for some oversight of these programs.”

He said there is a growing voice from “members on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, recognizing that the cumulative burden of regulation is a real problem and if we want to create more jobs and improve this economy, we need to get a handle on it.”

The jobs-killing, economy-throttling, anti-liberty consequences of regulatory excess are among the most frequent topics of commentary here at Shopfloor.org.

Journalistic reports on Issa’s letters were by and large fair, representing his legitimate goals in seeking information and business’ legitimate goals in providing information. The usual zealots and apologists for  the all-encompassing regulatory state (Public Citizen, for example) declaimed and demanded: How dare Issa talk to business! He should join us in demonizing them.

The impact of regulatory state on the economy and America’s citizens well deserves oversight and investigation, and Issa’s letters are an attempt to make his committee’s efforts informed and productive. That looks like good, responsive, sensible representation to us.

CPSIA Update: New Bill Helps Address Some of the Problems

By | Regulations | No Comments

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has now posted the prepared testimony from today’s subcommittee hearing on the proposed fix to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), draft legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA).

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) acknowledged the CPSIA needs to be amended, conceding the point made by those who have advocated fixing the law’s draconian provisions. From his prepared statement:

Since enactment, the Commission has made great strides in carrying out this law, but some areas of implementation have not been smooth. We have heard from a number of stakeholders that certain provisions of the law may need adjustment. We have taken these concerns seriously and, over the past year, met repeatedly with stakeholders affected by the new law to understand their concerns and to craft an appropriate legislative response. These stakeholders have included small and large manufacturers, small and large retailers, thrift stores, and other used goods sellers, trade associations, consumer advocates, and the CPSC itself.
The draft text that we are here to discuss today is the result of this process. It is not a perfect solution, and it does not represent complete fulfillment of anyone’s wish list. As our witnesses will testify, however, it is a fair and reasoned measure that would grant significant and meaningful relief to many stakeholders while still protecting our children from dangerous products.

Rosario Palmieri, vice president for the National Association of Manufacturers, testified. His prepared statement provides a good history of the problems that occurred during implementation of the overreaching law, and acknowledges the progress represented by the new bill:

The CPSEA will begin to eliminate several of those unintended consequences I discussed earlier. Currently, products that present no risk to children from lead content like bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles have been effectively banned for sale. This legislation would amend the exclusion process to allow these products to once again be sold and be affordable. The NAM and its members appreciate the agreement of the Chairman and staff to further define critical words in the legislation such as “practicable” and “measurable adverse impact” in Committee Report language to give the CPSC the clear direction to apply reason, common sense, and sound analysis to decisions about granting exclusions. The CPSC must be able to review petitions for exclusion/exceptions immediately upon passage of this legislation. Any delay or necessity for the CPSC to write new rules to govern this process will put more manufacturing jobs at risk.

UPDATE (1 p.m.): Here’s Rosario’s oral testimony, an audio file with a full minute to spare!