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Rockland County Agrees to Halt Enforcement of Flawed County Children’s Product Ban Law

Monday, November 09, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lauren Schoener-Gaynor
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Rockland County Agrees to Halt Enforcement of Flawed County Children’s Product Ban Law

County Agrees to Stay Enforcement Until Next Year


The “Safe to Play Coalition” of which JPMA is a principal Partner along with AAFA, HIA and TIA, announced that a Stipulation with Rockland County halting Enforcement of Rockland County’ Local Law No. 3. (which originally went into effect October 12, 2015) until after this year. The stay is a result of threatened litigation against the County because the measure violates federal preemptive safety laws. Due to this action, the law will not be enforced while the County seeks to address the serious legal concerns raised by draft legal papers provided to the County Attorney. The County is seeking to do so by year end.


The law is identical to a law passed in Albany County that was similarly halted as a result of being the subject of a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging the county acted with “gross disregard of extensive federal laws regulating the safety of toys and children’s products” and failed to adhere to the US Constitution. Rockland County Executive Ed Day declined to sign the legislation, saying, “The ambiguous restrictions proposed in this law are either ridiculously expensive or completely unenforceable. Without any basis in established science, this law will not protect children.” However, without an express veto or action by the Legislature, the law went into effect.


“This law claimed to make children’s products safer when, in reality, all it did was criminalize and ban the sale of safe juvenile products that parents wanted for the care or their children,” said Rick Locker, Counsel to the Coalition and JPMA.


“The safety of children is our top priority and we support national requirements for a broad array of juvenile products that provide for their care and protection” Kelly Mariotti, JPMA Executive Director noted that “The threat of litigation and the real possibility that retailers would have been forced to take products that are essential for the care and safety of infants off sale helped County Officials come to their senses before essential juvenile products were swept from retail shelves.”


The threat was real as McDonalds had pulled toys from Happy Meals in the County for fear of enforcement of the law.


As passed, Local Law 3 bans and criminalizes the sale of safe toys and children’s products for children 12 and younger which contain heavy metals “at any level” that otherwise meet federal safety laws under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). Congress enacted those provisions to ensure that strict, uniform standards would govern the safety of children’s products nationwide, and to avoid the uncertainty and inefficiency of patchwork safety regulations through hundreds of different, often-conflicting state and local standards. 

Members will be kept informed as progress continues. Should you have any questions on please contact Counsel Rick Locker.

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