• Online
    • Computer Crimes
    • Online Safety
    • Phishing
  • Privacy
    • Data Security
    • Health IT
    • Outsourcing
  • Sales
    • Do Not Call
  • Taxes/Budget
    • Census Funding
    • Services Tax

Advance Look at 2008: Pre-filed Bills

  • Pharma
    • Physician Gifts
  • Telephone
    • ADAD and Do Not Call
  • Sales
  • Do Not Mail

Computer Crimes
Congress – The Senate passed the "Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act" (S. 2168) on November 15, which would make it illegal to threaten to reveal confidential information illegally obtained from computers. It would also let victims of ID theft seek restitution in federal court for the loss of time and money spent trying to restore their credit and good names. S. 2168 would have no discernable direct impact on the research profession.

Online Safety
Congress – Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the “Internet Safety Education Act” (S. 2344), which would create a competitive grant program to provide for age-appropriate Internet education for children. CMOR supports the goals of this legislation.

Michigan-Has introduced SB 945, a measure that amends the “Identity Theft Protection Act” to include a provision regarding “phishing”. The new measure prohibits persons from using false misrepresentations, via the Internet or e-mail, to induce others to provide identifying information. With regard to the survey research profession, as long as there is no intent to deceive the respondent in order to obtain their personally identifiable information, then the scope of this measure does not apply.

Data Security
Congress -- House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the “Privacy and Cybercrime Enforcement Act” (H.R. 4175), which enhances punishment for identity theft and other violations of data privacy and security, including organized criminal activity and failure to provide notice of security breaches involving personal information, and provides for non-criminal privacy enforcement and impact statements. CMOR will soon be providing a detailed analysis and cross-comparison of the many conflicting data security bills in Congress for CMOR Shield readers.

Health IT
Congress – The House passed H.R. 2406 on October 24, legislation which would authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “in consultation with industry and appropriate federal agencies,” to develop “technology-neutral infrastructure guidelines and standards,” or adopt existing ones, for use by Federal agencies in advancing the integration of healthcare information enterprises. For more information on healthcare and information technology networks and its impact on survey and opinion research activities, see "Healthcare Privacy and Healthcare IT".

Congress – Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the “Notify Americans Before Outsourcing Personal Information Act” (H.R. 4241), which prevents a business from transferring any personally identifiable information (PII) regarding a citizen of the United States to any foreign affiliate or subcontractor located in another country without providing written notice to the citizen in question prior to the transfer of data. Violators can be subject to private rights of action. The definition of PII includes even ordinary data, such as a name, phone number, or address. Although this legislation is not likely to advance, CMOR will work with Rep. Poe to minimize the impact of his legislation on the survey and opinion research profession.

Do Not Call
Congress – On December 11, the House passed H.R. 3541, and on December 17, the Senate passed S. 2096, both of which would make permanent the addition of numbers to the national Do Not Call Registry. Numbers registered currently expire after five years. Because the Senate included language in S. 2096 requiring an FTC report on efforts to keep the registry current, the two sides of Congress will have to come to a compromise before a bill can be signed into law. The House also passed H.R. 2601 and the Senate passed S. 781, which would both extend the authority of the FTC to collect fees to administer and enforce the national Do Not Call Registry through Fiscal Year 2012. The fee schedule is currently scheduled to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2007. Since legitimate survey and opinion research calls are outside the scope of (and are therefore implicitly exempt from) the national Do Not Call Registry, these bills would have no direct impact on the survey and opinion research profession (see "Do Not Call (DNC) Developments”).

Census Funding
Congress – The House and Senate passed an omnibus appropriations law for Fiscal Year 2008, including $1.23 billion in funding for the Census Bureau (approximately the same as the President’s Budget request). Specifically, the law allocates $1.027 billion for Periodic Censuses and Programs, which covers the 2010 Census (including the American Community Survey), and the 2007 Economic Census and Census of Governments. Left unfunded are the ACS Methods Panel the $3.6 million requested by the Census Bureau for Master Address File (MAF) enhancements. The Appropriations Committee has noted that the Census Bureau will conduct a complete (e.g. 100 percent) address canvass in 2009, to verify addresses on the MAF.

CMOR takes pride in this advocacy accomplishment on behalf of the research profession, in conjunction with the Census Project. CMOR joined appeals in 2007 to the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on May 7, to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on October 4, and to the Secretary of Commerce on October 8.

Service Tax
MI- Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) signed HB 5408 into law, repealing a six percent tax on business services, including advertising consulting. However, HB 5408 (Public Act 145 of 2007) removes the services tax that went into effect on December 1 and replaces it with a surcharge on Michigan's business tax (see Michigan Passes New Tax on Services, December 2007, for more information on the now-repealed consulting tax). The surcharge will be assessed on every taxpayer with business activity in Michigan, including survey and opinion research organizations that are located in Michigan. CMOR recommends that researchers consult with their accountants or tax lawyers to determine the impact of this change on their businesses.

Advance Look at 2008: Pre-filed Bills

The survey and opinion research profession will be consistently challenged as evidenced by these pre-filed bills for 2008.

Now is the time to get involved to protect your organization. Please contact LaToya Lang and join the State Capital Network today!

Physician Gifts
NH-Has pre-filed HB 1518, a measure that would profoundly impact pharmaceutical research for the survey research profession. The bill seeks to prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturer agents from offering a health care practitioner a gift of any value. All gifts to health care practitioners would be prohibited, including physician honoraria provided by the survey research profession. CMOR takes this harmful legislation seriously, and will act quickly to attempt to amend or kill it.

ADAD & Do Not Call
MO-Has pre-filed two bills regarding the Missouri state Do Not Call registry: SB 840 and SB 857. SB 840, while expanding the application of the state registry to “automated calls” as well as telephone solicitations, explicitly exempts automated calls from a public safety agency, a telecommunications company, and political research calls: “a person or entity requesting the residential subscriber’s personal opinion regarding a public policy matter, political candidate, or issue before voters or which may come before voters.” “Automated call” is defined as “any prerecorded or synthesized voice message resulting form the use of an automatic dialing announcing device.” CMOR will contact the sponsor to expand the exemption in SB 840 to cover other kinds of non-political survey and opinion research automated calls.

Though similar to SB 840, SB 857 could be more problematic for the research profession. SB 857 also updates the state do not call registry to include telephone solicitation calls and automated calls, but contains no explicit exemptions for automated calls for research purposes. Under the scope of this measure, an automated call does not include: calls with the prior express invitation or permission of the subscriber, by any person which has a current business or personal relationship with the subscriber within the past 180 days, and calls when the message is preceded by a live operator who obtains the subscriber’s consent before the automated message is delivered.

CMOR will work with the bill’s sponsor to exempt all forms of automated research calls.

Do Not Mail
NH-Has pre-filed HB 1506, which would establish a do not mail registry for New Hampshire residents who choose not to receive solicitations. Solicitation is defined as a “communication that is sent through the United States Postal Service or other mail carrier to encourage a consumer to purchase, rent, or invest in goods or services.” Since survey and opinion research would be outside the scope of this definition, HB 1506 will be of minimal impact to the research profession.