Welcome back! Did you miss me? I can honestly say after two weeks with no school/day care/etc., I missed all of you.
Today's Login is 1,332 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The tech industry's most consequential policy fights in 2020 will play out in the states, not Washington, as Axios' Kim Hart and Margaret Harding McGill report.
The big picture: Momentum on a range of tech issues, from governing online privacy to regulating the gig economy, has stalled in D.C. as impeachment and election campaigns consume attention. State leaders and legislators are stepping in to fill the void.
"It's really interesting to see the metamorphosis of states going from being the bench players to being lead hitters. It's because Congress and the federal government can't be relied upon to protect consumers."— Gigi Sohn, distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and former FCC adviser
These policy fights have shifted to the states:
Yes, but: Antitrust is different. Competition probes of major tech companies are moving forward in parallel at both federal and state levels.
Between the lines: State-by-state policy battles will be headaches for all the companies involved. It's expensive to distribute lobbyists in state capitol buildings, deal with local politics and track varying legislative processes.
What to watch: Cities are also asserting their power on these issues and, in the process, either fighting or trying to shape state-level laws that often preempt city-level ordinances.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Speaking of state laws, as of Wednesday, Californians can find out what data certain companies have collected about them, and even ask for it to be deleted, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: The California Consumer Privacy Act covers residents of the most populous state, but it also has national repercussions. Some companies, like Microsoft, have already said they'll extend the practices required under the law to all their customers and users. And other states have tended to follow California when it introduces new rules that don't exist on the federal level.
The law applies to any company that has California-based customers and meets any one of these criteria:
How it works: The California attorney general is in charge of enforcing the law, though AG Xavier Becerra's office is expected to only have the resources to handle a limited number of cases per year.
What's next: July 1 is the deadline for the AG's office to finalize regulations laying out exactly what companies need to do to stay in compliance with the law.
T-Mobile's legal battle to consummate its merger with Sprint heads to closing arguments this month, as Margaret reports. The companies are trying to convince a federal judge the tie-up won't hurt competition, thanks in part to a side deal with satellite TV company Dish.
Why it matters: The state case, led by the New York and California state attorneys general, is the last remaining obstacle for the deal after the Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department and shareholders gave it the green light.
What happened: T-Mobile CEO John Legere, Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen and dueling economists testified during the December trial as lawyers for the 14 attorneys general argued the deal will reduce competition in the wireless market and lead to higher prices.
What's next: Each side will make closing arguments Jan. 15, with the judge ruling sometime after that.
Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
The Federal Aviation Administration wants to require the vast majority of drones to broadcast identifying and location information so authorities can spot rogue drones and generally keep tabs on the rest, Kim reports.
Why it matters: Drone makers have been waiting on the FAA to propose the Remote ID regulation to ease security concerns about potentially hostile drone operators that could, for example, wreak havoc at an airport — similar to the incident that shut down the U.K.'s Gatwick Airport last year.
Between the lines: The drone industry hopes a workable Remote ID standard will make the FAA comfortable with allowing operators to fly drones beyond their line of sight and over people — allowances necessary to enable package delivery and other commercial uses.
Details: The draft rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register Tuesday, will apply to all recreational and commercial drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds. The public can comment on the proposed rule for 60 days.
Go deeper: The drone nightmare is here
Here's one option for what to do when your cell phone rings while you're on live TV.