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NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor issued the following statement on Gov. Phil Murphy signing legislation into law on Tuesday aimed at protecting consumer data (S-332/A-1971). 

“While we support comprehensive data privacy legislation, the Legislature did a great disservice to New Jersey’s IT and innovation sectors with changes to this bill that unfortunately makes New Jersey a national outlier in how it treats data privacy.

“This was legislation that had been worked on for years, where sponsors included the concerns of the business community, only to make major changes last year and even more so during the lame duck session.

“One late change removes language previously negotiated over years, reintroducing the threat of litigation for private rights of action, as the Governor acknowledged in his signing statement.

“We have been warning about this change, which will indeed encourage the filing of class action lawsuits for violations of this very technical law.

“Other requirements were added that are inconsistent with other states, creating conflicting obligations for businesses and consumers.

“Specifically, part of this law includes broad rule-making authority of the state Attorney General. California and Colorado are the only other states that include rulemaking in their privacy laws, and regulations for each state are longer than the statute itself.

“New Jersey had a chance with this legislation to move toward interoperability between states, ensuring that businesses can apply the same rules across all states. Unfortunately, the Legislature wasted that opportunity and added more burdens to New Jersey businesses.

“We call for the Legislature to work on a cleanup bill to allow this new law to work better, protect consumers and not stand in the way of New Jersey becoming the innovation state it supposedly aims to be.”