House Passes Bill to Reduce Telemarketing Litigation; Over 30 Press Associations Push for More Reasonable Telemarketing Restrictions
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is intended to protect consumers against unwanted telemarketing calls, but the law hinders legitimate communications with customers and can have an unintentional impact on businesses. As a result, last week the House of Representatives passed the Fairness in Class Action Litigation of 2017 (FICALA), H.R. 985, largely along party lines by a vote of 220 to 201. FICALA includes provisions that would curb litigation abuse under the TCPA. The Alliance joined letters of support for this legislation and will be urging the Senate to take up the bill and move it swiftly through Congress. On the regulatory side, the Alliance and over 30 state press associations, including the Kentucky Press Association, submitted comments to the FCC opposing a Petition to restrict what is considered “express consent” of consumers to receive telemarketing information, including via text, under the TCPA. The stricter requirements would require written consent and storage of consumer consent, among other burdensome requirements that would be imposed on newspapers as they communicate with their subscribers. Although chances are low that this Petition will be acted upon by this Commission, it is important that the industry expressed its views on the regulatory burden imposed by the TCPA.
Advocates for Maintaining the Current Tax Treatment of Advertising Reach Out to Congress
Comprehensive tax reform is a hot topic on Capitol Hill these days. With Chairman Brady (R-TX) and Speaker Ryan (R-WI) playing defense on major revenue raising provisions of the House proposal, several organizations are using the opportunity to touch base with key tax legislators, reinforcing the need to preserve the current tax treatment of advertising and to diffuse any temptation for Congress to eliminate the deduction for revenue raising purposes. A wide range of rural business and media groups sent a letter to leadership in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee demonstrating how changes to the current treatment of advertising costs could damage rural economies and disrupt the distribution of critical local news information. Last month, Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to all members of Congress detailing how limiting or removing the ability for businesses to deduct advertising costs as a necessary business expense would undermine the overall goal of tax reform by limiting growth, simplicity and equity. The Alliance continues to meet with key offices to reinforce how the current tax treatment of advertising expenses helps fund high-quality, local journalism.