The National Association of Attorneys General has adopted an emergency resolution urging Congress not to curb the Federal Trade Commission's authority to crackdown on unfair and deceptive ads.

By a unanimous vote in a meeting over the weekend, the association's executive committee said it would oppose any efforts by FTC Chairman James C. Miller or the advertising industry to limit the FTC's powers because it would "circumscribe the scope of the consumer-protection statutes at the state level and would undermine the ability of the states to protect their citizens."

Complaining that any attempt to change the FTC's statute would in turn change dozens of state laws that "mirror" the federal law, the attorneys charged that any change "may moot case law already developed in the states and further will throw the state consumer protection statutes into a period of great uncertainty."

With the FTC's legislative authority due to expire this fall,Congress is currently debating a new authorization bill and a series of proposals that would limit the agency's powers.

Under congressional timetables, the legislation must be approved by mid-May.

Industry groups have urged Congress either to eliminate or to limit the FTC's power to challenge unfair advertisements, such as those aimed at children. FTC Chairman Miller has gone even further, calling on Congress to sharply curb the agency's powers to crack down on deceptive ads unless harm to consumers can be shown.