MN - With the adjournment of the Minnesota legislature, S.F. 1237 and H.F. 1641 have died. MRA testified against these two threatening physician gift bills back in January.
MO - MRA succeeded in defeating H.B. 1547. This bill, which would have extended 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," died upon the adjournment of the legislature. H.B. 1547 was last covered in the January 2010 Legislative Update.
LA - S.B. 801, sponsored by Sen. Neil Riser (R-32), passed the Senate on May 25 and passed the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on June 3. This bill would prohibit the use of a tracking device to track the location or movement of a person without the person's consent. It would exempt tracking: of a motor vehicle consented to by the vehicle's owner; by the "lessor or lessee of a motor vehicle and the person operating the motor vehicle who have consented to the use of a tracking device with respect to such vehicle;" of a minor child by a parent or legal guardian; by law enforcement "acting pursuant to a court order or lawfully using the tracking device in an ongoing criminal investigation;" by the "Department of Public Safety and Corrections tracking an offender who is under its custody or supervision;" and, by the "provider of a commercial mobile radio service (CMRS), such as a mobile telephone service or vehicle safety or security service that allows the provider of CMRS to determine the location or movement of a device provided to a customer of such service." S.B. 801 defines a "tracking device" as "any device that reveals its location or movement by the transmission of electronic signals." Since survey and opinion researchers should not collect geo-location information without the consent of a research participant, this bill should have minimal impact on the research profession.
Automated and/or Political Calls
Congress - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 16) introduced the "Robocall Privacy Act" (H.R. 4641), which would set time-of-day calling restrictions, require certain disclosures and limit the number of calls per day for "political robocalls." "Political robocalls" are defined as any outbound calls that use a "recorded message" instead of a live caller and "which promote, support, attack or oppose a candidate for Federal office." CMOR worked with Rep. Lofgren during the last Congress, BEFORE the bill was introduced, to ensure that the legislation had no negative impact on the survey and opinion research profession (since legitimate research calls do not promote, support, attack or oppose Federal candidates). The Act is identical to S. 1077, sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), which MRA covered in the June 2009 Legislative Update.
MO - Multiple bills in Missouri that would have restricted automated calls, political calls or automated political calls were successfully defeated by MRA. H.B. 1253, H.B. 1325, H.B. 1652, H.B. 1686, H.B. 1834, S.B. 633, and S.B. 663 have all died upon the adjournment of the legislature. These bills were covered in the December 2009 Legislative Update, February 2010 Legislative Update and March 2010 Legislative Update.
OK - H.B. 2000, which would have required 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", has died upon the adjournment of the legislature. The bill was last covered in the January 2010 Legislative Update.
OK - S.B. 1758 has died upon the adjournment of the legislature. This bill would have prohibited the use of an "automatic dialing or announcing device" unless 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 was relatively vague, but explicitly stated that the prohibition would "not be limited to calls made for commercial purposes." The bill was last covered in the January 2010 Legislative Update.
GA - S.B. 470 was signed by the Governor on May 20 and chaptered as Act No. 422. The new law makes it illegal for any unauthorized user of a computer to prevent "reasonable efforts to block the installation, execution or disabling of a covered file-sharing program" on a computer or to "install, offer to install or make available for installation, reinstallation or update a covered file-sharing program on the computer without first providing clear and conspicuous notice to the authorized user of the computer showing which files on that computer will be made available to the public, obtaining consent from the authorized user to install the covered file-sharing program, and requiring affirmative steps by the authorized user to activate any feature on the covered file-sharing program that will make files on that computer available to the public." Notice is required to "be redisplayed each time a change occurs in the list of files that will be made available to the public." The law defines a "covered file-sharing program" as "a computer program, application or software that enables the computer on which such program, application or software is installed to designate files as available for searching by and copying to one or more other computers, to transmit such designated files directly to one or more other computers, and to request the transmission of such designated files directly from one or more other computers." It does not include "a program, application or software designed primarily to operate as a server that is accessible over the Internet using the Internet Domain Name System, to transmit or receive e-mail messages, instant messaging, real-time audio or video communications, or real-time voice communications, to provide network or computer security, network management, hosting and backup services, maintenance, diagnostics, or technical support or repair, or to detect or prevent fraudulent activities." This new law should have minimal impact on legitimate survey and opinion research activities.