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ISSA Advocacy Recap—ISSA Calls on Congress to Support COVID-19 Liability Protections

Welcome to the ISSA Advocacy Recap, our regular roundup of the latest public policy issues impacting the cleaning industry. This week’s recap touches on a recent letter to Congress ISSA signed on to urging enactment of COVID-19 liability protections, the Senate passing a US$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief resolution, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placing all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico on an import alert, and more. ISSA Urges Congress to Pass COVID-19 Liability Protections ISSA joined more than 580 organizations to urge members of the U.S. Congress to include “targeted and temporary” liability protections as they consider U.S. President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package. In a letter to congressional members, the signatories stated “for many who remain on the front lines and continue to serve our communities during this pandemic, the threat of unfair litigation continues to loom. In 2020, over US$23 million was spent by plaintiffs’ firms on COVID-19-related lawsuit advertisements, a clear indication that an influx of litigation is coming. As employers, educational institutions, and others answer President Biden’s very appropriate call for face coverings and other protective steps, they should not have to worry that their actions will invite costly and unnecessary litigation.”

Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Resolution The Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday morning, a key step for the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass President Biden’s US$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal without any Republican votes, CBS News reported. The 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie, came after an all-night marathon “vote-a-arama.” The Senate voted to reject a major component of the Biden plan—raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. In a voice vote, senators narrowly approved an amendment from Iowa Republican Joni Ernst that would ban the increase during a pandemic. However, the increase could be restored when the final measure is hashed out.

FDA Places All Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers from Mexico on Import Alert The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously warned against hand sanitizer brands containing the toxic ingredient methanol, according to CMM. Last week, the FDA announced all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico would be placed on a countrywide import alert over concerns of methanol contamination. Under the alert, hand sanitizer products from Mexico will be subject to heightened FDA scrutiny and agency staff may detain the shipments.

Employers Should Prepare for More OSHA Enforcement Under Biden Employers should prepare for more enforcement actions by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the Biden administration, according to Edwin G. Foulke Jr., former OSHA administrator and partner at Fisher Phillips and reported by Bloomberg Law. Foulke says Biden’s actions regarding COVID-19 enforcement strategy and early political appointments send a “clear message” that employers should revisit workplace safety policies.

News From California: Labels Are About to Get Longer Providing ingredient information to consumers continues to be a regulatory priority in the Golden State. In the last few weeks, a proposed update to California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) and the January 2021 implementation date for the labeling requirements under the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 promise to expand the ingredient information manufacturers must include on certain product labels, according to JD Supra.

Article written 2.5.21

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