Stamford, (PressExposure) June 18, 2009 -- Tuesday, the Senate Committee of Energy and Commerce held the confirmation hearing for President Obamaâs nomination for Chairperson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Inez Moore Tenenbaum, former State Superintendent of Schools in South Carolina and current special counsel to the McNair Law Firm in the area of public school finance, answered a variety of questions from Senators ranging from her experience working in bi-partisan committees to specifics on implementation regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and concerns regarding Chinese drywall. Ms. Tenenbaum's repeated calls for common sense and cooperation were met with considerable optimism by many small manufacturers. At the conclusion, Senator Pryor (D-AR), who presided over the hearing, requested that all questions be submitted by 6pm in order to ensure a speedy confirmation process.
âAs a group, the Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA) reached out to many of the Committee members, asking to present specific questions to Ms. Tenenbaum about her ability to utilize risk assessment in the implementation of the CPSIA,â stated HTA Vice President Dan Marshall of Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care in Minnesota. âThe general theme of âcommon senseâ implementation was heard throughout the hearing. We were also greatly encouraged to hear many of the Senators mention hand crafters in general and Sen. Klobuchar specifically sited the HTAâs beginnings in Minnesota. This acknowledged to us that our greater message is being heard.â
âOne issue that continues to plague our membership in relation to the CPSIA is the inability to prove our safe products are in compliance with the law due to the third party certification process that has been written into the legislation,â expressed HTA Secretary Jill Chuckas of Crafty Baby in Connecticut. âThe question was posed to Ms. Tenenbaum on multiple occasions regarding how she planned to deal with this issue. Her direct response was âcomponent testing is an issue that will receive my full attention and considerationâ. While [the HTA is] still looking for a technical fix to the legislation, we remain hopeful that upon her confirmation, she will quickly promulgate rulings to help our membership.â
In a press release issued later in the day, Senator Hutchison (R-TX), ranking member of the Committee stated âThis 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.â Senator Hutchison went on to say âEveryone can agree that we want to protect consumers from harmful products, especially children, but an unreasonable law will only be counterproductive.â This call for action was met with enthusiasm by HTA members.
The Handmade Toy Alliance is a grassroots alliance of 368 retail stores, toymakers and children's product manufacturers from across the country, who want to preserve consumer access to unique handmade toys, clothes and all manner of small batch children's goods in the USA. Formed in November of 2008 in response to the CPSIA, HTA members are parents, grandparents and consumers who are passionate about their businesses as well as the safety of the children in their lives. While in support of the spirit of the law, the unintended consequences of the CPSIA have motivated members of the HTA to work to enact change at a federal level.