Budget/Appropriations
NCHS
Congress – MRA joined a Friends of NCHS coalition letter to leadership and relevant Appropriations Committee leaders in the House and Senate in support of full FY11 funding for the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on October 27.

Political Polling
NY
- Assembly Member Marcus Molinaro (R-103) introduced A.B. 5621, which would require public reporting of the results of public opinion polls conducted on behalf of any “candidate, political party or committee during the course of any campaign for nomination or election to public office or party position”. Such a candidate, political party or political committee would also have to, “within five days after such poll is released to the general public,” provide detailed information on the poll to the “board or officer with whom statements or copies of statements of campaign receipts and expenditures are required to be filed”, including: (A) who contracted or commissioned the poll and/or paid for it; (B) the name and address of the organization that conducted the poll; (C) “the numerical size of the total poll sample, the geographic area covered by the poll and any special characteristics of the population included in the poll sample”; (D) “the exact wording of the questions asked” and their sequence”; (E) “the method of polling, whether by personal interview, telephone, mail or other”; (F) “the time period during which the poll was conducted”; and (G) “the number of persons in the polls sample”. This legislation would jeopardize the sanctity of internal polling data for political candidates and organizations, so MRA will seek to amend or defeat A.B. 5621.

Telephone
Caller ID
NJ - Senator Paul A Sarlo (D-36) introduced S.B. 1335 (“The Truth in Caller Identification Act”), which would make it “unlawful for any person… to knowingly cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value”. 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
NY – Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-46) introduced S.B. 755, which would establish a state-wide “no political solicitation call” registry. Since the legislation fails to really define a “political solicitation call”, S.B. 755 could pose a threat to political polling and related research calls, so MRA will seek to either amend or defeat S.B. 755.

NY – Senator Frank Padavan (R-11) introduced S.B. 2373, which would require certain disclosures of sponsorship for campaign advertisements and communications “naming a clearly identified candidate or public officer”. Unfortunately, S.B. 2373 does not really define the limits of such “communication”, meaning that, potentially, an automated research call regarding a “clearly identified candidate” would have to include disclosure of sponsorship, which could bias the results of such research. Therefore, MRA will seek to amend or defeat S.B. 2373.

Telemarketing/Sales/Non-Research Activities
Spyware
PA – Governor Ed Rendell (D) signed S.B. 123 into law as Act No. 86. Originally sponsored by Sen. John R. Gordner (R-27), this new law prohibits deceptively installing spyware on a consumer’s computer or any unauthorized users from willfully or knowledgeably causing spyware from being copied onto the computer of an authorized user. Since bona fide survey and opinion research does not use or encourage spyware, this law should have minimal impact on the research profession.