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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990

1990-11-16

Today I am pleased to sign S. 605, the ``Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990.'' This legislation authorizes appropriations through FY 1992 for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and makes certain other changes to existing consumer protection laws.

The Act reduces the number of commissioners required for a quorum from three to two when only three members are serving on the Commission. This ensures the agency's ability to carry out its statutory mandate. In addition, the Act improves the agency's regulatory process and increases civil penalties for manufacturers violating consumer protection laws. These changes will help the agency to carry out its mandate of protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products.

I remain concerned about certain new information reporting requirements contained in section 37 of the Act. Requiring manufacturers, distributors, or retailers to report to the CPSC when a civil action results in a final settlement, as provided in section 37, compromises the validity of the information. That a civil action was settled out of court is not an indication of whether the product caused the harm.

I note that one provision of this Act warrants careful construction to avoid constitutional difficulties. Section 118 permits State Attorneys General alleging violations of certain provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Act to bring actions to seek injunctive relief. Consistent with the Constitution, I understand this provision to permit States to seek relief only when they otherwise possess standing under Article III.

George Bush

The White House,

November 16, 1990.

Note: S. 605, approved November 16, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 608.

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