Archive for January, 2013

A Plan to Move Forward

The CPSC recently adopted an operating plan for fiscal year 2013. I voted for the plan, albeit with some hesitation. You can read my thoughts on the plan here. One issue of note that I would like to call out to my blog readers is variability of test results coming from third-party testing laboratories. Public comments on this issue require the agency to better understand what is going on. With the backing of my colleagues, I will host a public meeting on lab variability in the near future.

I look forward to discussing the subject further with members of the public, and I hope that this effort will help us identify whatever problems exist and contribute to an appropriate solution. If you have something to contribute, please tell me! More details to come.

Ports Report

Last week I was in New York to talk with the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel. We discussed importers’ responsibilities for testing and certification as well as the status of several ongoing regulatory proceedings of special interest to importers. The group was keenly interested in these issues as importers are especially impacted by many of our new regulations, and they are eager to “get it right.”

I also had the chance to meet with officials from both Customs and Border Protection and several ports. I was pleased but not at all surprised to hear their praise of the CPSC staff at the ports who are working tirelessly alongside Customs agents to stop dangerous products before they hit store shelves. The ongoing close cooperation that has developed between the CPSC and Customs since our Import Surveillance Division was established in 2008 is a real success story for both agencies. Port officials also gave the agency gold stars for cooperation. Kudos to all our staff, CBP, and the ports for their professionalism and dedication to making consumers safer.

Too Many Cooks?

In a time of budget crises and calls for leaner, smarter government, I’ve spent some time thinking about how the CPSC works and how to make it better. Based on my experience on the commission—starting with three commissioners, then two, then five, then four, and now three again—I have to question the decision to have multi-member commissions—at least here at the CPSC. I have spoken about the subject numerous times, including last fall when I visited with the students and faculty of the Regulatory Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. We talked about whether multi-member commissions provide their supposed benefits, and what we should do about it if they don’t. You can read some more of my thoughts in the latest issue of the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

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