Regulatory Reforms Afoot at the FTC: Now’s Your Chance to Weigh in
As part of Acting Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen’s regulatory reform initiative, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking for the public’s input on the Picture Tube, Textile, Energy Labeling, and CAN-SPAM Rules. The comments will inform the Commission’s decision on whether to update these rules.
- The Textile Rule obliges marketers of textiles to label their goods properly for identification purposes. The FTC seeks comments on a proposal to eliminate the obsolete labelling provisions, “which require marketers to attach a label to a textile product disclosing the manufacturer or marketer name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and the generic names and percentages by weight of the fibers in the product.”
- The Picture Tube Rule requires manufacturers to adopt uniform measurement of television screen sizes and requires advertisers to base any representation of the screen size on the horizontal dimension of the actual, viewable area so that consumers know exactly what to expect. The FTC is looking for particular feedback regarding whether the rule is still needed at all as well as opinions on its “efficiency, costs, benefits and impact.” The commission will consider new television technology “including plasma, LED, OLED, and other similar materials in flat display screens” as it deliberates possible changes.
- Under the Energy Labeling Rule, EnergyGuide labels are required on certain appliances “to help consumers compare similar models.” The Commission is proposing to update this rule “to eliminate provisions that are obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome and to account for new products in the marketplace.” The FTC’s proposed changes are informed by feedback it received in an earlier call for comments that ended in September 2016.
- The CAN-SPAM Rule implements the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act and sets forth requirements for commercial email messages. The FTC is seeking comment on the benefits of the Rule, the costs of compliance, and whether it should be amended, for example, to account for technological or economic changes.
Comments on the Textile Rule must be submitted by July 31, 2017. Feedback on the Picture Tube Rule and the CAN-SPAM Rules must be submitted by August 31, 2017. All comments should be submitted at www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments.
Acting Chair Ohlhausen stated: “Regulations can be important tools in protecting consumers, but when they are outdated, excessive, or unnecessary, they can create significant burdens on the U.S. economy, with little benefit. Private firms face constant market pressure to innovate and improve, and I see no reason why government should operate any differently. American taxpayers should expect nothing less from us.”
As the reform process continues, the FTC may update or repeal other rules. Stay tuned.