Both the United States Senate and House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that provides for the reauthorization of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The bill includes many safety protections, including ATV (all-terrain vehicle) standards, whistleblower protection for employees of manufacturers and distributors, a ban on phthalates in children’s toys, and other mandatory toy standards. It also authorizes additional federal funding for the Commission to carry out investigations.
The American Association for Justice has been working on this legislation for the better part of a year. They worked to include language that clarifies requirements under such bills as the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous Substance Act do not preempt causes of action under State or local common law, nor do they preempt State statutory law concerning damage claims. The language of the bill specifically states that the CPSC is to refrain from including any language regarding preemption in its statement of policy and executive branch orders. The legislation also states certain state laws, for example California’s Proposition 65, are not preempted. The bill is now being sent to the White House for the President’s approval, which he is expected to sign.
In this writer’s opinion, this is a huge victory for the American public and it has, unfortunately, received little press nationwide. This bill, if signed into law, will offer provisions that will keep consumers safe, including, most importantly, children. Hopefully, many lives will be saved because of this bill. Further, the bill protects states’ rights, preventing the federal government from preempting state law; this is a provision that should make true conservatives happy as well.