On December 18th, a bipartisan group of senators celebrated victory after years of negotiations over a major chemical safety bill that passed the Senate Thursday night. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) led the effort to gain passage on the Senate floor for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, named after the late New Jersey Democratic senator who led the effort before his 2013 death that makes major changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation on June 23, 2015.
As the two bills differ, a Conference Committee will meet to deliberate and provide final language. It is hoped that negotiations will start during the Christmas break with a final product final product ready for votes in both chambers early next year.
SGIA will continue to montior activity on this important legislative initiative. SGIA will continue to monitor this activity. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
Congress has signed and approved a permanent extension to the Section 179 deduction. Moving forward, businesses can now immediately depreciate up to $500,000 in the year they purchased the assets, instead of over a specific period of time. This deduction is good on new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software. This limit is only good for 2015, and the equipment must be financed/purchased and put into service by the end of the day, 12/31/2015.
Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the full purchase price from your gross income.
Section 179 does come with limits - there are caps to the total amount written off ($500,000 for 2015), and limits to the total amount of the equipment purchased ($2,000,000 in 2015). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $2,000,000 is spent by a given business, so this makes it a true small and medium-sized business deduction.
Congress has also agreed to extend the 50% Bonus Depreciation through 2019.
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The Oregon legislature has passed the Toxic-Free Kids Act which will establish a list of 66 chemicals of concern, require registration of children's products and the phase out of listed chemicals in certain applications. The definition of children’s products does include children’s clothing and footwear, as well as products designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sucking, teething, sleep, relaxation, feeding or drinking.
Oregon's initial chemicals of concern list will be identical to Washington state's existing list of chemicals of high concern to children (CHCC), which includes several flame retardants, parabens, phthalates and such chemicals as:
- bisphenol A (BPA);
- ethylene glycol; and
The law will require the manufacturer of a product, intended for use by children 12 years and younger, to submit a biennial report, detailing the presence of any listed chemicals. For products that are “mouthable”, intended for children younger than three or applied to the skin, listed chemicals must be removed or replaced within six years of the first reporting.
It is anticipated that implementing regulations will be developed. SGIA will continue to provide updates as this issue evolves.
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On June 23rd, the US House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) a historic milestone in the effort to reform the nation’s chemical control law on two levels. This vote is the first ever by the entire House chamber on Toxic Substances Control Act reform, but it is also remarkable to see such broad support for a piece of environmental legislation.
In his remarks supporting passage of this critical legislation, the bill’s author, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), stated, “Mr. Speaker, the TSCA Modernization Act has been a long time in the making. We actually started work on it during the last Congress. We’ve held a total of eight hearings and received testimony from a broad range of stakeholders, including the Administration. But most importantly, we’ve worked with each other, Member to Member across the aisle.
The bill before you, Mr. Speaker, reflects lessons learned over the course of the last three years in which we’ve worked on TSCA reform. First, the bill is clear and understandable. Despite the highly technical nature of chemical regulation, Members can pick up this bill, read it from beginning to end, and understand what it does and how it works.
Second, the bill does not try to be all things for all people. Major sections of TSCA are not amended at all. For example, we leave the process for new chemical review in TSCA Section 5 unchanged because it’s working pretty well right now, and changes could make it worse.
The heart of the bill is our approach to regulating chemicals already on the market. Thousands of these chemicals have been in commerce for many years, pose no known risks, and really don’t need to be regulated at all. We leave those alone. But we do allow some existing chemicals to be scientifically evaluated for risk and, if necessary, to have that risk managed through a rule by EPA.
Chemicals may be chosen for risk evaluation in one of two ways. Either EPA may select a chemical for risk evaluation based on what EPA knows may pose an unreasonable risk, or the manufacturer may designate a chemical for EPA to evaluate for risk.”
SGIA continues to follow the progress of the landmark and critical legislation.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) has introduced H.R. 1699, Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act of 2015. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. The legislation would require Federal Prison Industries (FPI) to compete for its contracts thereby minimizing its unfair competition with private sector firms and their non-inmate workers and empowering Federal agencies to get the best value for taxpayers' dollar. The bill does provide a five year period to allow FPI to adjust to obtaining inmate work opportunities through other than its current mandatory source status. SGIA will continue to monitor this critical legislative initiative. Questions or comments? Contact Marci Kinter at firstname.lastname@example.org.