Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill amending the recently enacted digital advertising tax. If passed, the bill would delay implementation of the from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022 and exclude broadcasters and news media entities. While the bill appears to have widespread support, there is a question as to whether it would trigger technical provisions in the recently passed federal COVID-19 relief bill that would lessen federal aid to Maryland.
No matter what happens with the legislation, the lawsuit seeking to invalidate the digital ad tax will continue. Some legal observers believe that if enacted, the new law could increase the chances of the suit’s success.
We have received reports of lawmakers in other states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia who have discussed the possibility of digital ad taxes, but none appear to be moving. AAF is in touch with local government affairs professionals in these states and is prepared to act when necessary.
Overreaching privacy legislation continues to be considered in many states.
Privacy bills in the House and Senate have been moving very fast in Florida. AAF has alerted our clubs in the state and is working closely with Jack Hebert, lobbyist for the Fourth District. We have also submitted comments to the House and Senate bills, as well as proposed House and Senate amendments.
AAF has also provided comments on privacy proposals in Montana. We are monitoring recently introduced legislation in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas and will act if and when it is most legislatively and politically appropriate to do so.
While AAF does not support state privacy legislation, we will continue to comment on some of the more harmful aspects of those bills. AAF believes the multiplicity and inconsistency of proposed state privacy bills further emphasizes the need for a national privacy law, such as the one proposed by the AAF supported Privacy For America.
In California, State Senator Monique Limon (D) has introduced legislation that would place overly restrictive and duplicative restrictions on the use of commercial mail for advertising purposes. If enacted, the measure would have negative consequences for the postal service and California jobs and would be particularly harmful to the many small California businesses that rely on this affordable method of communicating with customers.
AAF alerted our California clubs about the measure and with the Greater San Francisco Ad Club, AAF Silicon Valley and AAF Sacramento joined with many other California groups in sending a letter to legislative leaders explaining the harms that the restrictions would have for businesses and consumers. In addition, AAF District 14 Governor Heather Smith participated in a virtual meeting with Senator Limon’s staff to explain our objections. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on April 5.
AAF Austin Government Relations Co-Chairs Cindy Brummer and Helena Abbing worked with their partners in other Texas AAF chapters and District 10 leadership to plan comprehensive education and engagement of members. As part of the strategy, they held two Fall workshops to educate participants about how the Texas Legislature works and how members can engage with legislators and prepare for a Virtual Day at the Capitol on March 2.
Helena Abbing reports on the results of the March 2 event:
We engaged members from every AAF chapter in Texas to get involved to protect our livelihoods. The day featured a keynote address from GSD&M co-founder and AAF Hall of Famer Roy Spence. AAF National supported our effort with an introduction by Steve Pacheco, AAF President and CEO. AAF EVP-Government Affairs Clark Rector, AAF Government Affairs Chair Carla Michelotti and other industry experts educated our members about issues facing the advertising industry before going into virtual meetings with legislators and staffers. Prize giveaways, live music and engaging conversation rounded out the day. We connected members with legislators to serve as a resource, educate them on our economic contributions, and show we are a powerful voice that when unified, cannot be ignored.