Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ASTRA meets with co-sponsor of toy reform bill

According to an e-mail sent out to ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association), ASTRA Prez Kathleen McHugh met with Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to talk about the new federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act of 2007. The act was passed by the US Senate and, according to ASTRA, "is expected to be signed into law in April following some minor changes that will happen in conference when the House and Senate meet to iron out the difference between their two versions. This is the bill that is most friendly to the toy industry, and one that attempts to establish federal standards that will supersede any state standards that are legislated around the country. "

McHugh met with Senator Durbin following a news conference he held at an ASTRA member store - 'The Toy Connection' in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

According to McHugh:
"Our meeting was productive and accomplished these things:

1) Senator Durbin promised to make sure that the language in the final federal law makes it clear that retailers cannot be held liable for safety violations committed by manufacturers. He agreed that this is an important distinction and he appears sincere in his support of our position on it.
2) Senator Durbin committed to making a strong case for strong language that will establish the federal law as pre-emptive of all state laws on standards. Surprisingly, he was unaware that there is legislation on toy safety standards pending in thirty states. It seemed clear that the information I gave him about the various state efforts was of considerable concern to him and underscored the urgency in making the pre-emptive language clear and effective. "

This is great news for the consumer, the manufacturer and the retailer. We need federal standards that protect our children from potentially dangerous toys and also to make it feasible for small companies to comply with one standard - instead of 30 different laws. Kudos to Kathleen McHugh, Senator Durbin and the hosts of the event, Dan and Ulla Koenig of The Toy Connection. Let's hope this gets done the way it sounds like it should.

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