The latest happenings at the Chamber and the broader business community.

Manhattan Chamber Joins 36 Business Organizations Asking State Officials To Avoid Missteps Of A California-Style Privacy Law

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Today, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce joined state and regional business organizations across the country in sending an open letter to governors and state lawmakers urging them to carefully consider privacy laws that will protect consumer privacy and support businesses. The group asked state officials to avoid modeling privacy laws after the overreaching and misguided legislation that California passed last year. 

The 36 organizations represent thousands of small and large businesses, including mom-and-pop shops, brick-and-mortar retailers, restaurants, hotels and various other providers of goods and services. They represent businesses from the East to West Coasts, in urban, suburban and rural areas. These statewide and local organizations recognize that California’s regulations will actually hurt national, regional and local economies and jeopardize jobs, without even adequately safeguarding consumer data.

See below for the full letter and list of signees:

An Open Letter to Governors, State Lawmakers, Attorneys General and Economic Development Leaders:

Privacy and consumer trust are critical to and a bedrock of our civil society and economy. On that, we all agree. As leaders keenly interested in continuing our states’ economic growth, we encourage careful thought and consideration to these issues but resist a ‘quick fix’ that both fails consumers and harms businesses of all types and sizes.

California’s recent adoption of a new privacy law is an unreasonable and misguided attempt to achieve the laudable goal of safeguarding consumers’ private data. The new law will cause unnecessary economic loss and threaten jobs without enhancing data privacy and security.

In June of last year, California lawmakers rushed through overreaching legislation known as the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA. It is widely agreed that the new law is flawed and needs significant changes in order to truly safeguard consumer privacy and maintain the kind of innovative products and services customers rely upon and demand. In fact, California legislators were forced to return to the capitol to begin revising the new statute in August and are expected to consider even more changes in 2019.

CCPA is expected to adversely impact nearly every business in California as well as tens of thousands of companies that do business in the state - leading to widespread, negative economic repercussions, including:

* Forcing websites to collect or associate more information about consumers than they otherwise might in order to meet several of the law’s requirements.

* Damaging the functionality and convenience of products and services that American consumers have come to expect including discounts and loyalty programs.

* Creating prohibitively high compliance costs for small and medium-sized businesses.

* Increasing legal liability and penalties on businesses for even technical noncompliance with new, ambiguous, and sometimes contradictory requirements.

* Chilling effects that discourage economic growth, expansion, and job creation for companies based in other states who have California customers.

* Halting or stunting the growth of U.S. competitiveness in innovation, which includes the workforce pipeline.

Experts estimate that any company conducting business in California with an average of only 137 credit card sales per day will be adversely impacted by this law. That means thousands of gas stations, coffee shops, restaurants and retail shops will be forced to take on the high costs of compliance and likely pass down those costs in the form of higher prices for their consumers.

As more is understood about the law and additional changes are sought, it is clear that CCPA should not be an example for other states or a representation of the U.S. approach to privacy as a whole. Instead, Congress should adopt a federal privacy framework that preempts state law on matters concerning data privacy in order to provide certainty and consistency to consumers and businesses alike. Consumers and businesses benefit when there is certainty and

consistency with regard to regulations and enforcement of privacy protections. They lose when they have to navigate a confusing and inconsistent patchwork of state laws.

We hope state leaders will carefully examine more thoughtful, reasonable, and fair solutions to protect consumer privacy while encouraging innovation and economic growth. Thank you for your time and careful attention to this important matter.



Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Austin Chamber of Commerce

Berkeley Chamber of Commerce

Boulder Chamber of Commerce

Business Council of Alabama

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Colorado Chamber of Commerce

Detroit Regional Chamber Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Grain and Feed Association of Illinois

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Technology Association

Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Kansas Chamber

Kentucky Chamber

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce

New England Council

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Ohio Chamber of Commerce

The State Chamber of Oklahoma

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Pryor Chamber of Commerce

Rogers State University

Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

Technology Association of Iowa

Tulsa Regional Chamber

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce