Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., addresses the crowd at the NLBMDA spring meeting on March 24, 2015.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., addresses the crowd at the NLBMDA spring meeting on March 24, 2015.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., addressed key issues this morning during a breakfast session previewing its 2015 spring meeting with members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Topping the agenda were three main issues: the Marketplace Fairness Act, which grants states the authority to require businesses to collect and remit taxes on online sales; the Innocent Sellers Act, which aims to provide product liability protection to businesses that sell, not manufacture or install, products; and the EPA's controversial RRP rule, which requires remodeling and renovation firms performing work on pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be EPA certified and follow certain agency-certified work practices.

In its 2015 agenda, the NLBMDA also voiced support for issues like comprehensive tax reform, "pro-growth" legislation, and the elimination of "unnecessary regulatory burdens."

Addressing the room from the podium, Sen. Gardner said he's concerned about the regulations facing local lumberyards across the U.S. 

"Washington D.C. has a lot of people in it that think they know what’s best for you,” said Sen. Gardner. "But I think the businesses… on main street know what’s best."

After his pep talk, Gardner took questions from the audience. One question and answer that grabbed the full attention of the room dealt with the legalization of marijuana, and what that meant for dealers who drug test their employees.

"This is a very big challenge we’ve faced in Colorado," said Gardner, citing how testing has only further complicated his state's labor shortage. "But It’s there to stay in Colorado," he added. "I just hope that other states will wait and watch before they decide to do the same thing."

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., spoke on similar issues. In his speech, he mentioned issues he felt were important to advancing the interests of the lumber and building materials industry: The RAPID Act, a piece of legislation introduced by Marino that he says would streamline regulatory review and environmental decision making; the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015, a bill meant to limit the EPA's ability to "sue and settle" small businesses; and establishing a process to propose regulations “in English, and ... in 100 words or less."

"We are inundated with rules and regulations from not only this administration as others as well," said Marino. "The EPA is at the top of my list as an agency that is not doing what it should be," he added, prompting a burst of applause from the audience.

"This administration has implemented over 175,000 pages of rules and regulations," Marino said. "I have a simple thought that I use to determine if we should remove legislation or enact legislation. Does it improve the quality of life for Americans? If it doesn’t, we don’t run with it."

The trade group will later today take to Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress to advance its policy agenda.