AAF National Government Report April 2020

April 30, 2020

  • Michigan Governor Imposes/Rescinds Ad Ban
  • California Privacy Update
  • Industry Awaits Governor’s Decision on Maryland Ad Tax
  • ULC May Draft Model Privacy Law
Michigan Governor Imposes/Rescinds Ad Ban On April 24, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an Executive Order that among other things, rescinded the advertising ban included in a previous order. The previous Executive Order addressing the COVID-19 crisis in her state sparked a well-covered protest because of the stay-at-home provisions included in the order. The order also included language that impacted advertising.

Specifically, the order prohibited stores with more than 50,000 square feet “from the advertising or promotion of goods that are not groceries, medical supplies, or items that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences.” It also stated, “No one shall advertise or rent a short-term vacation property except as necessary to assist in housing a health care professional or volunteer aiding in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.”

While well intentioned, the necessity for these advertising restrictions was questionable, but the potential for harm to local media—an important source of local news and information—was not.  AAF President & CEO, Steve Pacheco wrote to the Governor asking her to rescind the advertising restrictions in the order. AAF also joined our industry allies in calling on the Governor to rescind the restrictions. Finally, we also urged each of the Michigan advertising federations to contact Governor Whitmer.

The Governor did not state her reasons for not including the ad ban in the new order, but it is reasonable to suspect that the industry protests may have played a role.

California Privacy UpdateThe California Attorney General’s office continues to move forward with drafting regulations to implement the California Consumer Privacy Act. Even though the regulations have not been finalized, enforcement is scheduled to begin July 1.

In late March, AAF and a group of more than 65 trade associations, organizations and companies sent a letter to the AG asking for a delay in enforcement until January 2, 2021.  However, the office has indicated it is committed to enforcing the law starting on July 1. The AG followed that response with a privacy alert to notify Californians of their rights under the CCPA and provide other information related to data and COVID-19. When the California legislature returns, it is expected to continue its consideration of legislation that would impact data and advertising, prioritizing measures related to COVID-19.

Industry Awaits Governor’s Decision on Maryland Ad TaxAs reported last month, prior to adjourning the legislative session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland General Assembly approved a bill including the digital ad tax and sent the measure to Governor Larry Hogan (R). The Governor has not commented specifically on the proposal, but has been vocal in his opposition to new taxes and it is anticipated that he will veto the measure. The Governor must veto or approve the measure the first week of May.

Should the Governor veto the bill, the General Assembly could try to vote to override when it returns. Legislative leaders had hoped to reconvene in May, but have announced that will not happen. The next session has not been scheduled and could be delayed until the Fall or next year pending the state of the health crisis.

ULC May Draft Model Privacy LawThe Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is working on a draft Collection and Use of Personally Identifiable Data Act (CUPIDA). The ULC works for the uniformity of state laws by drafting model legislation for consideration by state lawmakers.

AAF and our industry allies have written to the ULC expressing concern with some aspects of and early draft of the CUPIDA.  For example, the draft would allow private rights of action by individual citizens which would likely lead to a flood of frivolous and expensive litigation.  The draft would also provide state Attorneys General the authority to “adopt rules and regulations to implement provisions of the Act” which would undermine the goals of uniformity.

The letter expresses our work with Privacy for America and support of a national data privacy standard that would clearly define prohibited practices, protecting consumers while preserving the benefits that come from the responsible use of data.

The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.


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