WASHINGTON -- On March 17 and 18, the bulk vending industry met with lawmakers to make its case for a permanent exemption from the labeling requirements mandated under Section 103 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. It was the second lobbying mission organized by the National Bulk Vendors Association.
NBVA members met with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Parker Griffith (R-AL) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), among other lawmakers. They also met with staff members on the House's Energy and Commerce and Small Business Committees, and the Senate Commerce Committee.
The industry delegation, which included Steve Schechner of Capital Vending (Florence, AL) and Judy George of Gus's Gumballs (Laurel, MD), stressed the need for an amendment to Section 103, which mandates that a tracking label be put on children's bulk-vended products.
While the CPSC's statement of policy on Section 103, which was issued in July 2009 following the NBVA's first lobbying mission, indicated that individually bulk vended products do not need to be labeled or marked, it is not binding and leaves the industry susceptible to future actions by state and federal authorities, as well as private litigants. The NBVA underscored the importance of its position when lawmakers consider future technical corrections to the toy safety bill.
"Overall, all offices on the Hill were receptive to our message," said Matthew Cohen, a Washington-based attorney working with NBVA. "We remain optimistic that if a technical corrections package does move in the coming months, our issue will be addressed, thanks to the NBVA's efforts and all of the groundwork the association has laid on the Hill and at the CPSC over the past year."
Cohen told VT that the "technical correction" is about jobs, and the preservation of a safe and valued American industry, particularly in a tough economy. As of now, it appears that the House will take the lead on any corrections package, which is expected to move soon.