Tuesday, April 10, 2007

unconstitutional special interest driven legislation 101

Wherein two Republican Utah State Legislators write a bill for 1-800-Contacts, Unspam technologies [who wrote another unconstitutional bill] and Overstock.com that regulates interstate commerce. "Utah's innocently named Trademark Protection Act is set to take effect June 30." The Act would ban keyword advertising, basically destroying Google's--and every other internet business's--business model.
[Law Professor Eric Goldman] said the bill's history shows that Utah lawmakers are "easily captured by industry interests" and eager to serve up bad Internet experiments.
The law is deeply flawed, said Corynne McSherry, an attorney for the San Francisco-based public-interest group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"Consumers also have an interest here. This isn't just harmful to Google. It's harmful to consumers who benefit from comparative advertising," she said.

In response, one of the co-sponsors showed he knows as much about the internet as US Sen. Ted "series of tubes" Stevens (R-AK):
House Majority Leader David Clark, R-Santa Clara, Utah, likened the deed to diverting a shopper who enters a particular department store to buy a dress shirt.
"You get right to the front door and somebody whisks you away to a different store," said Clark....
[Senate Majority Whip Dan] Eastman [(R-Bountiful)] and Clark said they didn't come up with the idea but believe in the cause. They said they understood they were doing the bidding of a select group of Utah companies. [...]
Representatives at both companies acknowledged they have a problem with rivals stealing their customers but insist they weren't involved in drafting the Internet trademark law.

Unspam Chief Executive Matthew Prince, who claims "We wear different hats," in an email, has a pretty cosy relationship with Senate Republicans:
Prince is identified only as an adjunct professor at Chicago's John Marshall Law School on the Utah Senate [Republican]'s blog site, where he wrote a defense of the Trademark Protection Act. The blog makes no mention of Prince's business interests.

I guess if you don't believe in conflicts of interests among legislators, you don't believe it among lobbyists either.

I wish I was surprised, but I still can be dissipointed. Shame on you Republican legislative leaders. Why do you have to be such a cheep date?

© 2006 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
The caption: "IHC lobbyist Elaina White talks to Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, during the House GOP's $100-per-person 'speed dating' event at the Hard Rock Cafe on Thursday [January 5, 2006]."


The Senate Site said...

Okay, I get it. Republicans = Evil.

Did you know the voting on this bill was unanimous? As in, there were no dissenting votes from either party - yours or mine. You might need to pick a different issue to pillory the GOP.

Oldenburg said...

The only republican I have ever said was evil was Dick Cheney...but even then I think he means well mostly.

It doesn't matter to me that the bill was unanimously approved, it matters who wrote it (GOP lobbyists), who sponsored it (GOP leadership), who put it on the calendar to vote on (GOP leadership), who defends it (same GOP leadership and GOP lobbyist), and that the legal council said that this bill was highly unlikely to be constitutional.

Yet my tax dollars have to defend Overstock.com against Google.com in a case Google is sure to win, why? Because the GOP leadership wanted it.

Republicans aren't evil, their leadership in Utah just does dumb things that I like to point out for all to see.