Readers who followed Overlawyered in 2009-10 will recall that the closest this site has ever come to a crusade was in covering the truly horrible Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, enacted after a media-fed tainted-toy panic, a law that needlessly drove out of business many small retailers and manufacturers of children’s goods posing no hazard whatsoever to consumers. Some will further recall that the chief Senate handler of the legislation was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), who cut a poor figure throughout as both ill-informed and dismissive about the side effects his own legislation was having.
Now Sen. Pryor is locked in a tight race for re-election with challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, and a group called the Arkansas Project has been reminding readers of Pryor’s record on CPSIA, digging up many new details in an August series written by Washington, D.C.-area policy analyst Marc Kilmer (who generously credits Overlawyered coverage as a source throughout). Most of the series can be found at this tag or via search. Here is a guide to individual installments in the series, supplemented by links to further coverage from our archives:
- Introduction, and some comments about dangerous toys (our overall coverage of CPSIA);
- Sen. Pryor’s role in the law, and its unreasonable testing burdens (our coverage of CPSIA and Congress, and the law’s testing burdens);
- The law’s awful effect on resale and consignment, and the closure of A Kidd’s Place in Conway, Ark (our coverage on resale);
- Why big toymakers (unlike small) are doing fine under the law, and some dubious claims of safety success (our coverage on toys);
- CPSIA’s role in saving kids from old books (our coverage of its effects on books and libraries);
- “Sen. Pryor Stops Kids from Eating All-Terrain Vehicles” (our coverage on minibikes and other motorized vehicles)
- How the law jumped the gun on phthalates, the bendy-plastic ingredient (our coverage of the law’s phthalate ban);
- Sen. Pryor’s non-response to the series.
Arkansas voters — and everyone who wants to learn how a Congress can fail spectacularly at its legislative responsibilities — should read this series in full.