ANA Kills California Email Bill Supported by Plaintiffs Attorneys

ANA members won a significant victory in the waning days of the California legislative session when AB 2546, a bill aimed at gutting federal preemption for commercial email advertisements, was killed for the year.

The bill, drafted by California plaintiff attorneys and authored by Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, Ed Chau, would have exposed companies to costly lawsuits by subverting the federal CAN-SPAM preemption protections through creating new definitions of email fraud under California law.

While ostensibly targeting spammers, the legislation was overly broad and would have exposed legitimate companies to legal liability for certain practices by exploiting the “fraud exemption” in CAN-SPAM, the federal law passed in 2003 creating a preemptive national standard for regulating commercial email messages.

ANA and the Data & Marketing Association (now a division of the ANA), opposed the bill upon its introduction and immediately created a coalition of companies and organizations to fight it. ANA won favorable amendments as the bill moved through the legislature, and never removed it opposition when other members of the coalition flipped to a neutral position on the bill.

ANA’s perseverance and the hard work of its members was rewarded on Wednesday, August 29 when AB 2546 was placed on the inactive file, effectively killing it for the year.

While ANA members can breathe a sigh of relief for the remainder of this year, it’s likely the California trial bar will try to subvert CAN-SPAM with similar legislation again next year.