Consumer Protection

The Act creates a limited regulatory structure for transportation network companies (TNCs) that use digital networks to connect riders to drivers who provide transportation in their personal vehicles. TNCs are exempt from the regulation for common carriers, contract carriers, and motor carriers but are subject to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The Public Disclosure Act bans the release of police mug shots unless the person requesting them signs a sworn statement the photos will not be published on a website that charges for their removal. The Act does not cover those who have been convicted of crimes, but only those who have been acquitted.

The Act allows anyone arrested in Georgia limited ability to request removal of their mugshot from commercial websites without a fee. The Act states that in certain cases, such photos must be removed within 30 days, free of charge when a written request is made and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested or by statutory overnight mail to the registered agent or principal place of business of the web site.

Powers of Appointment are routinely included in trusts drafted throughout the United States, but there is little statutory law governing their use. Instead, estate-planning attorneys rely on a patchwork of common-law decisions. The Uniform Powers of Appointment Act codifies the law on powers of appointment, relying heavily on the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers, published in 2011 by the American Law Institute. Therefore, estate planners will already be familiar with the provisions of this uniform act.

The Act bans the possession of automated business record falsification devices. These devices, commonly known as zappers or phantom-ware, use software installed on point-of-sale terminals to evade retail sales tax. The software manipulates electronic records to hide and/or under report sales.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, a CSG Associate, has issued holiday shopping tips for consumers. Through its Dangerous Fakes campaign, the center is issuing consumer alert tips to empower holiday shoppers to make smart decisions and avoid counterfeits. The center suggests 10 tips to avoid dangerous fakes.

The state of Pennsylvania is currently debating over whether the state should get out of the alcohol selling industry and privatize the sale of alcohol. While there are 17 states in the union that have some kind of state alcohol regulatory agency, only Utah and Pennsylvania exert total control over the sales. 

Two years ago, Congress passed, and the president signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. A response to the financial meltdown in 2008, Dodd-Frank initiated one of the most significant restructurings of financial regulations since the Great Depression, and a great deal of the reforms hinged on states’ relationships and regulatory authority over financial institutions. Now, with the law in effect and the federal rule-making process well under way, some states are using their new authorities in unpredicted—and unprecedented—ways.

More and more frequently, state and territorial attorneys general are at the forefront of dealing with great issues of the day, from combating human trafficking to enforcing consumer protection and cyberspace laws. With each year, attorneys general face additional challenges and legal landscapes. In 2012, attorneys general are shining a light on modern day slavery, as well as continuing to fight financial fraud. Additionally, Election Day 2012 will bring at least five new state attorneys general and another five who are seeking re-election.

A settlement between U.S. states and the nation’s largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses is a go as every state but one—Oklahoma—has signed on to the deal. The settlement is described by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as the “largest joint federal-state civil settlement in the history of this nation."  The settlement is between 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and five major banks. The exact value of the settlement is unclear, but could range from $26 billion to upwards of $39 billion.