HARRISBURG, Pa. — Teddy bears made and sold in Pennsylvania all have one specific thing in common and it's rare across the country. It may not last though, as some lawmakers have had enough of the stuff.
Children cling to plush toys and stuffed animals of all shapes, sizes and colors, but some materials used nationwide aren't allowed inside the huggable friends sold in Pennsylvania.
The Keystone State is just one of three in the country that requires these toys to be stuffed with brand-new material.
"Currently it's Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts that still have those laws, with Pennsylvania being the most restrictive," said Charlotte Hickcox, the director of government affairs with the Toy Association.
Hickcox said the Pennsylvania law was enacted in 1961, long before modern manufacturing.
"We didn't have the technology. We didn't have the foresight that we were going to be able to reuse a different material to be able to put into something else," she continued.
"This has caused a problem for toy manufacturers and retailers. If the material does not meet those new requirements, a manufacturer can't distribute their toys here and the retailer can't sell them," said Eric Kratz, the executive director of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.
These days, manufacturers across the country and around the world are stuffing these toys with recycled material.
State Senator Devlin Robinson wants businesses in Pennsylvania to be able to do the same. He proposed a change to the law after requests from constituents.
"Everybody is looking at ways to shrink their carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly," said State Senator Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny County). "I don't know why [the law] hasn't happened in the past couple years, but we're going to change it and we're going to fix it."
Hickcox said the inspection process for toys made from recycled material is just as stringent.
"We know that not only is that material just as safe as that new virgin material in a stuffed toy, but it's also just as soft, it's just as cuddly and it's just as enjoyable for that child to play with," Hickcox said.
Robinson said his bill to change the stuffed toy regulation has bipartisan support.