March 7, 2008

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Manager – Government Affairs

Consumer Products Safety Commission Bill Includes Onerous Advertising Requirements

The Senate has approved a consumer protection bill that may lead to increased warning labeling on advertising for children's toys. S. 2663, the Consumer Products Safety Commission Reform Act, contains a section that would require manufacturers, distributors or retailers of children's toys containing small parts to include additional cautionary statements in or immediately adjacent to internet and catalog advertisements. The bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. The AAF believes that this proposal could lead to language that would create extensive warnings and overburden the Internet and catalog advertisements subject to its provisions and called for an amendment to the bill that would have removed the provision. The AAF sent letters to senators asking them to adopt language present in the House version of the bill (H.R. 4040) mandating that the CPSC investigate the need for additional warning labeling before requiring it. A copy of the letter is available here.
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House Committee Holds FDA Tobacco Regulation Hearing

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held another hearing on H.R. 1108, which would grant the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products and their advertising, but has not yet approved the bill. Introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the bill would direct the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to publish an interim rule with sweeping new restrictions on tobacco advertising. Additionally, the bill would impose labeling requirements on tobacco ads and grant state and local governments authority to impose "specific bans or restrictions on the time, place and manner" of tobacco ads. The American Advertising Federation joined with the AAAA and the ANA to send a letter to committee members voicing opposition to the proposed advertising restrictions. A copy of the letter is available here.
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Florida Commission Rejects Services Tax Proposal

The Florida Taxation Budget Reform Committee rejected an effort put forth by former Senate President John McKay to reinstate a tax on business services, including advertising. McKay, who is a commissioner on the budget committee, had drafted several versions of an amendment that would have removed tax exemptions and required the legislature to reinstate a services tax. Last month, economists hired by the commission estimated that McKay's proposals might cause as many as 53,000 lost jobs in the first year if enacted. Instead, the panel approved a plan that would cut property taxes and offset the shortfall with an overall increase in the sales tax. Florida voters must vote on any changes supported by the commission and legislature before they become law.
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