Archive for June, 2013

Wanted: Your Suggestions

As our law requires and good regulatory policy suggests, the CPSC holds a public hearing every year on the upcoming year’s budget priorities. It is a great opportunity for the public to tell us what issues we should focus on over the coming year.

Truly, though, looking ahead just one year not enough—the budget and operating plan processes are connected and large tasks, so our staff must begin work on them long before the summer leading up to each new fiscal year (which begins every October 1st). So this year, we’ve decided to do something a little different and ask the public for its priorities concerning both the next fiscal year’s operating plan and the subsequent year’s budget request. This type of long-term planning is commendable. And we need the public’s help. So if you’d like to make a presentation to us at the hearing—or to submit written testimony—you can submit your proposal or comments via this email address, and get more information here. The deadline is July 1st.

Game, Set, Match

The words continue to fly at CPSC. My colleagues issued a statement responding to mine from a few weeks ago on the proposed updates to our rule on certificates of compliance. They disagree with parts of my analysis and accuse me of playing politics with the rest. While I still would like our new sport of statement tennis abandoned, I cannot let such personal attacks go unanswered, so I responded.

My colleagues question my motives for opposing their approach under 2008’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. My motives are what they have always been—I seek public deliberation that leads to prudent regulation that enhances consumer safety. That my colleagues have reacted to my engagement in the debate with such mischaracterization is unfortunate; we owe it to the consumers we protect and the companies we regulate to debate the merits of policies, not each other’s motives.

CTAC: A Bull’s-Eye on Effective Import Strategy

Recently, I had the chance to visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center—CTAC. I met with both CPSC staff who work there and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol staff they work alongside. CTAC was established 4 years ago to coordinate information sharing among agencies responsible for the safety of imports. Through this effort, the CPSC and CBP have been able to leverage their knowledge about products and companies to better target potentially hazardous products and stop hazardous ones from reaching store shelves.

Sharing information and priorities among multiple federal agencies helps both consumers and the regulated community: the coordination makes our efforts more effective and efficient, meaning that we can police more imports with the same staff. At the same time, CTAC (and other developments being pursued by DHS and CBP) should enable importers to reduce the number of redundant forms they must complete and shorten the time that legitimate trade is slowed before entering the American market. Based on what I saw and heard, it is clear that both the CPSC and CBP have learned a lot from each other since CTAC started, and we stand to learn a lot more, especially as other federal agencies increase their engagement.

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