October brought Insights Association advocacy focused on: data privacy and new laws in California; COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers; labor and tax legislation in California; funding for the census; and the signing into law of California A.B. 1561, our fix to the state’s 2020 law requiring prorated hourly minimum wages for California research subjects who receive incentives.

Consumer Privacy & Data Security

Last Fall, Golden State voters dramatically complicated the insights industry’s ability to comply with the already-convoluted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its regulations by passing Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). CPRA adds new consumer rights and business responsibilities while expanding existing CCPA ones, and eliminates the right to cure violations within 30 days.

In the wake of CPRA, Sacramento sought to amend both CCPA and CPRA in 2021. Bills we opposed ended up amended or defeated. IA surveyed the new laws and what went down to defeat, at least for now.

Meanwhile, on the international front, we reminded insights companies and organizations that have been relying upon the old Standard Contractual Clauses for transferring data from the European Union to the U.S. (and other countries that also provide, according to the EU, "inadequate" data protection) that it is now time to switch to the new versions

COVID-19

President Joe Biden has ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard that would require employees at companies or organizations with 100 or more workers to be vaccinated or be tested weekly. The Insights Association has a lot more questions than answers regarding the pending OSHA standard, although we attempted to address as much as we could of both.

The OSHA standard appears to be nearing completion and IA met with White House representatives to share our concerns last week. However, state government actions in Texas and Arkansas are already complicating compliance with a standard we haven’t even seen yet.

Human Resources

As in most years, California debated plenty of legislation on labor and tax issues that would be detrimental to the insights industry. Here’s where things stand at the end of the 2021 legislative session on that front. 

Census

The federal government’s fiscal year ended on September 30, 2021. With Congress’ inability to approve funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), it instead had to cram a continuing funding resolution (CR) at the final moments of the expiring fiscal year to keep the government running, including the Census Bureau, through December 3, 2021.

Research Subjects = Independent Contractors

The governor signed California A.B. 1561 into law on October 2, 2021, fixing the state’s 2020 law requiring prorated hourly minimum wages for California research subjects who receive incentives. The new law’s language was proposed and endorsed by the Insights Association.

Our final alert for Insights Association members explains the background on our successful advocacy campaign (and the industry supporters that made it possible); the details of the new law; and measures to avoid liability in California and around the U.S.

The insights industry owes a debt of gratitude to the Insights Association’s A.B. 2257 advocacy working group in making this campaign a success: Material, Vital Findings, Quadrant Strategies, Full Circle Research, Branded Research, Precision Sample, MarketVision, Public Opinion Strategies, Dynata, Rybbon, Prodege, Schlesinger Group, Lucid, Nielsen, UserTesting and Forza Insights Group.

Other donors supporting us included Rare Patient Voice, Olivetree Insights, Fifth Element Associates, Q-Catalytics, Veridata Insights, Clarion Research, Bauman Research & Consulting, WestGroup, Harmon Research Group, Global Market Research Group, Armature Group, Charter Oak Field Services, Information Specialists Group, SurveyHealthcare / InCrowd, Beall Group, FUEL, Voccii, Connected Research and Consulting, and Joe Ottaviani.

On the broader federal front, a new report explained the dangers of the PRO Act, legislation that passed the U.S. House in March, since it could allow the unionization of research subjects who receive incentives by implementing an ABC test of independent contractor status.

Who Will Stand Up for the Insights Industry?

Your membership in (and support for) the Insights Association funds our defense and advancement of the insights industry, since IA revenues go to advocacy like we have discussed above, and other ventures that protect and promote the industry.

We are always available to answer your questions on these and other legislative/regulatory/legal issues.

This information is not intended and should not be construed as or substituted for legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. It is advisable to consult with private counsel on the precise scope and interpretation of any laws/regulation/legislation and their impact on your particular business.