By Miriam Raftery
July 1, 2013 (Sacramento) -- Legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) to modify “Made in America” labeling standards has been killed the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Assembly Bill 890 would permit a product to qualify as “Made in America” if 90% of the components of the merchandise were made in the United States. Current California law requires 100%.
“The inconsistency in law has resulted in difficulties for manufacturers because products legally labeled as ‘Made in America’ in the other 49 states can’t legally be sold here. This places the retailer and manufacturer at risk, and increases costs to separately label products for sale in California,” Jones said. “This would have been a strong step in the right direction at ensuring California’s manufacturing jobs a competitive advantage in California, but once again the Democrats put politics ahead of California jobs and working peoples’ livelihoods.”
Joel Joseph, Chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation said, “In our new global economy it is virtually impossible to manufacture a high-tech product 100% in the USA. We support AB 890 because it will encourage manufacturing in California and create jobs here. For every manufacturing job created in California, the multiplier effect will create four more jobs here, for restaurant workers to feed these new employees, for taxi drivers, for component suppliers, for dry cleaners and many others.”
The Consumer Federation of California opposed the bill. An article on the watchdog group’s website states: ”The Consumer Federation of California strongly opposes this attempt to overturn a ruling of the California Supreme Court, which upholds an important truth-in-advertising law. The 2011 Court found that a consumer suffers economic harm if deceived into making a purchase relying on the accuracy of the “Made in USA” label, and affirmed, “Simply stated: labels matter. The marketing industry is based on the premise that labels matter, that consumers will choose one product over another similar product based on its label and various tangible and intangible qualities they may come to associate with a particular source.”
The consumer advocacy group further noted, “Accurate regulations reward companies that pay higher costs to manufacture domestically by safeguarding the “Made in USA” claim. Without adequate enforcement of the “Made in USA” standard, some companies could mislead consumers without fear of liability.
Despite AB 890 passing the Assembly with strong bi-partisan support, the bill died on strict party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee Chair, Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) chastised Assemblyman Jones for bringing this issue before her committee once again, Jones' office reported.
“I don’t care how many times I have to introduce this legislation, it is sound public policy and is frankly good for all Californians – consumers, employees, and businesses alike.” Jones added, “It is unfortunate that legislation to protect both U.S. manufacturing and U.S. consumers in an era of global commerce would fall victim to petty politics.”