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Legislative Round-Up | February 2021

We are now just over one month into the new Biden Administration and Democratic control of the Senate. In terms of the big picture issues, it appears the President’s $1.9 trillion covid relief/stimulus package is moving forward and may well be enacted by Congress and arrive on the President’s desk for signature by mid-March.  

From The Nonprofit Alliance perspective, we will be pushing hard on our core issues in the coming months.

Included in this Round-Up


Town Hall: USPS & How to Defend Against Unreasonable Rate Increases

Thursday, March 4, 4:00pm EST

Mailers face a daunting mid-2021 6% to 8.5% increase in postal rates (depending on the class of mail). The nonprofit sector needs to stand up and be counted on this important issue. Join us!

Led by industry experts:

Mark Micali, Vice President of Government Affairs, The Nonprofit Alliance

Stephen Kearney, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers

  • Hear an overview of the rate increase, why it’s happening now, and how it will impact your mail plans and budget within the next few months
  • Learn what you can do to weigh in with Congress to help fight these enormous potential postal rate increases.

Sign Up to Attend the Town Hall


USPS Postal Rates

Given the PRC’s new regulation, mailers now face a new, much more challenging environment of substantially larger rate increases, year in and year out.

Contrast the current situation to what has been the environment since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which largely limited postal rate increases to approximately the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under the 2006 law, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) was given the task of conducting a ten-year review of the statute’s effectiveness. The PRC concluded that the USPS’s poor financial situation was due to the CPI cap. It therefore proposed a new regulation, formally adopted in December 2020, which gave new ratemaking authority to the Postal Service NOT limited to the CPI cap.

What this means for nonprofits: Significant Concern

See above to join a Town Hall to cover this issue in depth and learn how you can have an impact.

In terms of the long-term game plan, The Nonprofit Alliance is working closely with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the co-author of the 2006 law, along with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who chairs the Senate committee with postal jurisdiction, regarding the need for structural reform legislation for the Postal Service. Specifically, the centerpiece of a new postal reform bill should include moving the enormous postal retiree healthcare cost from the USPS and moving it to Medicare, where most retiree healthcare costs reside.


Sign the Amicus Brief for Donor Privacy:

Deadline Wed, Feb 24 at noon ET

We are still in need of as many nonprofit organizations as possible to sign the amicus brief to protect donor privacy. Organizations already signed on include Southern Poverty Law Center, Association of Fundraising Professionals, University of Illinois, PETA Foundation, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Charity Navigator, Christian Appalachian Project, Food for the Poor, Pacific Crest Trail Association, and International Rescue Committee, just to name a few.

To learn more about the issue and how your nonprofit organization can help, click here.


National Privacy Legislation

At least for the first few months of 2021, we don’t foresee much data privacy movement from Capitol Hill.

Nonetheless, TNPA has been working with several of the key players who were active last year on the privacy front. Among them are Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA). Both Senator Moran and Congresswoman DelBene introduced comprehensive privacy bills in the last Congress and are expected to do so again in the current Congress. 

What this means for nonprofits: Stay tuned

The need for national privacy legislation has never been greater, particularly given that a number of states are considering their own state privacy bills (see below). The Nonprofit Alliance will continue to press for one clear national standard—preempting any current or future state privacy laws—so as to allow for one national framework for the responsible use of data.


Privacy Legislation: Activity in the States

There has been even more state level activity since last month when we reported on new data privacy bills in 5 states (MN, ND, NY, OR, and WA). 

What this means for nonprofits: High Concern. 

A single, balanced, national data privacy regulatory framework that preempts state-by-state legislation is a must! Compliance with a patchwork of state laws, which will continue to be a changing landscape for some time to come, is not sustainable—or at least not without substantial cost. 

Here are the new key bills to follow:

Florida HB 969, sponsored by Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, was prefiled on February 15. The legislature is scheduled to convene on March 2. The bill would require businesses that collect personal information about a consumer to maintain an online privacy policy that is updated at least every 12 months. A consumer would have the right to request that the business disclose the categories and specific pieces of personal information that the business has collected about the consumer. Businesses would be required to notify consumers at or before the point of collection of the categories of personal information to be collect, as well as the purposes for which the personal information will be used. Businesses would be required to follow a retention schedule which would prohibit the use and retention of the information after the satisfaction of the initial purpose or one year after the consumer has last interacted with the business whichever occurs first. The bill would provide for a private right of action but only for data breaches.

Oklahoma HB 1602, sponsored by Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, passed the House Technology Committee on February 10. The bill would specify that a consumer is entitled at any time to opt out of the sale of the consumer’s personal information. The bill would also require specified notices to consumers to be placed on the business’ internet home page including that information could be sold and the pro rata value of the consumer’s personal information. A third party, which has been sold the personal information, would not have the right to sell the information further unless the customer receives explicit notice of the potential sale and has opted in. The bill would provide a private right of action for consumers.

Washington SB 5062 passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee with a substitute on February 15. The bill, to be known as the Washington Privacy Act, would grant a consumer the right to correct, delete, and opt-out of data usage. The bill would require controllers to provide consumers with a secure and reliable way to submit a request to exercise a consumer’s right. It would apply to entities that conduct business in Washington that controls or processes the data of 100,000 consumers or more or derives over 25 percent of its gross revenue from the sale of personal data and processes the data of 25,000 consumers or more. The bill would not apply to nonprofit corporations until July 31, 2026. The bill does not contain a private right of action except for specific provisions relating to contact tracing. 

Other bills with similar provisions to the Washington Privacy Act include:

  • Connecticut SB 893, sponsored by the Joint General Law Committee, which was referred to that committee on February 17. The bill has been scheduled for a hearing in that committee on February 25 at an undisclosed time.
  • Utah SB 200, sponsored by Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, which was referred to the Senate Rules Committee on February 16.
  • Virginia SB 1392, passed the Senate on February 4 and was heard in the House Communications, Technology and Innovation Committee on February 8. Another similar bill HB 2307, passed the House on January 29 and is now pending in the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee. Both bills were continued into the legislature’s special session which convened on February 10.

There is another Washington bill that looks quite different from the one above. Washington HB 1433, sponsored by Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, which was introduced on January 29 is to to be known as the People’s Privacy Act. Covered entities would be required to make both a long form and short form privacy policy, which could be no more than 500 words long, persistently and conspicuously available. A covered entity would be required to ensure that individuals interact with the short form privacy policy upon their first visit to the covered entity’s website or mobile application. A covered entity would be required to obtain freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous opt-in consent before processing an individual’s personal information or making changes in the processing of their personal information. The option to withhold consent would be required to be as prominently displayed as the option to consent and the covered entity must provide a mechanism for an individual to withdraw consent. Interaction with the entities terms of service or privacy policy would not constitute opt-in consent. 

A covered entity would be required to respond to verified requests from individuals no later than 30 days after they are received but could request additional time under certain circumstances. A covered entity would be prohibited from disclosing captured personal data to third parties unless the third party is contractually bound to meet the same privacy and security obligations as the covered entity. A covered entity would be prohibited from processing information it has obtained from third parties unless it has obtained and individual’s opt-in consent. The bill would provide a private right of action with liquidated damages of $10,000 per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater. The bill would also allow the attorney general, city attorney or county prosecutor to initiate an action with court penalties that could include injunctive relief or fines of $25,000 or four percent of annual revenue, whichever is greater.


Universal Charitable Deduction

As has been cited in previous Legislative Round-ups, the Universal Charitable Deduction was expanded from a flat $300 for 2020 and raised to $600 for married couples filing jointly and $300 for individuals for 2021.  

As the 2021 session of Congress begins, The Nonprofit Alliance has been in close contact with three of our most important “champions” on this issue: Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Tim Scott (R-SC). All three Senators are fully engaged on this issue and are planning on a re-introduction of their bill from the last Congress. While their legislation is expected to again call for rather high “aspirational” caps on the size of the deduction, it will continue to be an important measure drawing attention to this very significant issue. Also, we are confident that when the bill is reintroduced, it will again draw a large co-sponsorship among Senators. In the last Congress, 10 Senators signed on to the bill. 

What this means for nonprofits: Hopeful… 

We believe an achievable expansion of this deduction would be to raise the cap to $1,200 for married couples and $600 for single filers. These higher caps were proposed in the Republican Covid relief package of last September, and while this measure did not proceed to be considered on the Senate Floor, it had broad bipartisan support. 

Bottom Line: Through The Nonprofit Alliance’s sustained effort on this issue, we believe that the cap on this important deduction—open to the 88% of taxpayers who do NOT itemize—has a very good chance of being increased in the current Congress.


Expanding the IRA Charitable Rollover

As has been reported, the House is positioned in the first half of the year to raise the current limit from $100,000 to $130,000 on the amount an individual can contribute annually to an IRA Charitable Rollover, starting at age 70 1/2.  

The immediate challenge is to build momentum in the Senate on this issue. To that end, last week The Nonprofit Alliance was a key advocate in a Day of Virtual Meetings on Expansion of the IRA Charitable Rollover. Specifically, TNPA participated in meetings with four Senate offices, the offices of Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). 

Additionally, Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) continue to be leaders on this issue in the Senate. (See the featured article on Senator Cramer below.) These two Senators have re-introduced their legislation from last Congress, which not only increases the cap on IRA Charitable Rollovers, but also lowers the age of eligibility from 70 1/2 to 65 for establishing an IRA Charitable Rollover. So far, four other Senators have joined them on their bill: Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Gary Peters (D-MI). 

What this means for nonprofits: Hopeful… 

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, The Nonprofit Alliance strongly supports this legislation, which would be an important measure to increase contributions to the sector.

Mark Micali

Mark Micali is Vice President, Government Affairs for The Nonprofit Alliance and has spent his career on Capitol Hill.  You can reach him at mmicali@tnpa.org.

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