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Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

New Toy Safety Law Tweaks Proposed to Make PA Santas Smile

December 29, 2008

Santa's workshops will have a government "safer toy" guarantee in 2009, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The new law requires all children's products to undergo stringent testing for toxics, due to dangers like lead and pthalates.

While the law gets cheers from consumer safety groups, its critics say the testing requirements could be too expensive for some small businesses in Pennsylvania. In many cases, they add, the testing would be unneeded because the materials used for manufacturing don't contain toxins.

Federal staff are proposing some tweaks to the law, to make sure Santa's smaller workshops in Pennsylvania, including businesses producing handmade goods, can afford to meet the testing requirements. One proposal would exempt certain materials and products from testing, such as wood, natural fabrics and lead-free metals.

That would ease the burden on business owners like Jessica Hickey, who owns a Pennsylvania children's boutique that sells handmade clothing and nursery items.

"People really do want to comply with the law, but we need a reasonable way to do so. It would be sad and it would be a loss to my community and to the handmade community if any business were put out by this law."

Hickey says the handmade goods industry has prided itself on setting the the standard for product safety. She is hopeful that the government is, in fact, going to look out for the little guy by setting rules that small companies like hers can afford, while still keeping kids safe.

Information on the new law is available at www.cpsc.gov.

Kelly Glorioso Fodel, Public News Service - PA