On March 23 and 24, NLBMDA held its annual Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference at the Renaissance Dupont Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Following a productive day of meetings on the first day, NLBMDA started the second day with the keynote breakfast, where Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) discussed his all-of-the-above approach to energy and the need to reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. The speech had extra meaning for NLBMDA and its Chair-Elect, Scott Yates of Denver Lumber. Last year, then-Rep. Gardner, held his campaign kickoff event at Denver Lumber on his way to winning the senate race.
Following Sen. Gardner was Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who addressed the need for regulatory reform. In his remarks, Rep. Marino mentioned several pieces of legislation that the House of Representatives is working on to streamline regulations making compliance easier for businesses.
After a legislative briefing, NLBMDA members traveled to Capitol Hill and met with House and Senate officers. The three issues of focus for the congressional visits were the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 1199), legislation reforming the RRP rule and restoring online sales tax fairness with the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 698).
The Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 1199), legislation that would protect building material dealers, distributors, and other retailers from unwarranted product liability lawsuits, remains a top priority for NLBMDA. Passing legislation to protect product sellers would significantly reduce the burden of frivolous lawsuits on courts, businesses and consumers. Thanks to their visits, NLBMDA added two new cosponsors in Reps. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Pete Sessions (R-TX).
Reforming the RRP rule also continues to be high on the list of NLBMDA’s legislative priorities. EPA still has not identified a test kit that meets the rule’s standard of producing false positive test results less than 10% of the time. The agency states the test kits currently approved have a false positive rate between 22.5% and 84%.
EPA is now trying to expand the rule to public and commercial buildings despite not yet having identified a lead hazard to regulate as is required under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Lawmakers were receptive to the ongoing concerns with test kits and overall implementation of the rule.