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BIFMA Advocacy Areas

The BIFMA Government Affairs Committee works on legislative and regulatory issues of interest to the association's members. The following is a list of some of those issues. Contact BIFMA's Director of Advocacy & Sustainability, Brad Miller, for more information on the committee or any of these issues.

 

Government Procurement

Canada

The BIFMA Canadian Furniture Task Group was formed to help the Canadian Government make fair and smart furniture purchases without unduly limiting competition. After a significant amount of research, a Government Office Furniture Advisory Committee was established to advise Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) officials on best solutions for purchasing and productivity. 

United States

Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership In Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance (EO 13514) requires federal agencies to take actions that will contribute to the "Greening of Government”. BIFMA assisted the Interagency Product Standards and Ecolabels Subgroup that attempted to determine the best tools to help the government meet President Obama’s Executive Order. The interagency group's report will go to the White House Council on Environmental Quality for review and be published in the Federal Register before a government-wide process will be created for all agencies to follow.

Prison Industries

BIFMA has long sought relief from a requirement in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that U.S. federal agencies buy products from Federal Prison Industries (FPI) rather than the private sector. Over the years, legislative actions have held this "mandatory source” status at bay but language is still needed in the FAR to make it clear that all agencies are free to purchase those products that best meet their needs.

Legislative and Regulatory Issues

Chemicals

Flame Retardants (FRs) - BIFMA strongly supports the elimination of fire retardant chemicals of concern in all manufactured products.  The association and member company representatives have assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) with initiatives to identify alternatives to hazardous FRs. BIFMA is also working with the State of California and environmental groups to change the fire code requirements that have driven the use of FRs. While those requirements were developed for legitimate fire protection purposes, we believe the risks associated with the use of these chemicals are now appearing to be greater than the fire risk from furniture without fire retardants.

Formaldehyde - BIFMA has encouraged the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to closely coordinate with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a federal regulation mirroring the California composite wood product airborne toxic control measure (formaldehyde rule) is implemented. The EPA has considered more onerous requirements (certification) for manufacturers that laminate materials to composites. Our position is to use the existing CARB standard nationally rather than have the EPA create a new national standard that is different from CARB.

Phthalates - BIFMA members have helped advise the EPA’s "Design for the Environment (DfE) Partnership on Alternatives to Certain Chemicals/Phthalates”. Phthalates are primarily used a plasticizers and use is widespread with many formulations. The EPA is investigating safer alternatives.

Other Chemicals - Hazard Communication Standard Revision Update - An Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule has been issued by the U.S Department of Labor. Under the rule, companies in the United States will need to adopt the globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. Product labels, material safety data sheets (soon to be called "safety data sheets”), and written hazard communication plans must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must also be updated (OSHA Fact Sheet) so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on material safety data sheets.

Taxation

BIFMA is working with the Mobile Workforce Coalition coordinated by the Council On State Taxation (COST) to support legislation that would simplify the onerous burden placed on employees who travel outside of their resident states for temporary periods and on employers who have corresponding withholding and reporting requirements. U.S. Senators Brown and Thune introduced S. 1645, the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2013, an identical companion bill to H.R. 1129, on 11-5-13 and the Coalition hopes to see it passed in this session of Congress. 

Wood Fiber

BIFMA is a member of a Wood Fiber Coalition that is monitoring the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) and other issues pertaining to wood.  The coalition is calling for U.S. Department of Agriculture policies that do not threaten the traditional wood sources of furniture industry suppliers and other industries (horticulture, landscaping, etc.) as "scrap wood” is targeted as an alternative energy option.



 

 

 

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