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The Federal Trade Commission has tentatively proposed to repeal three rules governing how the dimensions of sleeping bags, tablecloths and extension ladders are described to consumers in advertising, labeling and markings on the products. The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposal for 30 days, until June 22.

In 1993, as part of a periodic review of rules and guide- lines, the Commission sought public comment on each of these rules, asking in part for information on whether they needed to be changed and what costs and benefits complying with the rules entails. The FTC received only a few comments, and although some of them called for retaining the relevant rule, the Commission has determined that they no longer may be needed. The FTC promulgated the rules in the 1960s and cites in three Federal Register notices published today several regulatory and industry changes and other reasons for its tentative determination.

Specifically, the Commission said, the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation, adopted by 47 states, has requirements similar to those in the FTC's Sleeping Bag Rule and Tablecloth Rule. Also, industry standards governing the labeling of ladders contain requirements that overlap with those in the FTC's Extension Ladder Rule. The FTC also stated it has taken no law enforcement actions against companies for violations of these rules; nor has it received any complaints of non-compliance. In addition, the Commission staff has conducted informal inquiries and found that the relevant industries generally operate in compliance with the rules.

Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments on the rules should be identified as follows: Tablecloth Rule -- 16 CFR Part 404; Sleeping Bag Rule - - 16 CFR Part 400; and Extension Ladder Rule -- 16 CFR Part 418.

The Commission vote to publish the Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register was 5-0.

Copies of the rules and of today's Federal Register notices are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.


(FTC Matter No. P924214)