As an update on the Washington State "Safe Toy" legislation, I am including an except from a e-newsletter we received from Kathleen McHugh, President, ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) reporting on the partial veto by Governor Gregoire.
It’s been a busy week in Washington State, where Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law HB 2647; the bill would outlaw certain chemicals in toys, including lead, but would also set up reporting requirements which would severely burden the industry. Manufacturers from around the country sent the governor notice that, if the law was signed as-is, they would seriously consider not selling their products in the state. Governor Gregoire found herself wedged tightly between “urban moms” on one side, organized by Washington Toxic Coalition, and small businesses of Washington on the other.
Instead of signing the bill as it was presented, the governor vetoed sections 1 and 8, which effectively stopped the bill from proceeding without further work. She called for the formation of a committee made up of all stakeholders, including small businesses, to work with the Department of Ecology and Health to “make sure the bill is implemented with common sense.”
We are grateful for the efforts of ASTRA, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and others in the toy industry to work with state and federal lawmakers to strengthen safety standards, and formulate compliance regulations in a way that are not overly burdensome. Kathleen McHugh continued and stated that many other states are considering other forms of toy safety laws which could be equally devastating to the toy industry as the Washington law would have been if it had been signed without changes. In particular, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Maine are close to voting on new laws. You can keep up with developments at the TIA website.