With the able services of Kent & O'Connor, ASA's long-standing representatives in Washington, D.C., ASA was able to remain at the forefront on a number of key issues in 2003. A monthly newsletter, "Washington Update," is circulated to all members, either through the regular newsletters of our Regional Affiliates, or via email from the ASA headquarters office. It keeps ASA members up-to-date on the status of proposed bills in Congress or regulatory measures that may affect the way they do business.

Earlier this year, ASA was at the forefront of the original effort by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a group of corporate giants to craft an industry fund that would provide relief to the thousands of businesses that are being involved in asbestos-related litigation. Together with K&O, we established a focus group of wholesaler and manufacturer members to help develop a position on the elements of the proposed fund that would ensure that ASA members' needs were represented.

K&O continue to monitor activities of legislators and regulators in Washington on behalf of our industry in other areas, including: tax law, ergonomics rulings, steel tariffs, OSHA changes, and many others. For a complete update on the status of these initiatives, visit the ASA website at www.asa.net.

The ASA Political Action Committee remained active in 2003, raising its level to more than $24,000 to support the campaigns of Congressional members and those running for office that are likely to understand the interests of our members. We anticipate that the PAC's fundraising efforts will heat up in early 2004 as the country prepares for the federal elections.