Politically Direct Summer 2009: State Report
July 28, 2009 — The following is an overview of state legislation affecting the marketing community:
The majority of states have adjourned for the legislative year, and several more will conclude their business by the end of July. A substantial amount of the attention of legislators this year was paid to economic issues — either closing widening budget gaps or assessing how to keep state economies afloat. Federal stimulus funds helped, but the financial outlook for state budgets for the rest of this year and the upcoming year remains bleak.
Do Not Mail
Four states – Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and New York – introduced six Do Not Mail bills this year, but none moved forward in the legislative process. (See also the report on San Francisco.) The Mail Moves America (MMA) coalition was engaged on each of the bills, and worked with the sponsors to explain the negative consequences associated with their bills and how the concept might be perceived as consumer-friendly, when, in reality, it is not.
One Do Not Mail resolution passed from its originating body, however, was in San Francisco, where the Board of Supervisors passed a non-binding resolution at the end of March. The resolution called on Congress and the California legislature to adopt a Do Not Mail registry.
The resolution would not actually create a registry, but only encouraged Congress and the California legislature to do so. Mail Moves America members turned out to testify against the measure at a committee hearing and to contact Board Supervisors to voice their opposition.
In mid-April, the mayor returned the resolution to the Board unsigned, meaning that it will not become an issue the city’s lobbyist in Sacramento will push.
For more information on MMA, please contact Ron Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facing tremendous financial pressures, seven states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee – introduced bills this year to redefine nexus in their states for the purposes of requiring remote sellers with no physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales tax.
The expanded definition imposes sales and use-tax collection requirements on remote sellers who have agreements with any resident of the state, who, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refer potential customers, by a link on a website or otherwise, to the remote seller.
The only stand-alone bill that has passed so far is in Hawaii, where it is on the governor’s desk awaiting her signature or veto. Several states have attempted to obfuscate the issue by attaching the nexus issue with their larger budget bills.
DMA is working with members on these bills and in California, and has joined with a large opposition coalition organized by the California Chamber of Commerce.
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