“Data Privacy Legislation Isn’t Confined to California.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote that sentence in a blog recapping the work being done by ANA and DMA to advocate for the future of direct marketing amid the potential overreach of new data privacy restrictions like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). I have rarely been accused of being understated, but that statement now seems like the opposite of hyperbole. As we learned during this week’s ANA Government Relations call, data privacy legislation has been introduced in eight states. Data “right to know” and “Opt-in, Opt-out” legislation is being considered in an additional three states. And then there’s the “new” topic of taxation of advertising services in three states (Washington, Utah, and Illinois), with a different focus for each of those types of bills.
The ANA Government Affairs team predicts this is the beginning of a larger wave of professional services taxation, including advertising services. As states struggle to find new revenue streams to close budget gaps and provide funding for infrastructure and other pressing needs, advertising and other professional services are an attractive target.
Here’s what the taxation issue looks like from west to east:
- Washington: SB 5659 is a Business and Occupation (B&O) tax surcharge on pharmaceutical advertising revenues for substance abuse and mental health services.
- Utah: HB 441 would reduce the sales tax rate from 4.7 percent to 3.1 percent, but would extend the tax to a wide range of services including advertising, computer services, web search portals, data processing, and information services. (Update: Utah has abandoned HB 441 for the remainder of the current legislative session, pending any special session where it could be reintroduced.)
- Illinois: HR28 is a resolution in opposition to any additional taxes on advertising.
Utah is particularly interesting—and frightening, as it is expected to move quickly and could set an ugly precedent. As the ANA team stated with passion on the call, we really need to ramp up our efforts on these bills, or the battle will be lost at the state and federal level.
There are fatal flaws with many of the state laws being introduced, and the CCPA is the poster child for what could happen if other states view it as a model for privacy legislation. ANA describes it as their number one priority to “contain the brushfire as it relates to privacy.” If you’re still not convinced, consider this: SB 561 would “fix” the CCPA by adding a “private right of action” that attaches potential limitless liability in the event a consumer’s privacy is violated. In other words, this bill would expand a consumer’s rights to bring a civil action for damages to apply to other violations under the CCPA.
Once again, we implore you to take one of the following actions:
- If you are a DMA and/or ANA member, join the Government Affairs subcommittee.
- If you are not a member of DMA/ANA, join today.
- Help inform the work of DMA and ANA by writing letters, providing input, and when appropriate, attending meetings on Capitol Hill.
2019 is proving to be a year of explosive growth in state and federal data and privacy legislation, not least of which is the CCPA. You need to act now to help ANA develop a new paradigm that is fair for both consumers and businesses—in other words, rules that are fair for you personally and professionally. Contact me here to learn more.
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