The Insights Association has been racking up advocacy wins for our members in the areas of pharmaceutical research, small business loan forgiveness, telephone research, and jury trial research.
Additional advocacy work is progressing to help our members reopen their businesses (and protecting them from unwarranted lawsuits at the same time), defending audience measurement research and securing extra funding for the U.S. Census.
- Maine Re-opened for Pharmaceutical Marketing Research with Doctors: In finalizing Maine’s ban on pharmaceutical manufacturer gifts to health care practitioners in June, the Maine Board of Pharmacy responded to the Insights Association that the ban should not restrict respondent incentives for participation in bona fide marketing research. Maine had been off the table for most pharmaceutical research involving physicians since 2017, but this helpful clarification allows our members to return to insights collection/development with this important audience unimpeded.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Forgivable Loans for Small Businesses, Improved: IA helped to pass the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010) into law in June. It improves the ability of small businesses to utilize the Small Business Administration 's PPP loans to offset the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The new law extended the loan forgiveness period and provided loan recipients much greater flexibility in achieving loan forgiveness, particularly given the coronavirus-related instability in the labor market. The Act also lowered the required percentage of proceeds that must be spent on payroll to qualify for forgiveness and allows companies to still benefit from deferred payroll tax payments.
- California TCPA-ish Legislation Defeated: IA helped to defeat California A.B. 3007, legislation that would have prohibited most marketing research calls to Californians (at their residential, business or cell phone lines). We met with dozens of California Assemblymembers and their staff to explain our concerns and discuss amendments to ameliorate the severe problems with this TCPA-ish bill. In the end, the sponsor pulled the bill from consideration.
- Court Learned that Real Research Studies Aren’t Push Polls: The Texas Supreme Court at the end of April rejected a lower court’s order against a law firm for a supposed “push poll.” We had filed amicus briefs in defense of research in this case and in 2016 the lower court of appeals. It was a crucial victory for the right of litigants to use bona fide marketing research in court trials.
Advocacy in Progress
- Guidelines for Reopening Insights Businesses: In early May, IA set out further guidelines for reopening member businesses, especially qualitative research facilities.
- Limiting Liability for Reopening Insights Businesses: IA swung into action in May to lobby for “a safe harbor from unwarranted COVID-19-related lawsuits” for our “well-intentioned businesses that are making a reasonable effort to follow government and public health guidelines” as they reopen and try to continue work during the coronavirus crisis. We made the pitch to Congress for federal relief, supported such legislation in Alabama, Louisiana and Minnesota, and cheered the passage of liability-limiting laws in Oklahoma and Utah.
- Defending Audience Measurement Research: IA criticized a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that would change how the agency determines local television station markets. We worried that it would “abandon accurate audience measurement research in favor of engineering exercises in signal strength measurement.” The Insights Association's comments focused on the importance of science and consumer choice.
- 2020 Census: Most 2020 Census field operations were shelved for a while by COVID-19, which will require significant delays in the legal deadlines for data reporting and a lot of extra money. That’s why IA worked to convince the U.S. House to include an extra $400 million in the latest relief bill to offset the 2020 Census’ COVID-19 costs and advocated for more funding in the next fiscal year (since the 2020 Census will extend far into it).
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.