At issue is House Bill 1687, the Illinois Prize Promotion and Sweepstakes Consumer Protection Act which sets a number of tough regulations for contests and sweepstakes in the state. For example, one provision of the bill mandates that TV and radio ads mentioning a sweepstakes would have to include a statement about purchase requirements and the name, address and phone number of the sponsor 'at a decibel level equal to the highest decibel level used in the advertisement and at a speed equal to or slower than any other statement' in the ad.
It also requires a 14-item consumer disclosure printed in at least 10-point bold type.
The legislation unanimously passed both houses of the Illinois legislature in its annual haste to wrap up its summer session and was sent July 23 to Edgar. Following heavy lobbying by the Promotion Marketing Association of America, Incentive Federation, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and others, Edgar on Aug. 30 signed an amendatory veto of the bill - set to take effect Jan. 1, 1994 - making changes for which PMAA had lobbied.
The veto is a preliminary, but not a final victory for promotion agencies and their clients. The bill now returns to the legislature, which in October will accept or override Edgar's changes. One problem is that the original bill was drafted by Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, who already has put himself in the running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination for next year's race.
Burris's office said he hadn't decided whether he will fight to override Edgar's veto.
'It was never our desire to see the bill defeated,' said PMAA executive director Chris Sutherland. 'Our goal was to help the bill do what we think it was intended to do: protect consumers. The problem is that as originally written, some of the language was too ambiguous and open to interpretation that we think was unintended. The more we read it, the more nervous we became.'
To lobby for a veto, PMAA enlisted Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn, which employs both promotions-law expert Stephen Durchslag and former Republican governor James Thompson. It was Durchslag who first called PMAA's attention to the bill, which he characterizes as 'terribly restrictive.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)