BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







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          |Hearing Date:April 8, 2002     |Bill No:SB                |
          |                               |1240                      |
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                    SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS
                             Senator Liz Figueroa, Chair

                       Bill No:        SB 1240Author:Figueroa
                         As Introduced            Fiscal:Yes

          
          SUBJECT:  Advertising.
          
          SUMMARY:  Provides that solicitations by e-mail and over the  
          Internet by a web-site are governed by the same laws that  
          govern when and how solicitations by mail may use words or  
          symbols that imply a governmental connection with the  
          solicitation.

          Existing law:

          1)Prohibits the use of government-related logos, words, or  
            symbols in mail solicitations that might create the  
            misimpression that the individual or business is connected  
            with the government.  

          2)Provides that symbols, words, etc., may be used in the mail  
            solicitation if the individual or business conspicuously  
            discloses on the solicitation that there is no connection to  
            the government.   

          This bill:

          1)Prohibits the use of government-related logos, words, or  
            symbols in solicitations by email and over the Internet by a  
            web-site that might create the misimpression that the  
            individual or business is connected with the government. 

          2)Provides that symbols, words, etc., may be used by email and  
            on a web site if the individual or business conspicuously  
            discloses on the solicitation that there is no connection to  
            the government.






                                                                    SB 1240
                                                                     Page 2



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.

          COMMENTS:

          1.Background.  According to the author, soon after the  
            enactment of SB 771 (Figueroa, Chapter 695, Statutes of  
            2001) - the California law that will by 2003 create a  
            state-run telemarketing  "Do Not Call" list -- a web site  
            appeared calling itself "The California Do Not Call  
            List."  The web site prominently displayed a picture of  
            the State Capitol and mentioned Senator Figueroa in the  
            lead paragraph.  Apparently, the non-profit organization  
            sponsoring the site charged an at-cost fee and  
            represented that it would, on behalf of a paying  
            consumer, strive to remove a consumer's name from  
            telemarketing lists.  After news reports containing  
            quotes from the Attorney General's office about the site  
            were published, the web site changed its name and its  
            design.
          
          2.Purpose.  According to the author, the purpose of this  
            measure is to treat all written solicitations involving  
            the use of government-inspired words, logos, and symbols  
            the same by requiring them to follow the same  
            truth-in-advertising law.  The author believes that no  
            public policy is advanced by permitting e-mail  
            advertisers and web-sites to confuse the public by the  
            use of government-associated words or symbols without a  
            disclosure.  The author feels that the usefulness of real  
            government web sites could be diminished if the public  
            has a difficult time distinguishing between the "real"  
            web site and others.  The author believes that current  
            law and this bill are modest - both expressly permit the  
            use of government-oriented symbols, so long as the user  
            discloses that the solicitation is not in fact a  
            government document.

          SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
          
          Support:None Received

           Opposition:None Received


          Consultant:Ed Howard