April ’22 at-a-glance … regulations

OEHHA aligns with NAFEM’s suggested Prop 65 label warning recommendations

Following comments submitted by NAFEM and others, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed delaying by two years the effective date of required changes to the Proposition 65 short-form warning. Doing so gives NAFEM members and other businesses more time to recover from the COVID pandemic before being forced to reformulate product labels, catalogs, websites and other materials.

OEHHA also removed two of its proposals under the latest draft to:

  1. Limit short-form warnings to containers of a certain size. Short-form warnings can be used on any size product.
  2. Require that the warning-label font size match the largest font size on the container. The minimum 6-point type size remains unchanged.

Proposition 65 – The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act – requires California to annually publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Businesses are required to inform California’s about the presence of these chemicals in their products. The list has grown to include more than 1,000 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

Awaiting word on bills aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness

Work continues on reconciling the nearly $300 billion House America COMPETES Act of 2022 with the Senate’s $250 billion U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. Both bills are intended to invest in U.S. scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China. The Senate bill was passed by a bipartisan majority; the House bill was approved largely along party lines by Democrats. President Biden has called upon Congress to negotiate a compromise bill and forward it for his signature.

Workforce development bills under consideration in several states

Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon and Virginia are all considering workforce development bills to further train state workers in partnership with colleges, local school districts and industry partners. New Hampshire is specifically focused on regenerative manufacturing workforce development. Oregon is focused on training priority populations for opportunities in manufacturing, construction and health. Virginia is targeting high-demand advanced manufacturing fields. The Mississippi bill is more general.

California proposes setting standards for electrical appliances

The California Retail Food Code would require all new and replacement electrical appliances to meet applicable UL standards, as determined by the American National Standards Institute or another accreditation body. According to NAFEM’s resources, the bill is expected to pass.

Congressional leaders pass bills to allocate monies to Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Well-regarded leaders from both parties – Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) – collaborated on bills to help struggling restaurants and other businesses. The Senate Small Business COVID Relief Act would allocate $48 billion, including $5 billion left over from the Paycheck Protection Plan. It earmarks $40 billion for restaurants and $8 billion to other struggling businesses. The House version – the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Business Act of 2022 – would provide $42 billion for restaurants and another $13 billion for small businesses that suffered revenue losses of at least 40 percent during the pandemic, with grants capped at $1 million. The two bills are headed toward committee reconciliation.

NY bill would support restaurants with loans, training

The New York State Assembly also introduced a restaurant and restaurant worker recovery loan program and recovery fund. The bill authorizes loans to qualifying restaurants up to $15,000 and requires the establishment of a training program for owners and managers of qualifying restaurants to promote equity in their hiring and advancement practices.