Government Relations

Category Archives:Government Relations

Action Alert: Stop Repeal of Debit Swipe Fee Reform

Swipe Fee Reform is on the Chopping Block. Act NOW! Call your Representative and make a difference!

The House Financial Services Committee passed the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) out of Committee. The next step is for members of the House to vote on it. Contact your Representatives ASAP (they’re home in their districts the week of May 8). Tell them how debit swipe fee reform has helped
your business and your customers. Urge your Representatives to tell House leadership you oppose the repeal of the Durbin amendment/swipe fee reform in H.R. 10. Make sure they understand this reform benefits you, your customers, THEIR constituents, not just the big box retailers.

Take a minute to calculate the savings you’ve realized since the debit swipe fees were capped 5 years ago. Aside from capping the fees banks could charge, the reform also provides transparency and competition in the marketplace. Think about the positive effects this savings has had on your business. Maybe you’ve expanded your business, hired new people, offered more value to customers–these are the tangible results your Representatives need to hear. They need to hear about the savings you pass on to consumers while banks and debit card processors are trying to gobble up more profits from retailers who accept their payment process (because that’s what the customer wants) instead of checks or cash. Make the call to prevent the repeal of debit swipe fee reform.

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New Guidance for California’s Prop 65

January 26, 2017

California’s Prop 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide a clear and reasonable warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing individuals to chemicals that the state says cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. While the primary burden to warn consumers falls on manufacturers, Prop 65 applies to everyone in the supply chain; no one is exempt from liability.

This proposition has been around for 31 years, so what’s new? The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently came out with Article 6, which gives more specific guidance on the new product warning label. And, while this doesn’t go into effect until August 30, 2018, manufacturers and retailers can choose to comply now.

Here are the details on the new guidance:

  • There’s an unlimited sell-through period. Products manufactured before August 30, 2018 may comply with the longstanding warning regulations, even if the product is sold after the effective date. Products manufactured on or after August 30, 2018 must comply with the new regulations.
  • There’s a furniture-specific safe harbor, which clarifies that a separate Prop 65 label is not required for furniture. Manufacturers can put the Prop 65 warning on the product “in the same manner as other consumer information or warning materials that are provided on the product.” This means manufacturers can use the existing manufacturing label as a ‘billboard’ to display all product information.
  • The amended regulation changes the language in the required warning. The warning now needs to list at least one specific chemical believed to cause both cancer and reproductive harm, or two (one believed to cause cancer and one believed to cause reproductive harm.) The manufacturer can select which chemical to list.
  • The warning also is now required to contain a yellow hazard triangle symbol, although the symbol need not be printed in color if there is no other color on the label. The new warning reads:

The above is meant for example purposes only and while OEHHA doesn’t specify fonts, the regulation requires warnings to be prominently displayed with such conspicuousness as compared with other words, statements, designs or devices on the label, labeling or sign, as to render the warning likely to be read and understood by an ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase or use.

  • For internet sales, an online retailer must provide an online warning that must be viewed prior to purchase, even if the product itself contains a warning.
  • Retailers are responsible for the placement and maintenance of warning materials received from suppliers; for warnings on any private label products and for warnings on any products for which they are they importer of record.
  • Retailers MUST be able to provide the name and contact info for upstream companies upon request to OEHHA, the public enforcers or any private enforcer who serves a 60-day notice letter IF the requestor provides a description of the product with specificity in accordance with the regulation (this means they must ask for info on a specific sofa not just all sofas in your store).
  • Aside from the warning on the law label or manufacturer’s label, retailers must either post the Prop 65 warning at each public entrance on an 8 ½ x 11” sign in 28-point font or stamped on each receipt in 12-point font (see warning label language above).

Many manufacturers label all their product, and while California consumers are used to these ubiquitous labels, consumers in the other 49 states are not and may have questions and concerns. HFA has a letter available for members to use to explain Prop 65 to their consumer. HFA members can log into the member portal to download the sample letter.

State of California Raises Furniture Licensing Fees

The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (Bureau) will be raising fees on nine license types effective December 1, 2016. All fees due on/after this date will be assessed using the matrix below.

The last time the Bureau raised fees was 2002. This change is necessary to align the Bureau’s fees with current operational costs. For information regarding this and other regulatory action, please refer to the Bureau’s Website

LICENSE TYPE NEW INITIAL FEE NEW RENEWAL FEE NEW DELINQUENT FEE (after expiration) NEW PENALTY FEE (90 days past expiration)
Furniture/Bedding Importer $750 $750 $100 $225
Furniture/Bedding Manufacturer $750 $750 $100 $225
Furniture/Bedding Wholesaler $625 $625 $100 $187.50
Furniture Retailer $140 $140 $28 $42
Bedding Retailer $140 $140 $28 $42
Furniture/Bedding Retailer $280 $280 $56 $84
Custom Upholsterer $420 $420 $84 $126
Sanitizer $420 $420 $84 $126
Supply Dealer $625 $625 $100 $187.50

The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
(916) 999-2041 or email at HomeProducts@dca.ca.gov
On the Web at BEARHFTI@ca.gov

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HFA Members Attend Second Annual D.C. Fly-In

MEDIA RELEASE
Contact:
Dan McCann
800-422-3778, DMccann@nahfa.org
 
June 9, 2016
 
HFA Members Attend Second Annual D.C. Fly-In
Roseville, CA June 9, 2016 — Members of the Home Furnishings Association attended the Association’s second annual Washington, D.C. fly-in this week to meet with members of Congress and key officials to discuss legislation and regulations that directly affect HFA members and their businesses.
 
HFA members and a representative from the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) spent June 7 in meetings on the Hill conveying member views on some of their top concerns, specifically a national remote sales tax, deferred interest terms, port and labor issues, along with regulations under the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). They met with Sen. Capito (R-WV), Rep. Graves (R-LA), Chairman Goodlatte’s (R-VA) counsel in the House Committee on the Judiciary, Dan Huff, along with other congressional staffers.
 
HFA members joined American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) members in representing the furniture industry on June 8 as the groups were addressed by Senators Johnson (R-WI), Burr (R-NC) and Tillis (R-NC), Rep. Kelly (R-MS), the Honorable Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC, and Sarah Brozena, senior director of the American Chemistry Council.
 
“We think it’s important for our members to come to Washington and meet with their representatives and senators face-to-face to discuss the issues that are critical to their businesses and communities,” said HFA CEO Sharron Bradley. “It’s also important for Congress to see that furniture retailers are engaged and aware of the issues and eager to improve the business environment.”
 

HFA members met with West Virginia Senator Capito yesterday to discuss deferred interest issues.
 

We are in Washington DC this week to meet with members of Congress to discuss the issues that affect your business.

 
Want to know more about our Washing DC trip? Sign up for our webinar for a full overview here.
#AtTheTable



About the Home Furnishings Association:

The Home Furnishings Association (HFA), with roots dating back to 1920, is North America’s largest organization devoted specifically to the needs and interests of home furnishings retailers, with more than 1,800 members representing more than 7,000 storefronts across all 50 states and several countries. Association offices in the East, West, and Central United States provide members with programs, resources, services, and a unified voice in government relations by partnering with home furnishings industry suppliers, vendors, affiliates, and other organizations. For more information on the HFA visit www.myhfa.org.

 

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AHFA Petitions CPSC to Adopt CA Flammability Standard

HIGH POINT, N.C., November 2, 2015 – The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) has petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt the upholstered furniture performance standards and flammability test methods prescribed by California’s Technical Bulletin 117-2013.

AHFA filed the petition October 30 on behalf of a Joint Industry Coalition representing a diverse group of stakeholders who have been working on upholstered furniture flammability issues for decades. The petition proposes that the standards and test methods in TB 117-2013 be adopted as a national, mandatory flammability standard for residential upholstered furniture under the Flammable Fabrics Act.

“This petition provides the CPSC with an opportunity to bring closure to the longstanding issue of furniture flammability,” states Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

Groups participating in the coalition include: the American Fiber Producers Association, Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Cotton Council of America, National Council of Textile Organizations, North American Home Furnishings Association, Polyurethane Foam Association and Upholstered Furniture Action Council.

For 40 years, the CPSC has been evaluating whether it should adopt national regulations that would establish flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture. In 2008, after almost 15 years of regulatory activity, the CPSC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlined a flammability standard primarily focused on protecting consumers from fires started by smoking materials. The CPSC focused on a smolder test, because cigarettes are the source of ignition in 90 percent of the upholstered furniture fires that result in a fatality.

The effort stalled, however, as competing stakeholders argued for an open-flame test, and environmental groups expressed deepening concern that flame retardants would be needed to meet those testing requirements.

The 2013 amendments to TB 117 resulted from an extensive regulatory review process that included the active participation of fire safety experts, the furniture manufacturing industry, environmental groups and many others. It essentially achieved the same objectives as the CPSC’s proposed 2008 rule by focusing on the risk of smolder ignition of cover fabrics.

Adoption of this standard under the Flammable Fabrics Act, coupled with a robust labeling program that attests to a manufacturer’s compliance with the required test methods and performance standards, would create a national standard that addresses the issue of smolder ignition for residential upholstered furniture, saves lives and reduces losses at a relatively low cost to the CPSC, the industry and the consumer.

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The American Home Furnishings Alliance, based in High Point, N.C., represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors and over 150 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. AHFA is the voice of the home furnishings industry on Capitol Hill – and elsewhere throughout the United States – on all legislative and regulatory matters that impact the manufacture and import of residential furnishings for the U.S. market.

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