Government Relations Update January 2024

State Privacy Update

As expected, 2023, was an extremely busy year on the state privacy front. Together with our allies in the informal State Ad Trade Coalition, AAF tracked more than 150 proposed privacy bills in 40 states and territories across the United States and submitted in excess of 70 letters and comments in response to those bills. AAF is particularly pleased we were joined in those letters (often with very short notice) by at least 22 local chapters and districts, demonstrating to lawmakers privacy matters are of concern to both local and national businesses.

In November, we were joined by AAF District 8 and Ad 2 Milwaukee in a letter to Wisconsin lawmakers in opposition to a proposed state privacy regime.

In December, we contacted leaders in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate in opposition to a fast moving and lightly considered piece of privacy legislation which ultimately passed both chambers. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in appealing to Governor Phil Murphy to veto the bill. The bill moved so fast through the legislative process leaving many experts uncertain of all provisions and requirements.

Already in 2024, we have submitted our views to lawmakers in Maine, Minnesota (Letter 1 and Letter 2), South Carolina, and Washington (Letter 1 and Letter 2) on proposed privacy bills. AAF Midlands signed the South Carolina letter.

We are also engaged in states with existing privacy laws. We have submitted comments to the California Privacy Protection Agency on Automated Decision-Making Technology Regulations and to the Colorado Department of Law on OptOutCode ApplicationOpt-Out Machine Application, and Global Privacy Control Application.

AAF supports reasonable privacy legislation. However, we believe consumers and businesses alike would be best served by a strong federal law providing consistent protections in every state. For this reason, we are members of Privacy for Americaand active supporters of the Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative. We recognize in the absence of federal action, state lawmakers are likely to move forward with their own legislation. Our comments try to offer constructive advice to help align their bills with laws existing in other jurisdictions for the ease of businesses and the benefit of consumers.

State Advertising Tax Threats

Legislation has been introduced in Nebraska to adopt an Advertising Services Tax. Sponsors seem to be targeting digital advertising and entities “that are doing business in Nebraska and whose combined gross advertising revenue exceeds one billion dollars.” Current prospects for the tax are uncertain.

AAF is working with AAF Nebraska to monitor the bill, and the chapter alerted members about the threat.

While no formal proposal has been made, rumors had been swirling in Albany about a possible New York effort to tax digital advertising. As a preemptive move, AAF joined a number of other groups in warning Governor Kathy Hochul about the harms of such a tax.

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.