Update: Toy Association Leads Advocacy & Drives Modernization of Pennsylvania's 'Stuffed Toy' Law
June 1, 2023 | In a significant development for the toy industry, the Pennsylvania legislature introduced a bill today to amend the state's outdated 1961 Stuffed Toy Manufacturing Act. The change comes as a result of The Toy Association spearheading advocacy efforts to modernize the law on behalf of members and the broader toy manufacturing community. The amended law will now allow for the use of recycled materials in stuffed toys distributed and sold within the state.
For years, individual toy manufacturers and retailers have been urging Pennsylvania to revisit and revise the 62-year-old law, which required all stuffed toys distributed and sold within Pennsylvania to be manufactured using only new, virgin materials.
The Toy Association brought its members together to form a working group dedicated to identifying key policy issues related to the Stuffed Toy Manufacturing Act. This collaborative effort resulted in the drafting of comprehensive legislative language that was shared with legislators and ultimately used in the amendment. These ongoing conversations at the Pennsylvania statehouse have been instrumental in keeping the legislation at the forefront of lawmakers' minds and pushing for its consideration.
“The Toy Association engaged a team, led by Charlotte Hickcox, the Association’s director of state government affairs, who worked diligently on the ground and identified influential legislators who showed a willingness to sponsor and champion the proposed amendments,” said Ed Desmond, executive vice president of global government & regulatory affairs of The Toy Association. “The Association actively sought the support of state regulators, recognizing the importance of garnering widespread backing for the legislative changes. The amendment is a significant step toward modernization and embracing sustainability in the industry and the positive impact it will have on our members and the toy manufacturing community cannot be overstated.”
Pennsylvania is currently one of three states (Ohio and Massachusetts are the others) that directly mandates specific requirements for stuffed toys, separate from general toy safety standards. Additionally, stringent labeling requirements for the state make it exceedingly challenging for manufacturers to produce stuffed toys on a mass scale and distribute them across the country or globally. While this original law ensured cleanliness standards at the time, advancements in technology have since made it possible to use recycled materials to manufacture stuffed toys, bringing sustainability and cost benefits to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike.
The bill will now navigate the committee process and secure approval in both the Senate and the House. Given the upcoming summer break, legislative action may be delayed until the fall. The Toy Association will continue efforts on the ground in Pennsylvania and will keep members apprised of new developments.