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Mattress industry needs to stay engaged in politics

April 3, 2013 3:17 pm

Julie A. Palm

Julie Palm, editor in chief

Depending on when you read this, the U.S. federal government is likely heading off a fiscal cliff, grappling with a sequester, staring up at a debt ceiling or otherwise facing a crisis, probably one of its own making.

I love politics—the sport of it. But there is nothing sporting about what’s happening in Washington, D.C., these days. According to Real Clear Politics, which aggregates and averages other polls, Congress had an approval rating of 14.2% in mid-March. President Barack Obama’s numbers are much better. Real Clear Politics put his approval at 48.4% in mid-March, but it’s been on the decline since his re-election in November.

From rising health care costs to intractable joblessness, the United States is facing enormous problems and the only thing Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is that everything that’s wrong is the other party’s fault and that the only solution to a problem is their solution. This is no way to run a country.

The situation in many states is no better, though for different reasons. In 38 states, one political party rules both the legislature and governor’s mansion. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that’s the highest percentage of one-party control since 1944. Things are definitely getting done in those states, but often in a roughshod way that ignores minority positions.

It’s easy to see why people want to disengage from the political process. But those of us in the bedding industry don’t have that luxury. Several states are considering mattress recycling legislation that would significantly impact mattress manufacturers and retailers. Some of these bills are unduly costly, burdensome and bureaucratic. Others, which have the support of the International Sleep Products Association, are industry-driven, efficient and cost-effective.

To prevent industry-damaging bills from becoming law and to ensure that any mattress recycling legislation that does pass is in the best interest of the industry, mattress manufacturers, retailers and suppliers need to work together—and with lawmakers in their states.

ISPA makes it easy to do so. Most recently, the association created a coalition called Californians for Mattress Recycling to support sensible mattress recycling legislation in that state. ISPA encourages any company in the industry that manufacturers, operates, sells or has customers in California to join the group at www.ca4mattressrecycling.org. By doing so, you’ll be kept up-to-date on advocacy efforts and will be called upon, when needed, to contact state representatives to discuss industry concerns and needs.

For more information about how you can get involved in ISPA’s advocacy efforts, contact Chris Hudgins, ISPA vice president of government relations, at 703-683-8371.

As appealing as it may seem, don’t give in to the urge to walk away from politics. If the mattress industry doesn’t make its voice heard, lawmakers will simply listen to someone else—someone who may not have our best interests in mind.

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