Favorite

Pro-consumer Pryor 

Pro-consumer Pryor

Sen. Mark Pryor's consumer product safety bill passed the Senate 79 to 13 and would've had a couple more votes if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had been present. In today's divided Senate, 79 votes for anything is remarkable, and even more so when the bill is substantive legislation rather than political showmanship. It suggests that most of the senators are concerned about the safety of American consumers, especially children. That's nice to know. It would be ever so much nicer if we knew that the president's motives were equally honorable.

This was bipartisan legislation, of course — it had to be, to get a vote like that. Pryor was joined in sponsoring the bill by fellow Democrats Richard Durbin of Illinois and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and by Republicans Ted Stevens of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. The bill is the first comprehensive reform of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission since the agency was created in 1972, and it strengthens existing law in several ways:

It gets the manufacturers' attention by increasing civil penalties for unsafe products from $1.85 million to $10 million.

It grants more authority to state attorneys general to enforce safety standards.

It increases the staff of the CPSC.

It requires third-party testing of many products for children.

It lowers the allowed levels of lead in paint and children's products.

It offers protection to whistleblowers.

The National Association of Manufacturers opposed the bill — “Never give a consumer an even break” is NAM's motto — and so did President Bush, who has big contributors among NAM's membership. (Conversely, he's received almost no big-money gifts from injured children.) Many retailers now support the bill, primarily because they believe it will reduce the number of recalls. Recalls are expensive. And by assuring that fewer defective products reach consumers, the bill may reduce the amount of litigation over consumer injuries.

The bill has gone to a House-Senate conference committee. The House has approved its own bill, much inferior to the Senate's, but Pryor's office seems confident that the differences can be resolved acceptably and a bill approved by both houses by Memorial Day. Pryor attributes the legislation's success to his philosophy of working across party lines. That might be true, in this case. In others, excessive bipartisanship has produced less happy results. Thousands of casualties would have been avoided, and the world would be safer, if Democrats had been as willing to resist Bush's Iraqi adventure as he is to resist the protection of children.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
  • Metroplan sets public hearing on 30 Crossing

    The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.
  • New suit argues Bruce Ward mentally unfit for execution

    A new lawsuit argues that Bruce Ward, scheduled to die by lethal injection next month, is not mentally competent to be executed. It says his condition has been worsened by decades of solitary confinement.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Hope for Gray

    The Arkansas Democratic Party recently elected House Minority Leader Michael John Gray (D-Augusta), a Woodruff County farmer, over Denise Garner, a retired oncology nurse practitioner and founder of Feed Communities of Fayetteville, to replace outgoing chair Vince Insalaco of Little Rock.
  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
  • The two cities of Little Rock

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated the capital city's division again last week.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • And don't tell me you care about any toddler. That toddler's suffering is but a…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Many different dogs bite many different people. Before reacting out of hysteria and ignorance, better…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • Good point. Onward!

    • on March 30, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation