Constant Vigilance Pays Off

HFA members walking up to the nation's capitol.

HFA’s delegation brings your issues to Congress

The Home Furnishings Association’s 2018 fly-in was a big success. HFA members and International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) members spent two days in May meeting with legislators and key personnel to talk about Marketplace Fairness, tariff and trade, hours of service, ADA website compliance challenges and much more.

HFA members in the Capitol.
HFA members in the Capitol. L to R: Jesus Capo, El Dorado Furniture, Miami, Tom and Cheryl Olinde, Olinde’s Furniture, Baton Rouge, La,. Larry Zigerelli, FFO Home, Fort Smith, Ark., Cynthia Heathcoe, Contemporary Living, Lake Park, Fla., Wogie Badcock, Badcock Furniture & More, Mulberry, Fla., Al David and John Pinion, IHFRA, Mary Frye and Lisa Casinger, HFA, Jim Fee, Stoney Creek Furniture, Stoney Creek, Ontario, and Chris Andresen, Dutko.

The delegation met with Rep. Steve Womack (R-3rd/AR), Rep. Brian Mast (R-18th/FL), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-15th/FL), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and staff from the offices of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

Rep. Womack is strongly in favor of Marketplace Fairness and urges retailers to be even more active on this issue, “Invite your congressmen to your store,” he said. “Tell them: ‘You’re the only one who can bring sanity to this issue. Don’t keep me at a disadvantage.’” Womack went on to say what HFA members have been saying for years, “This is not a tax increase and you know it’s not because it is in the Judiciary Committee not the Ways & Means Committee.”

Cynthia Heathcoe took his recommendation to heart and during the meeting with her Congressman, Brian Mast, she invited him to visit her store (she moved locations the weekend before the fly-in) in Lake Park, Fla.

Mast also spoke in favor of Marketplace Fairness and expressed his desire to work on the issues concerning the lack of guidance on ADA website compliance.

Attendees educated Congress about this issue and how it’s affecting retailers. IHFRA’s John Pinion, who’s been legally deaf since childhood, said these nuisance lawsuits are perverting the original intention of the Americans with Disabilities Act—which was to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities and it has turned into “legalized extortion.”

HFA and IHFRA members also joined members of the American Home Furnishings Alliance one morning for meetings with Rep. Ted Budd (R-13th/NC), Rep. Trent Kelly (R-1st/MS), Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-10th/NC), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and Patrick Hedren, vice president of labor, legal & regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

Another topic of discussion during the fly-in was the need for movement on the confirmations of two Consumer Product Safety Commission commissioners—Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle and Dana Baiocco. Days after our meetings the Senate filed cloture on Baiocco and approved her confirmation.

HFA members’ constant vigilance on this and many issues truly make a difference to retail businesses and the industry.

“This was my first D.C. fly-in,” said Jesus Capo, El Dorado Furniture, “I got to witness first-hand how the HFA’s involvement in government affairs directly affects my company and our industry. I was humbled by the opportunity to sit down and interact directly with the Senators and Representatives who have a direct influence on our industry. The outstanding work by the HFA lobbyists, our members, and the staff made me proud to call the HFA my association. I intend to do it again next year.”

Rep. Steve Womack
The delegation discussed Marketplace Fairness with Rep. Steve Womack (R-3rd/AR), left, the representative of Larry Zigerelli (right).

 

Learn more about the Home Furnishings Association’s Government Advocacy program.

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