If you have a web business, it is likely you have to comply with all of the laws of the states into which you are marketing or have clients. The power of states to influence the conduct of others around the country has never been stronger. And with that apparent absolute power comes, unfortunately, bad laws. Utah seems to lead the way in passing new laws that are just bad ideas (like the spam/commercial email registry and the recent PPC debacle). Lately I have been noticing a more active enforcement by Utah of its own consumer protection statutes and policies against our clients, insisting that the laws of Utah must be followed no matter where a website or customer resides. Come on. That's just silly. Utah needs to stop acting like the Internet watchdog for everyone else in the country. Although the various federal departments charged with enforcing our laws are overwhelmed, I think it is wrong for Utah to continue to aggressively pursue its own interests while attempting to supplant the authority of other state and federal governments to establish the proper rules of online commerce.
Which leads me to the main thought behind this posting. When I was a lobbyist at the Virginia General Assembly there was a representative of a Northern Virginia region who kept filing bill after bill, year after year, attempting to deal with access by children to adult content. As well intentioned as he might have been, he did not have an understanding of the technology or business of the web to even get close to drafting a decent bill that could withstand constitutional challenge. In short order, as others began filing Internet bills and total confusion ensued, a new committee of the House of Delegates was formed to deal solely with online and technology issues. Looking back over the past ten years, I have to say that Virginia has passed very few bad bills (other than a version of UCITA) dealing with the regulation of the Internet, and those that have passed often became the model for other states to follow.
That's why Utah really riles me. It can be done right, if you want to. You either lead like Virginia (the founding state of the Internet), follow like many other states, or get out of the way. Utah...you need to get out of the way.