AHMA counsel: safety laws coming

Mundelein, Ill. At the American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s annual meeting here, Washington Counsel John Satagaj pointed to the likelihood of federal consumer product legislation.

“The only thing I see left in this Congress are consumer product safety legislation and a little bit of tax relief,” said Satagaj, during a presentation to members.

Describing himself as philosophically opposed to federal regulation, Satagaj said federal consumer product rules could in this case actually simplify business for manufacturers who otherwise would face a tangle of state and local laws. “We need federal legislation to preempt the states,” he said. “Connecticut passed a lead law. Illinois has one. Minnesota has one. The state of Washington passed a toy law. Everybody is in the game.”

The front of line of the legislation is children’s products, but some parts of legislation apply to all consumer products, he said.

The current Congress may also act on some tax relief -- but not on estate tax relief, Satagaj predicted.

Athird area of legislative activity involves the housing market, and various bail-out plans. “There are three parts to the housing story,” he said. “Do you bail out the consumer? Do you bail out the builder? Or do you bail out the financial institution? It looks to me that we’ll probably do a little of all three.”

Also at the AHMA meeting, the association approved a slate of officers and directors for 2009:

• Chairman of the board: Donald Dray, Dasco Pro

• Vice chairman: William P. Farrell, AHMA

• First vice chairman: William Hudson, H.D. Hudson Manufacturing

• Second vice chairman: Dale Schmidt, Elkay Sales

• Third vice chairman: Jeanette Kellogg, Genova Products

• Treasurer: Mark Studley, Blue Ribbon Products;

• President and CEO: Timothy Farrell, AHMA

• Director: Stuart Bush, Roebic Laboratories

• Director: David Eglinton, L.R. Nelson.

• Director: Cecil Given, Reaves & Co.

• Director: Thomas Hearn, Petersen Brands

• Director: Charles Hermes, Dutton-Lainson

• Director: Douglas Laird, Cooper Hand Tools

• Director: James Maskas, 3M

• Director: Jon Rose, The Wooster Brush Co.

• Director: Rhonda Sullivan, Lavelle Industries

• Director: D. Frank Tooke, Red Devil

• Honorary director: Robert Hudson Jr., H.D. Hudson Manufacturing