November 9, 2007

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

Proposed Bill Would Give FDA Authority Over Nonprescription Drug Ads

A proposed bill circulated by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., would give the Food and Drug Administration greater regulatory power over nonprescription pharmaceutical advertisements. Earlier this year, Congress voted to give the FDA increased authority over prescription drug advertising and allow it to fine marketers for false or misleading ads. The Non-Prescription Drug Modernization Act would extend that authority to include over-the-counter drug ads and would label any product misbranded if the advertising is found to be false or misleading. Currently, both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have jurisdiction over nonprescription drug advertising with the understanding that the FTC has lead authority over the ads.
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FTC Commissioner Calls for Improved Privacy Policies, Including Tracking Opt-In

Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Jon Leibowitz called for commercial Web sites to offer shorter, clearer online privacy policies and recommended they provide opportunities to "opt-in" to third-party behavior tracking, rather than requiring users to "opt-out." His remarks were made as part of a two-day FTC town hall meeting on behavioral advertising, which heard from privacy advocates as well as search engine and social networking companies. Leibowitz stressed that, in his view, the government does not need to force companies to change their marketing practices because the FTC's enforcement policies already curtail privacy offenses.
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Michigan House Passes Bill to Replace Services Tax

The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a bill that would replace the new tax on business services with a permanent surcharge on Michigan's main business tax. The state Senate also voted to repeal the services tax but did not address how to replace lost revenue. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she would not support eliminating the business tax without a source of replacement revenue. Lawmakers must resolve the differences in the bills before the service tax is scheduled to take effect on December 1.
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Florida Tax Commissioner Proposes Business Services Tax

Former Florida Senate President John McKay has renewed his efforts to remove the sales tax exemptions for business services, including advertising. Currently a Florida Taxation and Budget Reform commissioner, McKay has drafted a new section of the Florida Constitution directing the state's legislature to repeal school property taxes and replace the revenue by removing sales tax exemptions on business services, including advertising. McKay had unsuccessfully introduced similar proposals during his tenure in the Florida Senate. Food, prescription drugs, health care, residential rent, electricity and heating oil would remain exempt from the sales tax. Florida passed a tax on advertising and business services in 1987 but repealed it within six months after proving to be expensive and virtually impossible to administer.
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