CCAGW Urges Vermont Senators to Oppose H. 121 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Vermont Senators to Oppose H. 121

State Action

May 3, 2024

Vermont State House
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05633


Dear Senator,

On behalf of the 4,140 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Vermont, I urge you to oppose H.121, which seeks to protect the personal identifying information of consumers in Vermont through the creation of a comprehensive new set of consumer data privacy restrictions on companies conducting business with residents of the state.

While we understand the desire to protect consumer privacy, this bill will unfortunately fail to achieve that objective.  Instead, it would create instability and uncertainty for companies doing business over the internet and their customers.  The internet is not contained within a single state’s boundaries and therefore participants operating within the internet ecosystem can only be regulated by the federal government under the Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Because of inaction by Congress, several states have enacted or will be reviewing laws to protect personal information, including online privacy for children, websites, and monitoring employee e-mail communications.  These laws would affect any business operating or selling to customers regardless of the state in which either the business or customer is located, impinging on interstate commerce.  Without the adoption of a consistent national privacy protection framework that preempts state and local laws, more states will continue to enact their own separate rules, raising costs and complicating compliance for businesses and individuals.  On April 7, 2024, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers announced the release of bipartisan draft legislation, the American Privacy Rights Act, that would create a national framework for data privacy protection.  This is an encouraging step toward addressing the problems created by the patchwork of state laws.

Rather than enacting yet another state law that imposes restrictions on businesses performing interstate commerce that also collect consumer data, the Vermont Legislature should encourage Congress to pass a national data privacy framework that will promote innovation while providing certainty across state borders for the regulation of data privacy and the protection of consumer’s personal identifying information.

Again, I urge you to vote against H.121.

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW