• Incentives for Doctors
  • Online
    • Online Behavioral Tracking
  • Privacy
    • Data Security
  • Telephone
    • Political Calls
  • Tax/Budget
    • Census Funding
  • Sales
    • Spam
    • Text Messaging
  • Human Resources
    • Background Checks-Minors

Current Legislation

Incentives for Doctors
Congress - Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Peter Defazio (D-OR) introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (S. 2029 and H.R. 5605). The legislation would require manufacturers of drugs, biological products, medical devices or medical supplies that are reimbursable under Medicare or Medicaid to disclose annually to the public through a federal website, any “payment or other transfer of value, directly, indirectly, or through an agent, subsidiary, or other third party, to a physician; to an entity that a physician is employed by, or has tenure with, or has a significant ownership interest in.” This would include incentives/honoraria to physicians for participation in market research studies, where the payment ultimately originated from one of these manufacturers. H.R. 5605 and S. 2029 would be detrimental to marketing research with physicians and CMOR considers the bills a high priority concern. CMOR will seek to amend H.R. 5605 and S. 2029 to explicitly exclude market research incentives.

Behavioral Tracking
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – On April 11, CMOR submitted comments to the FTC regarding their proposed self-regulatory guidelines for Online Behavioral Advertising. Because of a vague definition, CMOR is concerned that legitimate online research activities (including the use of simple cookies) could be included in the FTC’s proposed regulations.

CT – HB 5765, which has been passed out of committee, would require conspicuous and thorough notice about data collection and usage policies for online "advertising delivery and reporting", and a complicated regime of opt-in and opt-out procedures. Unfortunately, HB 5765 does not clearly define “advertising delivery and reporting,” and could potentially include information collected online strictly for research purposes. CMOR will be in contact with the sponsors to ensure that legitimate research activities are exempted from this legislation.

NY - Assemblyman Brodsky (D) has introduced the “Third Party Internet Advertising Consumers' Bill of Rights Act” (A.B. 9275), which would limit how companies collect data on computer users. The legislation establishes rules and privacy policies with respect to how third party online advertisers collect and disseminate consumers’ online behavioral data. It also requires that consumers be given adequate notice of what data is collected, how third party advertisers operate, as well as a clear and conspicuous mechanism on websites for consumers to opt-out of such online advertising. The bill, similar to Connecticut’s HB 5765, does not clearly define “third party advertising,” and could potentially include information collected solely for online research purposes. CMOR will be in contact with the sponsor to ensure that legitimate survey research activities are not included in the scope of this legislation.

Data Security
Australia - The Australian Privacy Commissioner released a draft “Voluntary Information Security Breach Notification Guide” to help in effective preparation and response to data security breaches, and when and how to respond. It is seeking comments by June 16.

WV - Gov. Manchin signed into law SB 340. The new law, originally sponsored by Sen. Kessler (D), prohibits unauthorized access or acquisition of computerized data which compromises the security, confidentially of personal information and requires notification of a security breach. The new law also establishes internal company security breach procedures. Survey and opinion research companies must comply with this law in the event of a security breach regarding data for West Virginia residents.

Political Calls
NE - State lawmakers passed LB 720 and sent it to the Governor to be signed into law. LB 720, which would be effective in 2009, would limit the use of IVR or robo-polls for all purposes, including political purposes to the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and require disclosure of the identity of the call’s sponsor, for whom the call is being made, and their contact information at the beginning of the call. A script of the message for political calls would have to be filed within 24 hours after the calls are made with the Public Service Commission. For all other IVR or robo-polls, the scripts would be filed in advance and the contracting person would have to file any changes with the original script within five days after changes are made. LB 720 does not include school districts using automated dialing to call parents or businesses contacting employees about work schedules.

CMOR was aware of this bill and worked diligently to stop it. In fact, CMOR received indications that this bill was going to die. Yet in a last attempt the bill was revived and ultimately passed under a unicameral legislature. An identical bill was last year vetoed by Gov. Dave Heineman. CMOR has and will continue to speak with Sen. Schimek, the original sponsor, who has indicated her interest in further discussing this matter in a way that would amend the law to explicitly exempt survey and opinion research. CMOR is working with Dan Bernard of Marketing Systems Group, a local Nebraska member of our grassroots State Capitol Network, to seek just such an amendment.

Congress – Rep. Zoe Lofgren introduced the “Robocall Privacy Act” (HR 5747), which would set time of day calling restrictions, require certain disclosures and limit the number of calls per day for “political robocalls.” “Political robocalls” are defined as any outbound calls that use a “recorded message” instead of a live caller and “which promote, support, attack, or oppose a candidate for Federal office.” CMOR worked with Rep. Lofgren in the summer of 2007, BEFORE the legislation was introduced, to ensure that the legislation had no negative impact on the survey and opinion research profession, since legitimate research calls do not promote, support, attack or oppose Federal candidates. HR 5747 is comparable to S. 2462, which CMOR also helped craft.

OH - Rep. Collier (R) has introduced HB 506, which would prohibit making an automated political call without disclosing at the beginning of the call: the name of the entity that requesting the call be made or, the name of the caller or name of the entity paying for a rendered call service. The bill also authorizes the attorney general to develop a “no-automated political call list.” The legislation’s definition of automated political calls explicitly includes surveys conducted via telephone (by IVR or other automated means) made by, on behalf of or in connection with a candidate, campaign committee, political party, political action committee, political contributing entity, legislative campaign fund, ballot issue or other political purpose.

CMOR rates this matter as a high priority. HB 506 is similar to political polling disclosure legislation that MRA defeated in Louisiana in March. Similar to the LA bill, the intent here appears to be to regulate political telemarketing or so-called “push polls.” As such, MRA will contact Rep. Collier to ask that he exempt legitimate research calls from the bill’s regulations.

MO - Rep. Harris (D) has introduced HB 2154, which would amend the definition of a telephone solicitation to explicitly include political polling. The new definition states that a telephone solicitation includes “conducting polling regarding a political candidate regardless of whether the data obtained from the poling is to be analyzed or discarded…”

HB 2154 is a high priority for MRA (and similar to MO bills in the January Legislative Update). MRA will be in contact with the sponsor in order to Shield the Profession from this bill that would be detrimental to political polling in Missouri.

Census Funding
Congress - Because of technological problems with the hand-held computer system that was scheduled for use in the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau may need several hundred million more dollars to prepare and deploy a paper-and-pencil system. While emergency funding measures for the decennial Census are not uncommon, such legislation may prove difficult to achieve in this election year. MRA will continue to advocate for a properly funded decennial Census through our work with the Census Project.

Congress – Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) introduced the Inform and Deter Spam (ID Spam) Act (HR 5717), which would provide monetary awards to individuals who provide information relating to violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. The Act would also make false claims in attempting to receive such awards subject to criminal penalties. HR 5717 should have a negligible impact on the research profession, since legitimate survey and opinion research email contacts are not considered commercial email under the CAN-SPAM Act.

CA - Assemblyman Huffman (D) has introduced AB 2950 which prohibits any person or entity to send, initiate or advertise in, or knowingly enable another to send, initiate, or advertise in, a commercial e-mail message that contains falsity or deception in any portion of the message or information attached and that is either sent from CA or to a CA e-mail address. The legislation applies to commercial (sales related) e-mail messages. Since legitimate survey and opinion research activities are not sales related, this bill would have minimal impact on the research profession.

Text Messaging
Congress – Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced the Stop M-Spam Abuse as a Sales Industry Habit (SMASH) Act (HR 5769), which would prevent the sending of “any electronic commercial message containing an unsolicited advertisement” to a cellular phone number listed on the Do Not Call Registry. Because legitimate survey and opinion research contacts would not be considered to be advertising, HR 5769 should have a negligible impact on the research profession.

Human Resources
Background Checks-Minors
CA - Assemblyman La Malfa (R) has amended AB 2888 which requires all persons, entities, groups, or organizations (for-profit and non-profit), that hire any person as an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer that work directly and in an unaccompanied setting in-person with minor children to go through a criminal background check and submit fingerprints. The bill also prohibits hiring any person to work in an unaccompanied setting with minor children if that person is required to register as a sex offender for a crime where the victim was a minor. This legislation applies to businesses located in the state of CA. Although MRA does not lobby on or normally track human resource issues, AB 2888 is included here as a potential red flag for qualitative researchers.