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Activism CPSIA: CONGRESS
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Activism CPSIA: CONGRESS Reply with quote

As per Jody's suggestion, we're splitting the activism thread into five areas which are:
1. ONLINE: Distribution of materials through the Internet to get our message out there for the purpose of generating support at the grassroots level (through blogs, listservers, discussion groups on Etsy, eBay, posting iPetitions, etc.)
2. CONGRESS: Flooding our Congressional representatives with comments
3. CPSC: Flooding CPSC with comments
4. MEDIA: Generating media interest in our concerns
5. TRADE GROUPS: Working through and alongside professional trade organizations to get our message heard

Jody wrote:
Iíve seen a whole lot of good ideas on this thread on how to fight this thing. But, Iím finding it increasingly difficult to follow everyoneís efforts. Waging an effective battle requires strategy. To that end, Iíd like to recommend that we get a little more organized to increase our effectiveness.

<snipped> What Iím suggesting is to use separate threads on this forum much like you would create subcommittees under a Board. This way, when any of us completes a task such as contacting a specific media outlet, posting on a specific blog, etc., we can post to the appropriate thread. Likewise, when each of us is working on something, we can go straight to that thread to find out whatís been done so far so that no one ends up spinning their wheels. We have lots of energy and connections here Ė we need to use both very wisely to avoid burn out.

It occurs to me that we really need to target our concerns about this legislation to the audience we are appealing to. To that end, I am drafting different responses for us to send to different audiences.

CONGRESS: Our letter to send to Congressional representatives:
This is feel-good legislation, both among Congress and consumers, both of which are uneducated about its real cost to them and our economy as a whole. We have to be mindful that because this law was intended to provide greater protection for children, we must be very careful in our efforts to avoid the appearance that we care more about our pocketbooks than child safety. If this happens, we will lose any credibility we might be able to gain as we move forward in this thing.

Given this, Iím going to rewrite our letter to emphasize that greater protections for children are a good thing, but Congress wrote this law in such a way as to impose unintended and very negative consequences in numerous industry sectors while resulting in very little gains in child safety. The draft letter needs some balance.</snipped>


Anyway, here please post your online activist activities and include links. If someone posts a link, please, follow the link and add your two cents! Don't leave someone hanging alone, they need back up.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bill, HR 4040, was introduced by Bobby Rush, Illinois. The following co-sponsored it (the date is the day they signed on):

Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 12/19/2007
Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] - 12/19/2007
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 11/1/2007
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Bean, Melissa L. [IL-8] - 12/18/2007
Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 11/13/2007
Rep Boucher, Rick [VA-9] - 12/11/2007
Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Boyda, Nancy E. [KS-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] - 11/1/2007
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 11/13/2007
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 11/1/2007
Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 11/1/2007
Rep Castor, Kathy [FL-11] - 11/15/2007
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 12/11/2007
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 11/1/2007
Rep Clyburn, James E. [SC-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 12/11/2007
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 12/18/2007
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 11/1/2007
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 11/15/2007
Rep DeGette, Diana [CO-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] - 11/1/2007
Rep Donnelly, Joe [IN-2] - 12/19/2007
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 11/8/2007
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 11/1/2007
Rep Emanuel, Rahm [IL-5] - 11/1/2007
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 12/12/2007
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 12/4/2007
Rep Fortenberry, Jeff [NE-1] - 12/11/2007
Rep Giffords, Gabrielle [AZ-8] - 11/15/2007
Rep Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY-20] - 11/1/2007
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 11/1/2007
Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 11/1/2007
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 11/1/2007
Rep Hall, John J. [NY-19] - 11/1/2007
Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 12/11/2007
Rep Harman, Jane [CA-36] - 11/1/2007
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 11/15/2007
Rep Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie [SD] - 11/13/2007
Rep Hill, Baron P. [IN-9] - 11/1/2007
Rep Hinojosa, Ruben [TX-15] - 12/4/2007
Rep Hodes, Paul W. [NH-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 12/11/2007
Rep Hooley, Darlene [OR-5] - 12/12/2007
Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 11/1/2007
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 11/1/2007
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 12/12/2007
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 11/1/2007
Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] - 11/1/2007
Rep Lampson, Nick [TX-22] - 12/12/2007
Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 11/15/2007
Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 11/15/2007
Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 11/1/2007
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] - 11/8/2007
Rep Mahoney, Tim [FL-16] - 12/12/2007
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 11/13/2007
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 11/1/2007
Rep McNerney, Jerry [CA-11] - 11/13/2007
Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21] - 11/15/2007
Rep Melancon, Charlie [LA-3] - 12/12/2007
Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 12/4/2007
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 12/12/2007
Rep Murphy, Christopher S. [CT-5] - 12/18/2007
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 12/13/2007
Rep Perlmutter, Ed [CO-7] - 12/4/2007
Rep Pomeroy, Earl [ND] - 12/12/2007
Rep Reichert, David G. [WA-8] - 12/12/2007
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 12/4/2007
Rep Richardson, Laura [CA-37] - 12/11/2007
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 11/1/2007
Rep Rush, Bobby [IL-1] (introduced 11/1/2007)
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 11/1/2007
Rep Sarbanes, John P. [MD-3] - 12/11/2007
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 12/18/2007
Rep Scott, Robert C. "Bobby" [VA-3] - 11/1/2007
Rep Sestak, Joe [PA-7] - 11/1/2007
Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [NH-1] - 11/8/2007
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 12/12/2007
Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] - 11/1/2007
Rep Space, Zachary T. [OH-18] - 12/4/2007
Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Stupak, Bart [MI-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] - 12/4/2007
Rep Tauscher, Ellen O. [CA-10] - 12/13/2007
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 11/1/2007
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 11/1/2007
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 12/4/2007
Rep Visclosky, Peter J. [IN-1] - 12/4/2007
Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2] - 12/13/2007
Rep Walsh, James T. [NY-25] - 11/15/2007
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] - 11/13/2007
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 12/13/2007
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] - 12/12/2007
Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] - 11/1/2007
Rep Wilson, Charles A. [OH-6] - 11/15/2007
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Wynn, Albert Russell [MD-4] - 11/1/2007

Senator Mark Pryor (Arkansas) introduced S. 2663 and S. 2045 (Senate variants) to the Senate. The following co-sponsored those

Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] - 2/25/2008
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 2/26/2008
Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] - 3/3/2008
Sen Inouye, Daniel K. [HI] - 2/25/2008
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] - 2/25/2008
Sen Lincoln, Blanche L. [AR] - 2/28/2008
Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] - 2/25/2008
Sen Pryor [AR]
Sen Salazar, Ken [CO] - 3/4/2008
Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] - 2/26/2008
Sen Stevens, Ted [AK] - 2/25/2008

If your Congessperson is in here, let 'em know. I will come back to edit this with e-mail and/or links to their websites.

Incidentally, Schumer is also behind the Fashion Piracy Act (S.1957) while Bordallo and Towns are co-sponsoring its HR equivalent (2033).

Some of them, of course, will not be returning this session. As Congresspeople, anyhow. Maybe as lobbyists?
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to this report from the CBO,

Quote:
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting the legislation would increase federal revenues from civil penalties by $43 million over the 2009-2018 period. CBO estimates the act would not affect direct spending.


Not sure how it doesn't affect direct spending if they are increasing the budget from $80 to 136 million per year between now and 2013.

Also, CBO estimates

Quote:
Since 2001, civil penalties assessed by CPSC have averaged $4.9 million annually. The average penalty collected during that time was $470,000, or about 25 percent of the maximum amounts. About 20 percent of the penalties exceeded $1 million.

Based on an analysis of historical assessments, CBO expects that a small number of cases would be directly affected by the higher maximum penalty [of $15 million]. Specifically, only a few fines per year were assessed at more than 50 percent of the maximum amount. However, the fines collected over the past several years may have been constrained by the current-law limit. CBO expects that increasing the cap would change the dynamics of litigating and settling large cases and estimates that the average penalty for larger cases would eventually double, while the average penalty for smaller cases would be about 20 percent higher.


So, if you were planning to stay in business, Congress is looking at you like lead- and phthalate-spewing meat with wallets.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By my count of the debate time, they spent all of 3 hours and 20 minutes debating the bill. House and Senate combined. That's pretty efficient: at 62 pages, that's about 3 minutes per page.

How long will it take you to figure out how to comply?
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joseph wrote:
This is going to be pretty embarrassing for someone.

I don't think so. Not if nobody knows it. the law is very popular with consumers groups. We need to start targeting these special interest groups who are sold, lock stock and barrel.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I was thinking as I read about Walmart and the two other retailers returning all that merchandise to the suppliers before February 10th. What will they do when there is nothing on their shelves? Will the public then feel the strain? Or care? Will Walmart?

I wasn't the least bit surprised- but very dismayed- that Rick Wolberg's letter was "never received" by Dingell or Pelosi.

Great description, Eric. They seem as if they are already counting the money they will get from all these "lawsuits". Like sharks circling. What will government do when they can no longer drain the tax dollars out of the unemployed who once kept this country afloat?
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J C Sprowls



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, what would happen if all the businesses that the CPSIA is gunning for during the first round of "examples" just threw up their hands and ceased the offending product line, entirely?

Yes, unemployment would rise. But, would that also drive the point home to the special interest groups when there was nothing for them to consume?

Should we give the unemployed folks the address of the nearest supporter in the envelope with their pinkslip explaining: "Call this person. I'm sure they've got either a room to spare or the answer to what you can do, now."

As you can tell, my cynicism is at an all-time high. I'm relatively certain it will remain at the 'orange' level for a while.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love how they redefine penalties as "revenue" when the act clearly states the penalties are to pay for disposal and enforcement. Probably another way to "borrow" in the same way they borrowed from social security.

Feinstein and Boxer were the sponsors of the pthalate ban.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, I am certain that among the supporters of given special interest groups, there are manufacturers. However, like many DEs here (or on Etsy) formerly thought, they think they are not affected because they are "good" and using good processes and inputs. They cannot realize they are also affected. We need to get the message out that they are.

We need some research done. We need to discover which special interest groups lobbied for this. Once we know, we need to analyze their membership lists to find all the members who are manufacturers. Then we need to contact them to make sure they know they must also be compliant because I doubt they realize this will also put them out of business. Then we need to impress upon them to lobby the management of their special interest group that there are major problems and something needs to be done before it is too late.

Likewise, many members of these special interests groups are consumers themselves. Like schools and churches. How are they going to buy sports uniforms, sports equipment or school and educational products? What about artificial turf they use on playing fields? Those will cost millions to replace because my friend, those must meet phthalate standards. If they don't replace them, they can be sued; it's a matter of retroactive liability. And what of the costs to consumers? Just as our costs will dramatically increase, as will theirs and mostly because there will be very few companies left standing so the prices of goods will dramatically increase due to the increase of testing and the fact that there are no competing products in the marketplace.

Lastly, I don't know how it should be done but I think we need an orchestrated effort to report manufacturers no matter how small that they are in violation. It's nothing personal. But the point is, the sooner we can shut everybody down, the sooner the supply of goods is shut off to consumers and as such, the sooner they realize there is a problem. If goods are still trickling into the marketplace, it'll take longer for them to realize it. The thing about this law is that it's not the Feds who will do all the enforcement. No no, State Attorney's Generals are enjoined to enforce it. That means we don't have to rely on reporting violations to some huge central office in DC, nope, just your state capital's AG office. If producers realize they don't have to worry about the feds being overstretched but directly from their own state, it has more impact. Moreover, state governments should become concerned of the costs of enforcement at a time when they won't have the money to do it. As such, we need to start our own special interest group to promote aggressive enforcement of the law.

Law enforcement has a very effective means to get their wants across in salary disputes. They can't legally strike so previously, they just slacked off a bit. While it infuriated some, it wasn't as effective as a better tactic which was aggressive law enforcement. Police started writing tickets for the most minor infractions. Once people starting getting tickets for things you'd normally never get one for (like jaywalking, not in large cities where they actually do that), a lot more people got bent out of shape because more were affected with a work speed-up than a work slow-down. That is the same tack we need to take. It's nothing personal.
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J C Sprowls



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another option would be for all manufacturers to just no support the US markets. For those of us where the US-based market is our sole source of revenue, it might be less effort and money to start exploring export.

It's a big, big, mad, mad world out there.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Response from Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho. While he is concerned about overregulation and supports small businesses, he still voted for the darn thing. Anyway, I intend on writing to him again about the impact on small businesses in Idaho, especially since our small state only has a few major industries and relies heavily on small businesses for tax revenue.

Quote:
While reviewing this legislation, I carefully considered the negative impact of overregulation. Too often government involvement in private industry, in the form of overregulation and increased tax burdens, does more harm to our economy than good. Small businesses like yours and large corporations alike have a huge positive impact on Idahoís growing economy, and, while I recognize that there are times when the federal government has a role to play, I believe that the best environment for these businesses to flourish, grow, create jobs and serve their communities is created when they are left to their own innovative devices.

As a Member of Congress I will continue working to ensure that businesses have the freedom to make decisions that are good for their companies, our economy, and the livelihoods of Idahoans and their families. In doing so, I will keep the thoughts you have shared with me in mind.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She doesn't appear to be one of "us", but Nature's Child makes good points in this blog post.

Quote:
* For most products, testing of componsent materials instead of finished products would save millions of dollars in testing fees and make the law less burdensome on the small business owner.
* Explain that this law mandates unnecessary testing of materials, that by their very nature, are at no risk of contamination by lead and phthalates: specifically unadorned fabrics, sewing thread, paperunfinished wood, and wood finished with food-grade finishes (such as beeswax).
* Explain that this law is not compatible with international safety standards, such as the EU's EN71, that already impose even stricter limits that the new US standard on harmful chemicals in childrens' products. As a result, manufacturers of the world's safest toys would have to spend millions of dollars on redundant testing in order to continue selling their products in this country.
* Explain that as it stands, this part of the law will put thousands of small manufacturers out of business - hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults.
* Explain that making the law retroactive would put millions of small independent children's stores out of business, as large portions of their inventory are defined as "banned hazardous substances" overnight - regardless of whether these products contain dangerous materials.
* Point out that requiring testing of finished products makes it impossible to legally sell handmade products for children. This removes consumer choice as well as devastating businesses that specialize in handmade items.
* Explain how offering consumer choices is going to be incredibly expensive - having to test every product over and over even when the materials are the same and only details such as size or fabric print change will make it too expensive for small businesses to carry a broad variety of products.
* Explain that you believe there are alternatives that are workable solutions and still protect kids.
* Explain that this rule favors those who manufacture in mass quantity and hurts smaller, more varied businesses. Grandma is going to be a felon if she sells baby items at craft fairs.

Let them know that you will be following up after the next hearing to talk further. Let them know that the law is going to hurt YOU as a consumer as well as any businesses you may have.

Offer some alternatives to help them out. No Congressperson is going to want to stand up and say, ďLetís make toys unsafe again!Ē If you offer them some workable ideas, you will make a lot more progress. Some alternatives that have been suggested:

* Exempt products made from materials that are very unlikely to contain lead - fabric, paper, wood, etc.
* Exempt categories of items such as books, unadorned textiles, or handmade items made in the USA and Canada.
* Exempt products from Canada or the EU that are already certified under standards that meet or exceed the CPSC standard.


She links to her own message, which is great, but we need in addition to that something more generic which can then be amended by each person with their personal details (where are you, what's the name of your business, how many do you employee).
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Jesica Milton
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I sent a letter to WA representative Inslee. He was a co-sponsor of the legislation, I will update if I get a response.
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Vesta
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know of a site from which I can email multiple congress people (like the members of the subcommittee on commerce, trade, and consumer protection)?

I may also write physical letters, as I did to my reps, but I want to hit them before the week is out. I know the hearing has been canceled (anyone know why?), but at least the issue is on their minds this week.
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Kiki allthenumbers
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: phone calls Reply with quote

Someone on Etsy has started a volunteer sign up to barage the House with calls about this on Wednesday. They are going to provide a script. Please go to this thread to sign up. If we all donate an hour that would be amazing!
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5945166
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