The Judiciary Committee of the Maine State Legislature held a hearing today to discuss the future of Public Laws 2009, Chapter 230, the Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors. Enacted earlier this year, this law intended to target deceptive online marketing by prescription drug companies to minors under the age of 18.
The law as drafted, however, was substantially overbroad. It prohibits the collection of personal and health-related information from minors without verifiable parental consent, and prohibits the transfer, online or offline, of any information about Maine minors, even with parental consent. Six weeks ago, CDT was actively preparing to pursue a constitutional challenge against the Act and consulting closely with the Maine Civil Liberties Union to explore potential collaboration. However, several groups, including the Maine Independent Colleges Association and the Maine Press Association, then challenged the law in federal court on constitutional grounds, and we temporarily set aside our efforts to watch the outcome of that case. Following the pledge of Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills not to enforce the problematic law, the court dismissed the case, and the legislature must now decide whether to repeal or amend the Act.
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