WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Minimum wage increases, data privacy, prescription drug pricing and patterns, and online lending are poised to be major areas of regulation and legislation in 2017, according to an exclusive analysis released today from FiscalNote. The insights are gained from aggregate activity during the final months of 2016 on the company’s FiscalNote Government Relations Management platform and services.
“Grassroots organizations and companies around Washington are dramatically expanding budgets to accommodate new lobbying and litigation – they’re digging in for a fight.”
“We’re seeing shifts in the topics people are researching as well as the intensity with which they’re investigating them,” said Tim Hwang, co-founder and CEO of FiscalNote. “Grassroots organizations and companies around Washington are dramatically expanding budgets to accommodate new lobbying and litigation – they’re digging in for a fight.”
More than 200 companies rely on FiscalNote’s proprietary Government Relationship Management (GRM) platform and services because they dramatically improve the way organizations engage with government. The FiscalNote GRM platform automatically tracks and analyzes data on more than 1.5 million active pieces of legislation, 800,000 federal and state regulations, more than 19,000 legislators and their staffers, more than 10 million regulatory comments, more than 6,000 watchlists, and more than 125,000 individual entities. Data is automatically collected from more than 150 sources at least four times every day.
Retail, financial services lead activity
- Minimum wage. Showing the most activity in the previous legislative session was the question of minimum wages. More than 2000 bills mentioning the issue were introduced at state and local levels with the retail industry showing the most interest in tracking developments. California and New York will gradually raise their minimum wages over the next six years – reaching $15 an hour by 2022. A companion issue here – redefining overtime eligibility – also saw significant increased activity at year’s end as the Obama Administration appealed a Federal judge’s preliminary injunction blocking an expanded overtime provision. Twenty-one states and several industry groups sued to block the rule.
- Future of plastic and foam. Also high on the retail sector’s watch list: the future of plastic and polystyrene. More than 50 bills were introduced in the session reducing the use of carryout plastic bags and foam products. This trend has been building momentum steadily: California became the first state legislature to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retails stores in 2014 – and included a 10-cent minimum for recycled paper. Washington DC enacted the first ban in 2009, with counties in Hawaii enacting a de facto statewide ban between 2011 and 2015.
- Online lending. Financial technology (also called “fintech”) is seeing a dramatic increase in attention as non-banks seek to lend to consumers and small businesses. Banks and non-banks alike are being pushed to offer more transparency, such as displaying loan pricing for controversial “payday” loans, while the growth of industry associations in the space (such as the Innovative Lending Platform Association and the Online Lend Alliance) has increased collaborative pushback on the growth in regulations. At least 15 states are now targeting payday lending with legislation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule collected more than 125,000 comments to date.
Tech, pharma poised for more scrutiny
Data privacy and breaches. Meanwhile, more than 500 bills were
introduced related to data privacy, data breaches and the security of
digital information across the country in the last session – a
significant increase. One fifth of the bills were enacted, with
indications pointing to an uptick in legislation for 2017. The
Cybersecurity Act of 2015 promotes and encourages the private sector
and U.S. government to rapidly and responsibly exchange cyber threat
Not all upticks in activity will result in nationwide legislative trends for 2017 however. In other privacy-driven activity, more than 115 bills related to unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly called drones – were introduced in the last legislative session but only 11 passed. Most died in the legislative committee process prior to reaching the floor, while 19 failed outright. With the relaxation of Federal regulations, this activity is expected to recede to the state and local levels in 2017. Several states have already created criminal causes of action related to trespass, voyeurism and harassment – especially over private property or critical service facilities.
Drug prices and prescription patterns. Separately, drug prices
and prescription drug monitoring programs earned significant activity
across the FiscalNote GRM platform. More than 100 bills were
introduced across more than 30 states related to drug pricing – with
just under one-quarter being enacted. VT S 216 – the first bill to
make companies disclose their justification for drug price increases –
was the most prominent bill in the last legislative session.
Similarly, states nationwide are moving to keep closer tabs on prescribing habits and prescriptions dispensed in the hopes of reducing prescription drug abuse. More than 85 bills were introduced in more than a third of the country last session.
Real estate upheaval will continue
Short-term rentals. Short-term rentals and other so-called “sharing economy” issues are beginning to dominate local landscapes. Eighteen states and Washington DC saw short-term rental legislation emerge in the last session, in addition to significant regulatory activity at the local level. While New York moved to virtually ban short-term rentals, other cities (from San Diego to Portland Maine) exploring regulation.
FiscalNote has reinvented influence – dramatically improving the way organizations build and manage their relationships with all levels of government, and empowering them to have maximum impact on legislation and regulation. Using proprietary analytics and breakthrough machine-learning techniques, the company’s government relationship management platform (FiscalNote GRM) is now the most effective tool for influencing Federal, state and local governments. The platform delivers contextual insights via elegant workflow and outreach tools that support an enterprise-based approach to modern government affairs – and the entire system learns over time. The platform automatically tracks and analyzes data on more than 1.5 million active pieces of legislation, 800,000 Federal and state regulations, more than 19,000 legislators and their staffers, more than 10 million regulatory comments, more than 6,000 watchlists, and more than 125,000 individual entities. Data is automatically collected from more than 150 sources at least four times every day.
The company has raised more than $30 million from prominent early-stage investors including Renren, First Round Capital, Green Visor Capital, NEA, Visionnaire Ventures, Steve Case, Mark Cuban and Jerry Yang/AME Cloud Ventures. More than 200 organizations use the company’s proprietary tools and services. The growing number of enterprise companies depending on FiscalNote – from startups through global multinationals – include Aetna, Akin Gump, Amazon, AstraZeneca, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BristolMyers Squibb, DeVry Education Group, Dish Network, Expedia, Fidelity, Freddie Mac, HealthSouth, Illinois Tool Works, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Microsoft, Pew Research, SallieMae, Salesforce, Schlumberger, Southwest Airlines, Staples, Tenet, Thomson Reuters, Walgreens and Whataburger. Non-profits and advocacy groups relying on FiscalNote include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Code.org, Consumer Technology Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Education Association, and the University of Virginia’s Law School.
FiscalNote is a 2016 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and co-founder Tim Hwang is a WEF New Champion.