AAF Government Report: March/April 2023

April 6, 2023

AAF Advertising Day on the Hill a Success

AAF’s March 23 Advertising Day on the Hill was a rousing success. Forty AAF members from 19 states and the District of Columbia attended. They were briefed by speakers from the Federal Trade Commission and advertising self-regulatory programs and learned about the important issues confronting the industry, including privacy and data security and preservation of the federal tax deductibility of advertising expenses.

After a morning of preparation, the attendees went to Capitol Hill for meetings in more than 60 House and Senate offices to explain to lawmakers and their staffs the importance of a vital and healthy advertising industry to their states and congressional districts.

As a grassroots organization, Advertising Day on the Hill is one of AAF’s most important programs. We are grateful to the dedicated volunteers who traveled to Washington, DC, to advocate for their businesses and the advertising industry. We are grateful to our sponsors TikTokCapitol Counsel, the Digital Advertising Alliance and Venable for helping to make Advertising Day on the Hill possible.

In addition to AAF National, many local chapters are conducting legislative days. Former AAF District 10 and current Council of Governors Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Price reports:
On March 1, District 10 hosted our virtual District-wide Day at the Capital event. We had over 50 participants from TX, AR, OK and LA learn about privacy and advertising issues from the AAF platform along with an afternoon of legislative meetings. This is the first time a joint virtual day has been held and it was a wonderful success. We want to thank guest speakers Clark Rector, AAF EVP Government Affairs and Duff Stewart from GSD&M along with the legislators and staffers who took time to meet with our club leaders. We plan to continue hosting this event.

On March 23, seven AAF Nebraska members participated in the club’s Day Under the Dome. Participants met with seven Senators and the staffs of four more. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. The group also had an audience with Governor Jim Pillen (R) to talk to him about the importance of advertising to the Nebraska economy.

Privacy Take Center Stage in the States

As anticipated, 2023 has been a busy year for privacy issues in the states. AAF and our allies, in many cases joined by local AAF clubs, have provided comments to state lawmakers from coast to coast. We are grateful to the local clubs who sign our letters, often with short notice, as their local voice is powerful when speaking to state lawmakers. We apologize for those instances when time constraints make local participation impossible.

The primary message of our comments is consistent from state to state. AAF supports a law enacting robust privacy and data security protections for consumers. However, we support federal legislation protecting all consumers nationwide. State laws, however well-intentioned, would create a patchwork of inconsistent standards making it difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to comply—especially smaller businesses working with fewer resources. While stating our opposition, we will also offer suggestions making the proposed laws more closely align with standards in other states.

In March, AAF and eight Texas advertising clubs (AAF AmarilloAAF AustinAAF Corpus ChristiAAF DallasAAF East TexasAAF HoustonAAF Rio Grande Valley, and AAF San Antonio) sent a letter to Texas lawmakers opposing comprehensive privacy legislation. Special thanks to Helena Abbing of AAF Austin for submitting online testimony—required to come from an in-state source—prior to the legislative hearing. Later in the month, AAF, joined by AAF Austin and AAF Houston submitted comments on an “age appropriate” privacy bill we believe would not only have not protected children, but impeded older youths from accessing the benefits of online information.

Together with AAF SeattleAAF Spokane and AAF Tri Cities, AAF wrote to Washington state lawmakers about legislation designed to protect consumer health data, but going much further than would be necessary or beneficial to consumers.

AAF, joined by AAF Central Minnesota and AAF District 8, wrote to Minnesota House and Senate legislative leaders regarding flawed “age appropriate” bills (SF 2810 and HF 2257).

Similarly, in Florida AAF wrote to Senators and Representatives opposing privacy bills, HB 1547 and SB 262. AAF was joined on the letters by AAF District 4AAF OrlandoAAF Space CoastAAF Treasure Coast, and Ad 2 Orlando.

Other states where AAF filed comments on privacy related legislation included ArkansasConnecticutNew Hampshire, Illinois (HB 1381HB 3385, and HB 3880) and Maryland (SB 698 and SB 844).

In other privacy news, Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) signed into law HB 311 which banned any form of advertising on social media to minors, defined as anyone under the age of 18. AAF wrote to the Governor urging him to veto the measure because we believe it is overly broad, unconstitutional and would harm more than help underage users of social media. The new law will likely be challenged in Court.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) has signed into law comprehensive privacy legislation. While AAF favors a national privacy law and does not support state privacy legislation, we chose not to engage in Iowa as the enacted law created an acceptable balance between consumer protection and business requirements.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) has finalized rules to implement the Colorado Privacy Act. AAF and AAF Colorado provided comments to the Attorney General’s office.

Nevada Considers a Tax on Data

Nevada lawmakers are considering AB 421, which would impose a tax on businesses use of data which would increase the costs of online advertising resulting in harmful effects to businesses and consumers. AAF and many allied associations, including AAF District 14 and AAF Las Vegas wrote to lawmakers expressing our objections to the tax. In addition, AAF District 14 Governor Kurt Thigpen testified before the Assembly Committee on Revenue in opposition (testimony begins at approximately 1:13:05). Future action on the measure is unclear at this writing.

AAF Supports Challenge to Maryland Digital Advertising Tax

In 2020, the Maryland General Assembly passed a tax on digital advertising, which was enacted when the legislature overrode the veto of then Governor Larry Hogan (R). AAF EVP of Government Affairs Clark Rector testified in Annapolis against the tax. Challenges to the tax have been moving through the Maryland Courts. AAF has joined an Amicus Brief filed with the Maryland Supreme Court in support of the challenge by Comcast and others currently pending before the Court. Oral arguments are tentatively scheduled for May.


AAF National NewsAAF Nebraska NewsLegislative Issues

Get In Touch

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.