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Broadcasters Have Successful NY Legislative Session but the Assembly May Come Back

We have been very busy this past month as the New York legislative session came to a close. We have been involved in a number of bills that could have had a negative impact on local stations. Here are just a few of the bills we were lobbying for:

Non-Compete Prohibition (S.3100-A / A.1278-B): This bill passed the Senate but not the Assembly. It prohibits non-compete agreements and certain restrictive covenants and authorizes covered individuals to bring a civil action against employers that violate such prohibitions. Broadcasters have been subject to a ban on non-compete clauses under NY Labor Law Section 202K since 2008. While we did not support this legislation, we believe broadcasters should be treated equally under the law. We included language in the legislation to accomplish this task. However, the legislation did not pass, and the issue is moot.

Anti-Trust (S.6748): Once again, this bill passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. This bill authorizes a class action lawsuit in the state anti-trust laws and prohibits non-compete clauses in certain situations. We strongly opposed this bill as it would undermine many existing broadcast contracts, such as exclusive licensing. It could also upend existing ownership combinations.

Data Privacy (S.365-B / A.7423-A): Multiple data privacy bills were introduced during the Legislative Session. Senate bill S.365-B passed the Senate, whereas a similar Assembly bill (A.7423) did not pass the Assembly. No data privacy bill was passed by both houses. We had significant concerns about this legislation as it would negatively impact a broadcaster’s ability to conduct digital advertising and business. This legislation will be back next year.

Food Advertising: As we noted last week, the legislation (S213B & A.4424B) would enact very restrictive rules on food advertising. We strongly opposed this legislation. The legislation was overly broad and could result in endless litigation involving legitimate advertisements for products in New York.

While the legislation passed the Senate, we were able to block it in the Assembly. The Association of National Advertisers and the Association of Advertising Agencies joined our efforts to block this bill. However, this bill is likely to come back next session.

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