Physician Incentives
MS – Rep. Sherra Hillman Lane (D-86) introduced H.B. 437, which would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to annually report “the value, nature and purpose of any gift, fee, payment, subsidy or other economic benefit provided in connection with detailing, promotional or other marketing activities by the company, directly or through its pharmaceutical marketers, to any physician or nurse practitioner in the state or any member of the immediate family of a physician or nurse practitioner in the state, and shall include the names of the recipients of the gifts, fees, payments, subsidies and other economic benefits.” Unfortunately, survey and opinion research incentives to physicians or nurse practitioners could be included as “other marketing activities.” Therefore, MRA will seek to amend H.B. 437 to exclude research incentives.

Privacy
Exit Polling
MO – Rep. Michael George Corcoran (D-77) introduced H.B. 1547, which, among other changes to election law, would extend the existing barrier against “Exit polling” and “surveying” around a polling place from 25 feet to 100 feet “of the building's outer door closest to the polling place”. MRA will seek to limit or eliminate this portion of H.B. 1547.

Minors Privacy
ME – Senator Elizabeth M. Schneider (D-30) introduced “An Act To Protect Minors from Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices” (S. 649), which would repeal a law she authored last year that MRA successfully advocated against (the Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors Act). In its place, the Act would prohibit the collection and use of “personal information collected on the Internet from a minor for the purposes of pharmaceutical marketing.” It would define “minor” as anyone between 13 and 16 years of age. Although Senator Schneider’s new Act explicitly targets advertising and direct marketing and promotion, MRA will remain involved in the process to ensure that the Act does not expand in any way that may infringe upon legitimate survey and opinion research in Maine.

Telephone
Automated Calls
KY – Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-14) introduced S.B. 50, which would make a “prerecorded political message” subject to the national Do Not Call Registry. The bill defines this as an automated call that “concerns any political party, ballot measure or candidate” and is “delivered by or on behalf of” a “candidate or committee” or “if the content of the message expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any political party, ballot measure or candidate or contains information about any candidate or political party.” Because this vague definition could ensnare automated research calls, MRA will seek to clarify the language to protect research.

IA - Rep. Ray Zirkelbach (D-31) introduced H.B. 48, which would prohibit the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” or an “artificial or prerecorded voice call” in election or ballot issue campaigns. The prohibition would apply to candidates, authorized representatives of candidates, candidate's committees and political committees. Because H.B. 48 explicitly relates to political fundraising or advocacy, it would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research. While laws banning robocalls are often popular, H.B. 48 appears to be too broad-reaching to garner enough support.

OK – Sen. Charlie Laster (D-17) introduced S.B. 1758, which would prohibit the use of an “automatic dialing or announcing device” absent either a situation where the recipient has “knowingly or voluntarily requested, consented to, permitted or authorized receipt of the” call, or the call is preceded by an introduction from a live person. The bill is relatively vague, but explicitly states that the prohibition would “not be limited to calls made for commercial purposes.” MRA will seek clarification as to the intent of the bill, and if needed, amend S.B. 1758 to protect research calls or defeat it.

TN – The Tennessee Regulatory Authority adopted new rules (10531 2008) regulating automated calls, effective January 20, 2010. In addition to slight amendments to TAC1220-04-11-.08, which already restricted automated calls (explicitly including calls for research purposes), the Authority added TAC 1220-04-11-.09, which requires registration of automated dialing announcing devices (ADAD) with the Authority costing $100, permit renewal every two years for $100, and the posting of a surety bond or letter of credit. Tennessee defines an ADAD as “any device which is used, either alone or with other equipment for the purpose of automatically selecting or dialing telephone numbers and playing recorded messages to the numbers called.”

Caller ID
PA – Rep. Karen D. Beyer (R-131) introduced H.B. 2064, which would forbid anyone from making a call or engaging in “conduct that results in the display of false caller identification information on” the called party’s telephone, “with the intent to defraud, harass or cause harm.” MRA always recommends a policy of “truth in caller ID” for researchers, so this legislation should have minimal impact on the survey and opinion research profession.

Political Calls
AL – Sen. Arthur Orr (R-3) introduced S.B. 114 and Rep. Randy Hinshaw (D-21) introduced H.B. 129, companion bills, which would require “electioneering communications” and paid political advertisements paid for by an organization or entity to disclose the names of their funding sources. Their definition of “electioneering communications” should exclude survey and opinion research since one of the criteria for determination of an “electioneering communication” is that “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the presentation and content of the communication is that it is intended to influence the outcome of an election.” MRA will continue to monitor S.B. 114 and H.B. 129 to ensure against any negative impact on the research profession.

KS – Rep. Dale Swenson (R-97) introduced H.B. 2217, which would expand restrictions on telemarketing calls to “any call made by a candidate, candidate committee or political committee.” Since this could conceivably impact research calls made directly by such entities, MRA will seek to amend or defeat H.B. 2217 to protect survey and opinion research. As currently written, we do not expect this legislation to advance.

OK – Rep. Harold Wright (R-57) introduced H.B. 2000, which would require the disclosure at the beginning of “any telephone call on behalf of a candidate” of “the identity of the person making the telephone call and the person, if any, paying for the cost of the telephone call or paying the person making the telephone call.” MRA will seek to amend H.B. 2000 to exclude survey and opinion research calls made on behalf of candidates.

Spyware
UT – Sen. Stephen Urquhart (R-29) pre-filed the Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act (S. 26), which would punish electronic fraud, phishing, pharming, cyber-squatting, spyware installation and other illegitimate online activities. S. 26 would have minimal impact on legitimate survey and opinion research activities.

Telemarketing/Sales
Faxes
MS – Rep. William C. Denny (R-64) introduced H.B. 292, which would include fax numbers in the state do not call registry. Because the registry only targets telemarketing and sales, H.B. 292 should have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.

Telemarketing
MS – Rep. Joseph L. Warren (D-90) introduced H.B. 181, which would delay the expiration of the Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. This bill would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research since survey research is not included in the state law.

NY – Sen. Bill Perkins (D-30) introduced S.B. 6034, which would create additional telemarketing call restrictions in New York. It would restrict calling hours to 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., require the telemarketer to disclose their name and the name of any sponsor and their purpose in calling, and restrict “negative option” marketing. The bill would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.

OK – Sen. Charlie Laster (D-17) introduced S.B. 883, which would forbid telemarketing calls on Sunday, regardless of any existing business relationship, and also prohibit the intentional blocking or avoidance of caller identification by a telemarketer. The bill has since passed the Senate and awaits consideration in a House committee. S.B. 883 would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.

Text Messaging
GA – Rep. Ellis Black (D-174) introduced H.B. 275, which would add text messages to the state do not call registry. The bill would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.

MO – Rep. Doug Funderburk (R-12) pre-filed H.B. 1426, which would add text messages and faxes to the state do not call registry. The bill would have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.

MS – Rep. Hank B. Zuber (R-113) introduced H.B. 16, which would add text messages to the definition of telephone solicitation and thus include them in the state do not call registry. Because the registry only targets telemarketing calls, H.B. 16 should have minimal impact on survey and opinion research.