NLBMDA rallies around Innocent Sellers

Amid a “toxic” environment in Washington, D.C., lobbying efforts lead with Innocent Sellers Act.

Nashville,  Tenn. -- The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is ramping up its efforts to promote its signature: the Innocent Sellers Act (HR 2746).

Speaking during the Washington Update presentation here at the ProDealer Industry Summit, NLBMDA CEO Michael O’Brien led a discussion on recent lobbying activity that included the deep waters of Obamacare and legislation reform.

O’Brien described the political atmosphere in Washington, D.C., as “toxic,” with few signs of improvement. The clashes over the government shutdown are likely to reemerge after the holidays, he added.

On the Innocent Sellers Act -- a proposal that protects retailers from unreasonable litigation in the event a product is used incorrectly -- the NLBMDA’s biggest ally is Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX).   

Momentum for the act was derailed partly by events in Syria and the partial government shutdown. It’s imperative, according to O’Brien, for NLBMDA members to rally support in Congress for the act, and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.

The NLBMDA set up an action center, allowing attendees of the PDIS to quickly send an Innocent Sellers email to their representatives.

EPA lead rule reform is another area of emphasis for the NLBMDA, which remains concerned over reliability of test kits and the EPA’s unwillingness to address the problem. 

The NLBMDA has a long history of objections to the EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Paintint (LRRP). It was introduced in 2010 and requires remodeling and renovation firms that perform work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA certified. And the firms must keep records of the project for three years. 

The NLBMDA supports the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, which has two key provisions: 1.) It restores an opt-out provision for homeowners in households with no pregnant women and no children; and 2.) It creates a time frame for the EPA to develop a test kit that is commercially available and meets the EPA's own standard for false positives. 

On the topic of Obamacare, O’Brien described the administrations mishandling of online registration as “mind boggling. … They have maybe a month to get this under control.”

If the technical registration problems persist, an extension of the open enrollment period -- or other more serious program changes -- become possible, if not likely, he said. 

He pointed to key past and future calendar items for Obamacare:           

• Oct 1: Open enrollment began for in-state health insurance exchanges;

• Jan. 1: Individual mandate takes effect; and

• Jan. 1: Health insurance tax on fully insured plans take effect.

The employer mandate has been delayed for one year until Jan. 1, 2015.

Other key items on the NLBMDA’s Legislative Agenda include the mortgage interest deduction, the Internet sales tax/Marketplace Fairness Act, OSHA rules and NLRB rules.

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