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October 14, 2020

14 October 2020

California Amends Privacy Laws Again: CCPA Health Information Amendment and Employee/B2B Exemption Signed into Law; Vetoes for Genetic Privacy and Social Media Parental Consent Bills

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law two bills to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”).  He also vetoed two other consumer privacy bills based on concerns about potential conflicts with existing state and federal law. Collectively, these four bills represented the most significant privacy legislation that came out of the California Legislature’s 2019-20 term, which came to a close on September 30th.

Only one of the two new CCPA amendments, AB713, includes substantive changes to the law.  It streamlines the CCPA’s health information exception and imposes new obligations on CCPA businesses and others that handle deidentified patient information.

The other CCPA amendment, AB1281, simply extends the CCPA’s employee and B2B exemptions to January 1, 2022 if voters fail to pass Proposition 24 (CPRA or CCPA 2.0) in November.  Those exemptions are currently set to expire on December 31st of this year.

Newsom also vetoed two consumer privacy bills despite expressing support for the goals of each.  SB980 would have expanded consumer rights with respect to genetic information collected by direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies.  Newsom’s veto was motivated by concerns that the law could have “unintended consequences” for the operation of the state’s communicable disease reporting requirements, including those applicable to COVID-19.  The other bill, AB1138, would have imposed additional parental consent requirements on social media network operators.  Newsom vetoed it to avoid potentially overlapping state and federal compliance obligations, citing parallels between the bill and federal regulations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).

Here we outline the significant features of each of the new CCPA amendments.

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