February 1, 2017 / Mark Ames

Sailing the Legislative Seas

Perhaps it is no surprise that legislators like to, well, legislate! This, combined with recent elections often dominated by messaging that policymakers need to get to work, has resulted in a torrent of new bills offered at a pace that is enough to make you seasick. Already, there have been nearly 180,000 bills introduced in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. While it is heartening to see such enthusiasm, this frenetic tempo carries with it a hidden danger—if policymakers aren’t careful, they may miss important unintended consequences of their proposals. This is where AIHA comes in: by providing expert feedback to policymakers on the potential impacts of their ideas, we can help protect worker health.

As a case in point, AIHA is working with members of Congress to hold a briefing on Capitol Hill in mid-February focused on helping policymakers understand the merits of OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica rule, which some members of Congress have suggested should be revoked. The briefing will also serve as a useful forum for discussing the pivotal roles that worker health and safety play throughout our nation.

While the call to educate policymakers is always important, it takes on enhanced poignancy during this time of legislative and regulatory disruption. Members of Congress—and all policymakers at every level of government in every state—want to help people, and know they do not have all the answers. Seeking those answers, they look to their constituents and experts for help. As such, AIHA and its members find themselves on a sea of opportunities that, although at times seemingly rough and perilous, offers the hope of something better.

AIHA members who have a particular interest in sailing these waters are welcome to contact me at mames@aiha.org or (703) 846-0730.

Mark Ames

Mark Ames is AIHA’s director of Government Relations.

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