Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Advocates, retail group offer toy bill recommendations

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 10:48 AM

[UPDATED 2:05 p.m.] — An amended version of the Child Safe Products Act legislation has been submitted in the Senate. The amendments parallel those negotiated by advocates and the Retail Council of New York State. The bill, S4102A, is available on the Senate's website.

Original post: Supporters of the Child Safe Products act say that they're optimistic the proposal will pass in these final days of the State Legislature's session. 

The legislation would initially ban 10 toxic chemicals and heavy metals from children's toys, clothing, and furniture. Late yesterday, a group of environmental, health, and advocacy groups, as well as the Retail Council of New York State, announced that they'd come to agreement on a set of recommended amendments to the act. The recommendations generally clarify how products will be tested for chemicals, and how additional chemicals will be added to the list in the future.

But legislature leaders and representatives from the governor's office are currently negotiating changes to the bill, and there's no guarantee that they'll use the recommendations from act advocates and the Retail Council. (The Retail Council provides support services to retail businesses and lobbies state lawmakers.)

The Assembly already passed a version of the act, and the matching legislation in the Senate has more than 40 sponsors and co-sponsors; that's well past the number of votes needed to pass.

The Assembly passed the legislation last year, too, but it died in the Senate because the chamber's leaders wouldn't bring it up for a vote, even though it had 40 sponsors. Toy and chemical industry groups have aggressively lobbied against the legislation; they say that toy safety should be regulated at the federal level, and that strong consumer protections are already in place.

Yesterday's press release from advocates and the Retail Council included this statement from Ted Potrikus, president and CEO of the council:

"Governor Cuomo, the Assembly, and the Senate all made the Child Safe Products Act a priority for the 2015 session. Their leadership spurred a constructive, candid, and honest discussion between the retailers selling these products and the health and environmental advocates looking for clear guidelines on what can be sold in New York stores.

I'm pleased that our discussions have led to what we think is the strongest product safety bill in the nation. We think it reflects the priorities we've heard from Governor Cuomo and the state legislature, from advocates, and from the people who shop in our stores, as well as the practical considerations we needed to ensure an effective, statewide application of a single standard."

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