ALA Members, Staff Discuss Key Industry Issues in D.C.
This April, 20 ALA members and staff descended upon Washington, D.C., for the association’s annual fly-in. The fly-in is important to ALA’s legislative and regulatory successes, as it provides the association and its members an opportunity to meet directly with Members of Congress, their staffs and other key government officials. ALA’s success in setting up productive
meetings is a byproduct of the member support and growth of the ALA Political Action Committee.
“With the recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Sales Tax Fairness and the continued threat of additional tariffs, our timing of the fly-in was critical to reinforce ALA’s positions and tell the story of how innovation is driving the success for our members’ products,” says Eric Jacobson, ALA president and CEO. “We don’t want to see policies that hamper this innovation and that are harmful to our economy. It is also beyond time to level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers regarding sales tax fairness.”
The topic of proposed tariffs affecting LEDs was one of the main points of discussion. As industry members understand, LEDs are changing the landscape of lighting in drastic ways. During their discussions, ALA members reminded leaders in D.C. that the adoption of LEDs is on a strong growth trend, and placing hidden, regressive taxes on LED products, will severely undercut adoption. It is clear to ALA and the industry that the proposed LED tariffs will disproportionately hurt American workers, and the association opposes any trade action that would negatively impact the market for lighting, ceiling fan and control products.
Another key point of discussion was related to the recent amicus briefs that ALA and other trade associations submitted in the Supreme Court Case of South Dakota v. Wayfair. During the meetings in D.C., ALA members discussed the negative side effects of showrooming, which has led to job cuts, business closures and a loss in revenue for state and local communities. The association urged congress to support legislative efforts to help usher in fairness in the online retail space, and to pass H.R. 2193 – The Remote Transactions Parity Act.
During the meetings, ALA members and staff also addressed the topic of modernization of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). ALA supports reforming the current revolving nature of the regulatory process through legislation that seeks to modernize the ECPA. In the meeting, ALA urged Congress to review the current discussion draft on EPCA modernization, which would bring about vital reforms to end the innovation-stifling regulatory cycle.
The topic of ENERGY STAR reform also made its way into the group’s discussions. Because ENERGY STAR does not have the constraints of typical standards-writing bodies, the program has been able to shift and adapt to continue to be relevant. Nevertheless, there is still room for some larger structural changes. ALA encouraged leaders to review a bill by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), which was released last year, and proposes changes to the ENERGY STAR program. Some of the changes in the bill are troublesome, but ALA believes the bill provides a good platform to strengthen a worthwhile program.
In addition to meetings with government officials, the group also enjoyed a lunch, hosted by Lutron Electronics, with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan and other officials from the Department of Energy.
“We are grateful for the members who were able to join us this year for the fly-in,” said Michael Weems, ALA vice president, government engagement. “It is through the participation and dedication of, industry leaders, our members that we are able to come to Washington and engage our government leaders to ensure our voice is heard and impact change on these important issues.”
To learn more about ALA’s recent government engagement efforts, visit ALAMembers.com/Government-Engagement.