What you need to know
- A new report has offered insight into why the Arizona App Store bill was pulled from a vote.
- The state's Commerce Chair said that there was simply not enough support for the bill.
- The bill's sponsor says they don't think anything illegal or nefarious occurred, however, there are conflicting reports.
A new report on the Arizona App Store bill which was inexplicably pulled from a vote last minute only had one "definite" yes vote, the state's Commerce Committee chair has said.
A new report from The Verge says that following the bill's withdrawal, it is unlikely to resurface again this year:
Now, it turns out that the Senate decided to pull the bill at the last minute, and its sponsor tells The Verge that its fate is effectively sealed for the rest of the year. Arizona will wrap up its congressional session next month with no plans to hear HB2005 again.
The bill would have forced Apple and Google to allow alternative payment systems on Android and iOS, so why was it pulled? The bill's sponsor, State Rep. Regina Cobb said Apple and Google "hired almost every lobbyist in town" to sway voters, and that whilst the bill's backers thought they had the votes before it went to the committee, it soon became apparent that wasn't the case. From the American Prospect:
"I polled the committee members and there just wasn't enough support for it," Mesnard told the Prospect in an interview. "A number of members were conflicted on it, others were just opposed. There was some support for it, but it definitely was coming up short."
Mesnard says there was only one definite "yes" vote for the bill on Wednesday night. Most others claimed to be undecided, Mesnard adds, including himself.
There were accusations of a "backroom deal" of sorts, but the bill's sponsor says this isn't the case:
Cobb says she doesn't think anything illegal or nefarious occurred, just lobbying as usual — unlike outspoken Apple critic and Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson, who publicly accused powerful corporations of making illicit deals, colluding with the chamber's Democrats (some of whom opposed the bill) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
The Verge said it had "heard a similar allegation from multiple sources with knowledge of the situation" but that no one except Hansson would go on record to explain.
Hansson quipped about lobbying being "corruption" in a second tweet:
As The Verge notes, the bill, like other state-level bills across the U.S., was introduced through lobbying by the Coalition for App Fairness, which counts Epic Games and Spotify amongst its members.
According to the report, the bill will likely have to be re-introduced in Arizona next year if it is to have a chance of passing. A similar bill in North Dakota was voted down in February.