The past month has seen significant developments on CCPA, COVID-19, data taxes, small business-crippling legislation in California, immigration work visas, and TCPA. The Insights Association is grateful for your membership and support in combatting these tough issues. Check out what we’re up to!

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

New DC tax on data

The Insights Association is urging all members who live in Washington, DC, have businesses or organizations in the District, or who employ staff there, to reach out to the City Council in opposition to the proposed three-percent tax on the sale of personal information (defined so broadly as to include basically any data) and on advertising. (See our 1-pager.) 

IA is working with a broad coalition to convince the City Council to reconsider and reject this counterproductive proposal, which hurts consumers; kills jobs; ; harms small businesses; and creates significant hurdles for economic recovery in DC. We only have until July 28 to defeat this new tax.

COVID-19

IA continued to help our insights industry members respond to the coronavirus crisis:

Burdening Small Businesses with California S.B. 1383

  • California S.B. 1383 would significantly harm small insights businesses in California by requiring all employers to provide 12 weeks of protected leave each year (in addition to existing California and federal requirements) and threatening them with class action lawsuits for any unintentional mistakes.
  • The leave could be taken with minimal notice, and in increments as small as 1-2 hours.
  • The requirements would apply to any business with at least five employees.
  • While the bill’s supporters use the pandemic to justify this bill, it is not limited to COVID-specific concerns.
  • Like some other leave and workers' compensation bills we oppose, and the headcount tax bill, the California Chamber of Commerce labelled this legislation a “Job Killer.”
  • IA has been discussing S.B. 1383 with dozens of California Assemblymembers to explain the implications for our industry.

Ban on Work Visas

The White House recently extended “the pause on new immigrant visas” to a wide range of work visas (H-1Bs, H-2Bs without a nexus to the food-supply chain, certain H-4s, as well as Ls and certain Js) through the end of 2020, a move that could have a negative impact on the marketing research and data analytics industry and our ability to hire specialized talent and transfer existing staff across borders in the middle of a bad economy.  

The Insights Association sympathizes with the sentiment behind the White House’s policy -- protecting American jobs -- which motivates some on both the political left and right against most work visas. However, with the American economy, and the insights industry, already in significant distress, the visa prohibition will make it even harder to fill specialized positions (from both within and without). It will also hurt American economic competitiveness in the long run, with the best foreign talent being less likely to seek out positions in the U.S. in the future.

TCPA drama

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a much-ballyhooed ruling on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) texting addressing what constitutes an autodialer in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), without really clarifying much at all. 
  • The TCPA requires express prior consent to use an automatic telephone dialing system (autodialer) to call a cell phone, which is the only way most U.S. households can be reached. Accidents are no excuse, penalties are high, and trial lawyers are filing lot of lucrative TCPA class action lawsuits. Much of the problem comes down to the exceedingly broad interpretations of what constitutes an autodialer. The 2015 FCC rules indicated that the only device that couldn’t be considered an autodialer was a rotary dial phone.
  • Unfortunately, the FCC has mostly avoided TCPA reform since we helped convince the Circuit Court to reject those 2015 rules.
  • In more dramatic fashion, the U.S. Supreme Court had a chance to strike down the TCPA statute entirely at the beginning of July in Barr v. AAPC, but instead only struck down the exemption for government debt calls, leaving the overall law intact. This led directly to another Supreme Court case, Facebook v. Duguid, scheduled for the October term, that may finally settle the TCPA definition of an autodialer. The Insights Association will try to help that effort along.
  • Finally, the FCC still has a chance to help differentiate marketing research from marketing in TCPA by responding to the 2017 Insights Association / AAPOR petition on the subject. With bad precedents mounting in the courts, we will ask the FCC to finally issue a ruling, since response to the petition was overwhelmingly positive

Advocacy to Come

Thank you for your continued membership and support, which makes all this work possible. Please remember that we are always available to answer your questions on these and other legislative/regulatory/legal issues of importance to the insights industry. Stay safe and sane!

This information is not intended and should not be construed as or substituted for legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. It is advisable to consult with private counsel on the precise scope and interpretation of any laws/regulation/legislation and their impact on your particular business.