PPAI’s public affairs and government relations efforts have advocated for the promotional products industry in a number of regulatory issues that arose in 2011. They laid the groundwork for a unified effort that brought the Association together with industry members to communicate the industry’s concerns to Washington, D.C., and to educate and collaborate with government agencies on a range of public policy and product safety issues.
Below is a review of PPAI’s public affairs and government relations efforts in 2011.
L.E.A.D.—PPAI Legislative Education and Action Day—On Thursday, March 31, 2011, promotional products professionals representing 21 regional associations and 26 states held more than 120 meetings with legislators and their staff to discuss key issues. PPAI L.E.A.D. advocates shared research and case studies with legislators that clearly demonstrated the impact of promotional products and reminded members of Congress that this industry includes more than 32,000 U.S.-based promotional products companies, 95 percent of which are small businesses generating more than $16.5 billion in annual revenues and employing more than 465,000 Americans.
Form 1099 Reporting Repeal—During L.E.A.D., the PPAI industry leadership, small-business owners and staff urged legislators to pass the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 (H.R. 4). On April 15, 2011, the bill was signed into law. H.R. 4 repeals expanded information reporting rules that would have required the filing of Form 1099 for payments of $600 or more by businesses and expense payments of $600 or more with respect to rental property.
CPSIA Reform—In July, PPAI led an industry effort to reform the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), urging legislators to pass the Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011. On August 12, the bill was signed into law. H.R. 2715 provides the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with greater authority and discretion in enforcing consumer product safety laws requires the CPSC to seek public comment on the economic impact of future rulings and makes revisions to current regulations.
Federal Regulatory and Legislative Outreach—This year, PPAI represented the industry to the CPSC in various meetings and events. In March of this year, PPAI representatives met with the CPSC to discuss the challenges the CPSIA imposes on the promotional products industry. Meeting with the newly appointed Small Business Ombudsman, PPAI addressed the challenges of imprints, the presumption of intent and the cost burden of third-party testing on smaller firms. In September, PPAI leadership and industry leaders participated in the CPSC’s North American Product Safety Summit along with other product safety professionals, testing labs and CPSC staff as they evaluated national priorities and shared best practices.
November Executive Order—In November, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, petitioned President Obama to reconsider the promotional products spending limit. PPAI was successful in launching a grassroots effort, reaching out to the White House and small-business advocates within the government to mitigate the overall impact of the Presidential Executive Order. The Executive Order, now more limited in scope, calls for each executive agency to establish a plan for reducing the combined costs associated with travel, employee information technology devices, printing, executive fleet efficiencies and extraneous promotional items by not less than 20 percent. Only executive branch agencies must comply with this Executive Order.
PPAI Product Safety Summit—On August 10, 2011, PPAI hosted the promotional products industry’s inaugural Product Safety Summit in Denver, Colorado. The first of its kind for the promotional products industry, this day-long education and awareness conference was co-chaired by industry leaders Gene Geiger, CEO of Geiger, and Rick Brenner, CEO of Prime. The Summit featured keynote speaker Mary Toro, director of regulatory enforcement division at the Office of Compliance and Field Operations with the CPSC, and representatives from product-safety labs and product-certification groups. This event explored the latest developments and emerging trends, but also addressed the ways many industry professionals have turned a cost burden into a strategic advantage.
PPAI Product Safety TurboTest—PPAI launched TurboTest to help practitioners manage the ever-changing product safety compliance landscape on August 10, 2011. The TurboTest tool is an easy-to-use question-and-answer user interface exclusively designed with promotional products distributors and suppliers in mind. With just a few clicks, TurboTest tailors each regulatory review to the user’s specific needs and puts data and tools on the desktop and into the hands of promotional products professional. A no-cost, member-only benefit of PPAI, TurboTest resides on the PPAI member portal and is accessible from most computing platforms, requiring little training and eliminating the need for software installation.
PPAI Code of Conduct—The Code, adopted by the PPAI Board of Directors on January 9, 2011, is a tangible presentation of what promotional products companies are doing to meet the expectations of the end buyer for product safety, social and environmental assurances and reinforces a company’s intent to follow applicable laws, operate in a responsible manner and adhere to ethical standards for the safety, quality and integrity of products and processes. To date, more than 200 companies have adopted the Code.
Product Safety Webinars—In 2011, PPAI conducted 22 webinars, with more than 1,000 attendees, on the subject of public affairs and safety alone. Check out the on demand webinars at this link: http://www.ppai.org/education/e-learning/on-demand-webinars and the schedule of live webinars here: http://www.ppai.org/education/e-learning/live-webinars.