(Glastonbury, Conn.) Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary voted Friday to recommend the prompt repeal of the Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices against Minors Act, a law prohibiting the transfer of personal information regarding minors (under 18). The Marketing Research Association (MRA), which had filed comments with the Committee, applauded the legislators’ efforts and looks forward to working with them to craft a new, more carefully crafted law, which will not impede survey and opinion research.

The Maine Committee met in special session, October 15 and 16, to review the Act. The Committee quickly concluded that the Act was untenable as written and should be repealed. At the same time, members stressed that the original goals of the legislation – restricting the collection and resale of minors’ healthcare information for predatory marketing – were laudable and should be pursued through a new bill. That new bill, the Committee stated, should be consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), limit data collection to only what is necessary to deliver a product or service, and be mindful of federal and constitutional limits.

“MRA is excited to work with the legislature in Maine to craft a new law that protects the conduct of research with minors,” remarked LaToya Lang, counsel for MRA. LaToya also expressed concern that, based upon the original sponsor’s testimony, legislators in Maine may not understand the difference between marketing and marketing research. “MRA will mobilize researchers in the state to educate lawmakers and help emphasize this important distinction.” “However,” LaToya cautioned, “we only have until January before the legislature is back in session and ready for action.”

Researchers residing in Maine are encouraged to contact MRA’s Government Affairs staff to assist in this advocacy campaign.