October 19, 2007

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Coordinator – Government Affairs

House Passes Internet Tax Moratorium

The House has approved a bill extending the ban on taxing Internet access another four years, despite some calls to make the ban permanent. The bill, H.R. 3678, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., would prohibit taxing Internet access through November 2007. H.R. 3678 modifies the moratorium originally created by the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 and has been extended twice before. Some members of Congress said they would prefer to pass a bill making the ban permanent, but supporters of the bill argue that rapidly changing technology dictates that Congress should be required to revisit the issue. A related bill, S. 1453, introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., has been referred to the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee.
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Hearings Raise Digital Television Transition Concerns

In separate House and Senate hearings on the upcoming digital television transition, members of Congress told the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that their efforts informing the public of the switch from analog to digital have been insufficient. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass., warned that the transition could be thwarted by logistical problems, including consumer access to digital converters before the February 17, 2007, transition date. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, indicated that if the federal agencies fail to improve, Congress might take control of overseeing the transition.
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California Restaurant Menu Labeling Bill Vetoed

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have required chain restaurants to provide nutritional information on their menus. Schwarzenegger said Senate Bill 120 is an "inflexible mandate applied sporadically," and noted that many restaurants already provide such information voluntarily. The bill would have required restaurants with at least 14 locations in California to display nutritional information on menus and menu boards. In his veto, the governor called on California restaurants to continue their commitment to promoting healthy dining options.
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AAF Hosts Representative Tim Matheson, D-Utah

The American Advertising Federation held a meet and greet with Rep. Tim Matheson, D-Utah, where AAF members discussed advertising issues with the member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Matheson heard and shared viewpoints on food marketing to children, direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, online privacy and intellectual property. If you are interested in attending the next AAF meet and greet, e-mail Robert Kohlmeyer at rkohlmeyer@aaf.org.
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