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.
On April 28th, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee marked up S. 697, Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act by a vote of 15-5. The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment & the Economy is planning to markup its TSCA discussion draft on May 14th, with a full Committee markup to occur shortly thereafter, and before the Memorial Day recess. The discussion draft is expected to be introduced as a bill before the full Committee markup.
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) has introduced H.R. 823, legislation to better integrate STEM education in to elementary and secondary instruction and curricula and for other purposes. The bill was assigned to the House Education and Workforce Committee where is must be considered before possibly sending it to the House Floor.
On May 4th, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 1185: A bill to better integrate STEM education into elementary and secondary instruction and curricula, to encourage high-quality STEM professional development, and to expand current mathematics and science education research to include engineering education. Upon introduction, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions which will consider it before sending it to the Senate floor for consideration.
SGIA will continue to track this issue. Questions or comments? Contact Marci Kinter at email@example.com.
President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.
The new law provides states and local workforce boards more flexibility to adapt these programs. Authorizing $58 billion in federal workforce development over the next six years, the bill requires job training programs to document how many people find jobs afterwards. States will be required to establish four year plans for workforce development.