update + briefing call SCHEDULED
This is a brief update to bring you up to speed on legislative issues regarding potential cosmetic regulatory reform. While there wasn’t much formal progress on cosmetics reform legislation, it was a busy fall for our issue.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its cosmetics hearing in September, and while no announcements were made, it appeared that there was a consensus on the part of senators who participated in the hearing that they would attempt to pass legislation at some point in the future. Senators Collins (R-ME) and Feinstein (D-CA) continue to push their legislation, S.1014, the so-called “Personal Care Products Safety Act.” Representatives Frank Pallone and Leonard Lance, both of New Jersey, continue to work on the “discussion draft” they released in September.
While we don’t expect legislation to advance during the lame-duck session of Congress when members return in December, we expect both the House and Senate to work on cosmetics reform legislation next year.
We'd like to touch base with you at the beginning of the year to review 2016 and discuss what we expect in 2017. We have scheduled a briefing call on February 16 at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST.
Access Code: 6344642
Discussion Draft + Hearing Scheduled
A lot has been happening in a short amount of time. COHE was back in Washington, DC this week and the timing coincided with some major events in the cosmetic regulatory reform discussion on Capitol Hill.
First off, Representatives Frank Pallone and Leonard Lance, both of New Jersey, released what they are calling a regulatory reform bill “discussion draft” on Wednesday, September 14. We are going to spend more time analyzing the draft, but on first read, we have some pretty serious concerns. While there are some common sense measures contained in the bill, we are very concerned about many of the proposed measures and their potential to impact the handcrafted industry in a deeply negative way. We are especially concerned at the exemption levels for regulatory compliance and fees, but also the sweeping new demands and expenses that would be placed on small business owners to comply with the proposed new requirements.
Second, while we were meeting in the Senate, we were informed that the Senate will be holding its first hearing on this issue next week, Thursday, September 22. The hearing is titled “Exploring Current Practices in Cosmetic Development and Safety” and is scheduled to be held at 10:00 AM eastern time. For those of you who are interested, you can watch the hearing online here: https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/exploring-current-practices-in-cosmetic-development-and-safety.
While we were in DC we had a number of very productive meetings with member offices, both Democrat and Republican, in both the House and the Senate. All are interested in hearing about our industry and committed to working with us to protect our craft and our livelihoods.
We’ll have more updates next week as events continue to unfold.
As always, thanks for your interest and thanks for your involvement in helping to ensure that the industry we love can continue to thrive.
Short update on lay of the land
Happy 2016! I wanted to provide our coalition with a quick update as we kick off what is sure to be an exciting year.
There were two bills – one in the House and one in the Senate – introduced last year having to do with reforming cosmetics regulations, and we closed out last year with a trip to Capitol Hill to talk with the offices of key legislators regarding how that legislation would affect the handcrafted industry and to gain insight into what they anticipate for this year. It was a good trip and we covered a fair amount of ground.
While Congress has a short window to accomplish things this year due to the election, we’re going to continue to stay on top of it because it feels like activity is growing around our issue.
On a safety and compliance note, the FDA continues to enforce and monitor cosmetics, including home-based businesses. One Washington based home cosmetic and toiletry manufacturer recently received a surprise inspection of her home-based manufacturing space. Read more about that visit and compliance tips here.
We’ll continue to keep you up to date on our activities and what we hear.
Pete Sessions Introduces H.R. 4075,
The Safe cosmetics modernization act
Representative Pete Sessions of Texas has introduced H.R. 4075, “The Safe Cosmetics Modernization Act”, the latest development in the ongoing discussion in DC about modernizing the rules and regulations for cosmetics manufacturing.
As you’ll recall, Senators Feinstein of California and Collins of Maine introduced cosmetics regulation legislation earlier this year. At the time, we expressed concerns about the impacts that their legislation would have on small businesses, particularly those of us in the handcrafted industry.
The bill crafted by Representative Sessions is much better for the handcrafted industry and contains specific provisions designed to lessen the impact on the entrepreneurs in our industry who are trying to grow their businesses. Significantly, the Sessions bill exempts any manufacturer operating out of their home and also provides an exemption for any business making less than $1 million in revenue. The Feinstein-Collins bill only exempted businesses making less than $100,000. The $1 million threshold is much more reasonable and is in alignment with other rules that the FDA has recently developed for the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Other components of the Sessions bill, including ingredient reporting, safety substantiation, and adverse event reporting are all written in a way that will make it easier for businesses to comply, while assuring consumers that the products they purchase and use are safe. Also, and very importantly, the bill does not impose fees on small businesses to pay for the implementation of these provisions.
We're are continuing to advocate for the unique needs of the handcrafted industry and will keep monitoring developments as Congress continues its work on this important issue.
The Coalition of Handcrafted Entrepreneurs (COHE) Visits Washington, DC
COHE recently visited Washington DC for some targeted meetings around the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S 1014). We spent considerable time on the House side. No news yet on when (or if) a House bill will be dropped, but it didn't happen before Congress recessed for their August break. Activity will pick up again once Congress returns in September, and we will continue to track and engage.
We also spent time in the Senate, where we are engaging member offices' to help us to encourage the Small Business Administration to assist us in better understanding the impacts to small businesses of the legislation proposed by Senators Feinstein and Collins and make the case for better protections for the handcrafted industry.
We also spent considerable time with the Majority and Minority staffs on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to articulate to them the problems we have with the current draft and understand from them how the Committee intends to approach this issue.
Look for additional updates and news when we get more feedback. With your help, our voice is being heard. If you haven't taken a moment to educate your elected officials about how important handcrafted beauty and soap products are to you - either as a consumer or a small-batch producer - that information (including an easy way to look up your elected official and their contact information and basic letter structure) is here.
The Coalition of Handcrafted Entrepreneurs (COHE) Responds to the Introduction of The Personal Care Products Safety Act
In an effort to update the nation’s regulations of personal care products, Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act. The Act as drafted is broad in scope and potential impact for consumers and every sector of the personal care products industry.
While the proposed legislation makes attempts to accommodate the needs of small business, COHE believes it must go further to take into account the thriving small business sector in the personal care space. This group of mostly women-owned small businesses is driving choice in the marketplace and producing safe soap and beauty products. Any new regulatory regime contemplated for the cosmetics industry should recognize the unique role and needs of the handcrafted industry, as well as the choice the industry provides for consumers.
COHE appreciates the efforts the senators made to recognize the importance of small businesses, but believes there is more that should be done to ensure the continued vitality of this important sector of the industry.
In response to the introduction of the bill, COHE President Anne-Marie Faiola, said, “The handcrafted industry strongly believes in consumer safety and the integrity of the personal care products used by Americans. In fact, that’s how many handcrafted businesses get started – by people who want to know exactly what ingredients are used to create their personal care products and ensure that they are of the highest quality.” Faiola went on to say, “We appreciate the effort by Senators Feinstein and Collins to update cosmetics regulations to reflect today’s diverse marketplace, but we believe more needs to be done to recognize the handcrafted industry, the economic opportunity and jobs we create, and the choice we offer consumers. We will continue our efforts to improve the legislation to achieve that outcome.”
While the last Congress wound down without a bill being dropped, we expect Senator Feinstein to continue to explore crafting legislation affecting the cosmetics industry. And while we appreciate the efforts Senator Feinstein and her staff have made so far to accommodate small businesses, COHE believes we must do everything we can to ensure that the Congress avoids placing undue burdens on small businesses or erect substantial barriers to entry and growth.
And while no bill has been introduced, the discussion and activity around this issue is an indication that the Congress remains interested in exploring changes to cosmetics regulations continues and we’ve got to be vigilant in explaining how changes could affect our industry if and when a bill moves forward.
Director Anne Marie Faiola provided feedback to Senator Feinstein’s staff regarding their ideas for changing cosmetics regulations. She indicated that while the craft cosmetics and soap industry fully supports legislative provisions that close existing loopholes and ensures transparency for the consumer, the unique nature of the industry requires accommodations in order to protect it as well as the jobs and economic development the industry supports. Specifically, she focused on three key areas: exemption levels, ingredient and product testing and reporting, and adverse event reporting.
The COHE team, led by Director Anne Marie Faiola, spent time in DC making the rounds. In particular, we spent considerable time engaged with Senator Feinstein’s staff as they worked to prepare draft legislation.