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Update: CPSC Shortens Comment Period on Voluntary Standards Amendment

We recently wrote about CPSC’s proposed amendment to its current limitations on CPSC staff’s participation in voluntary standards organizations. Under the proposed amendment, staff would be allowed to cast votes on voluntary standards and hold leadership positions on voluntary standard committees.  The amendment is based on the recommendations from a 2012 GAO Report.

The Commission voted to approve the proposed amendment but also included a few small changes, one of which was to shorten the comment period from 60 days to 30 days--meaning comments are now due to the agency by October 21, 2013. The indication here is that the agency is in a hurry to finalize this rule or does not see much need for comment and may turn around a final version in fairly short order depending on how many comments are received.

We have heard from many stakeholders keenly interested in this proposal. Some of the most common questions we have heard are:

  • What would the effect be of an agency voting for or against a voluntary standard?
  • What criteria will the agency use to decide what standards staff can participate in?
  • Why does the proposed amendment not also address the Commission’s meetings policy, which was also identified in the 2012 GAO Report as an issue preventing more active staff involvement within voluntary standards organizations?

For anyone wishing to provide substantive feedback to the agency on these or any other issues, the window to do so is closing soon.

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