Physician Incentives
AK - Representative David Guttenberg (D-8) introduced H.B. 373, which would require a manufacturer or labeler of prescription drugs to report their "marketing costs" in Alaska, including expenses of $25 or more "that are associated with the advertising, direct promotion or other marketing of prescription drugs to health care providers." The report will have to include "the value, nature, purpose and recipient of the expense." "Healthcare provider" would be defined as "a person authorized to provide healthcare in this state, the person's employees in this state, a healthcare insurer, a health plan, a pharmacy, a hospital, a nursing facility and a clinic." Expenses could include payments to providers for participation in marketing research studies sponsored by manufacturers or labelers. As a result, MRA has been in touch with the sponsor and relevant leaders on the committee to which the bill was referred to amend or defeat H.B. 373.

CT - The Joint Public Health Committee substituted and passed S.B. 270 (upon which MRA submitted testimony and which was covered in the March Legislative Update). Among other changes, the Committee expanded the scope of the bill from a "pharmaceutical manufacturing company" to "pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing company," in line with Massachusetts. The Committee's Report includes MRA's explanation of opposition and our proposed changes to protect research.

NJ - Regulations proposed by the previous Attorney General, Anne Milgram, which would have required public reporting of payments to physicians from manufacturers, appear to be dead on arrival.

NY - An elaborate proposal from Governor Paterson for public reporting of manufacturer payments to physicians, submitted as part of his annual budget, also appears to be dead on arrival.

Data Security
MS - Governor Haley Barbour (R) signed H.B. 583 into law on April 7, making Mississippi the 46th state to enact a data security breach notification law. It requires a business that "owns, licenses or maintains personal information of any resident of [the] state" to provide notice of a security breach to all affected individuals. The new law considers a breach to be "the unauthorized acquisition of unencrypted electronic files, media, databases or computerized data containing personal information of any Mississippi resident."  The law contains a harm threshold specifying that notification is not required if it can be reasonably determined that the breach will not likely result in harm to affected individuals. The law will become effective on July 1, 2011. For more information on data security compliance, see the Compliance Guide or contact MRA's General Counsel, LaToya Lang.

Exit Polling
MD - The Board of Elections adopted new regulations (10-056) on voting and voting places. Among the changes, exit pollsters are now requested to provide the State Administrator or the election director with a list of those voting places that they intend to cover, so that the election judges can be informed. The regulations used to just require that exit pollsters "identify" the voting places at which they would be working.

MN - Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) signed H.F. 3108 into law (Chapter # 201), legalizing exit polling at Minnesota voting places. An MRA volunteer had previously testified in support of the law in the state legislature.

ME - Governor John Baldacci (D) signed S. 649 into law (as Public Law No. 560) on March 29, finally and officially repealing the Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices against Minors Act (a law that MRA successfully advocated against last year). The sponsor's (Sen. Schneider-D) effort to replace it with a more tailored focus against pharmaceutical marketing to children failed and the final version simply repealed the previous law.

VA - Governor Bob McDonnell (R) signed H.B. 1 into law (previously discussed in the November 2009 Legislative Update). In response to a court ruling which found Virginia's previous spam law unconstitutional, the new law focuses it solely on unsolicited "commercial electronic mail" instead of unsolicited "bulk" e-mail. According to H.B. 1, "Commercial electronic mail" means "electronic mail, the primary purpose of which is the advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service." Survey and opinion research emails are now no longer covered by Virginia's spam law thanks to H.B. 1, since research e-mails are non-commercial in nature.

KS - With the end of session in Kansas, the Robo-call Privacy Act (S.B. 456) (covered in the February Legislative Update) has officially died. MRA will be working to head off this threatening legislation before it reemerges next year.

Automated Calls
TN - The Tennessee Regulatory Authority withdrew its proposed new rules (10531 2008) regulating automated calls (previously discussed in the January Legislative Update).

WV - With the adjournment of the legislature for the year, H.B. 2548 (discussed in the February Legislative Update) has died. MRA had weighed in with the legislature in opposition and is pleased to see this threat taken care of.

Caller ID
Congress - The House passed the Truth in Caller ID Act (H.R. 1258) on April 14, which would make it "unlawful for any person within the United States ... to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, with the intent to defraud or cause harm." MRA always recommends researchers strive for "truth in caller ID," and H.R. 1258's restrictions should not impede legitimate survey and opinion research practices.

TN - Governor Phil Bredesen (D) signed H.B. 2503 into law (Chapter No. 684), prohibiting "any person to utilize any ADAD equipment to intentionally... Conceal or misrepresent the telephone number utilized by the ADAD equipment on the call recipient's telephone or other equipment that is technically capable of displaying the number by: (3) Displaying a telephone number other than the telephone number utilized by the ADAD equipment; (4) Not displaying the telephone number utilized by the ADAD equipment; or (5) Displaying an "unknown number" message or similar message instead of the telephone number utilized by the ADAD equipment." MRA always recommends a policy of "truth in caller ID" for researchers. The new law should have minimal impact on the survey and opinion research profession.

VA - Governor Bob McDonnell signed H.B. 215 into law (previously covered in the February Legislative Update and the March Legislative Update) as Chapter No. 323. The new law requires campaign calls to display the accurate name of the candidate or committee sponsoring the calls in the caller ID display, or the name of the entity conducting the calls (in place of the sponsor). That exception protects research calls that would otherwise have to reveal their sponsor. MRA always recommends a policy of "truth in caller ID" for researchers, so this law should have minimal impact on the research profession.

Political Calls
NC - With the conclusion of North Carolina's session, H.B. 974 has died. It was covered in the May 2009 Legislative Update.

Telemarketing/Sales/Non-Research Activities
Congress - The President has signed the "Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act" (H.R. 4621) into law. This bill was covered in the February Legislative Update.

UT - Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed the Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act (S. 26) into law as Chapter No. 200. This new law punishes electronic fraud, phishing, pharming, cyber-squatting, spyware installation and other illegitimate online activities, but should have minimal impact on legitimate survey and opinion research.

CT - S.B. 69 (discussed in the February Legislative Update) has died.