For Better or Worse

June 27, 2018

For several months, ANA and our industry partners have been gearing up to fight a sweeping privacy ballot initiative this November in California. Late last week, we learned that the author of that proposal, real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, had reached a deal with two key members of the California State Legislature, Assemblymember Ed Chau and Senator Bob Hertzberg. If they could move a scaled-down version of the California Consumer Privacy Act through the legislature and deliver it to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown by June 28th, Mactaggart stated he would withdraw his proposal from the ballot.

Industry was not involved in those negotiations and was given very little time or opportunity for input on the new Chau/Hertzberg privacy bill. We pushed back in several areas and the sponsors agreed to some modest changes. The new bill is moving quickly through the legislature and is expected to reach the Governor by Thursday, the deadline for withdrawing the ballot proposal.

ANA has been working closely with the California Chamber and other industry groups on these issues. We remain opposed to the new Chau/Hertzberg privacy bill, which has a number of very serious defects. Our letter describing some of them is available here.

If passed, the Chau/Hertzberg bill will take effect in January 2020 and there will be a rulemaking by the Attorney General to clarify a number of ambiguous and conflicting provisions in the legislation. There would be very little opportunity to change the ballot initiative if approved by the voters in November – ballot initiatives can be amended only through a 2/3 vote of both chambers of the state legislature.  

On balance, there is a better opportunity to improve this flawed legislation than to successfully oppose the even more seriously flawed ballot proposal. That’s the tough choice the business community has now made.

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