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State AI Legislation Off to Quick Start in 2024

January 16, 2024 (10 min read)

It’s still only January, but you’d be forgiven if you had a little Groundhog Day-esq déjà vu after looking at the slate of artificial intelligence bills pending in state legislatures.

Early into the new year, it’s clear legislators across the country continue to wrestle with basic oversight of AI, a technology that’s evolving at seemingly warp speed (and which we have been closely following).

As of January 11, 89 bills referring to “artificial intelligence” had been pre-filed or introduced in 20 states, according to the LexisNexis® State Net® legislative tracking system. And that’s on top of more than 100 AI bills that are being carried over from last year.

About a dozen of the new measures mention AI only in passing. But the remainder generally seek to study, regulate, outlaw or okay critical aspects of the technology’s use in society.

Here’s a look at the basic categories this new round of bills falls into.

Several States Considering Basic AI Regulations

In a sign of just how much foundational work still needs to be done in the arena of AI, this latest batch of legislation once again includes several proposals to establish basic AI standards or create AI oversight agencies.

There are even a couple of bills calling for the most basic of legislative oversight: studies or reports on AI.

Bills in California, Florida and Washington seek to create new government entities to oversee AI in their states.

California’s SB 893 would create the California Artificial Intelligence Research Hub to “to serve as a centralized entity to facilitate collaboration between government agencies, academic institutions and private sector partners to advance artificial intelligence research and development.”

In Florida, SB 972 and SB 1680 would establish the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council and the Government Technology Modernization Council, respectively.

And in Washington, companion measures HB 1934 and SB 5838 would establish “an artificial intelligence task force.”

California and Washington also have pending bills aimed at creating standards for the use of AI.

In California, SB 892 would establish AI standards for state contractors, while AB 1791 would require California companies using generative AI “to implement the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity’s technical open standard and content credentials into their tools and platforms.”

Washington’s SB 5957 would establish the office of privacy and data protection within the office of the state’s chief information officer and task it with developing guidelines for the use of AI.

Additionally, California’s SB 896 would provide for the production of a report on potential beneficial uses of generative AI tools by the state; Virginia’s SJR 14 would direct the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to study advancements in AI; and a fast-moving bill in Massachusetts (SB 2539) would direct the executive office of technology services and security to prepare and update online cybersecurity training programs.

New AI Measures Already Introduced in 20 States

Just two weeks into 2024, lawmakers in at least 20 states have prefiled or introduced 89 bills or resolutions referring to “artificial intelligence,” according to LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking system. The number of measures nearly doubled in the past week. The number of measures nearly doubled in the past week.

Some States Focusing on AI Disclosures

Legislators have also moved beyond the basics and are considering proposals calling for disclosure of the use of AI in books and other publications.

A pair of bills pending in New York (SB 7922 and AB 8098), for example, would require book publishers to disclose when books were produced with AI. Another pending measure in that state (SB 7847) would require “every newspaper, magazine or other publication printed or electronically published” there to identify any parts made with AI.

The use of AI in political advertising will be a major focus of lawmakers this election year. Legislatures in at least eight states—Arizona (HB 2394), Florida (HB 919 and SB 850), Illinois (SB 1742), New Hampshire (HB 1596), New Jersey (AB 5510), New York (AB 7904 and SB 7592), South Carolina (HB 4660) and Wisconsin (SB 644)—will address the issue of election “deepfakes” this session. Most of these bills were actually introduced last year, when three states also enacted such measures.

“The increasing access to sophisticated Al-generated content threatens the integrity of elections by facilitating the dissemination of misleading or completely fabricated information that appears more realistic than ever,” Florida Sen. Nick DiCeglie (R) said in a press release about his bill, SB 850, in December.

Bills Outlaw and OK Uses of AI

Several bills have been introduced that would create civil liabilities or criminal penalties for misuse of the technology.

New Hampshire’s HB 1710 would create a civil cause of action for distributing “misleading synthetic media,” while Florida’s HB 757 would create liabilities under certain circumstances for people who misuse AI in any form of media.

Also in New Hampshire, HB 1432 would make the fraudulent use of AI a crime, while HB 1500 would ban “the unlawful distribution of misleading synthetic media.” In Indiana, HB 1047 would stipulate that an image created with AI could constitute an “intimate image” in relation to the crime of distributing such an image.

Other pending bills across the nation seek to prohibit a litany of activities involving AI:

  • In Washington, companion measures HB 1999 and SB 5962 would make it a crime to deal in AI-fabricated images of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts. HB 1951 would require users of automated decision-making tools to assess the reasonable risk that they could engage in “algorithmic discrimination.”
  • In Kentucky, SB 34 would prevent the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to depend solely on AI to identify fraud in programs.
  • In New Hampshire, HB 1688 would bar state agencies from using AI “to manipulate, discriminate, or surveil members of the public.” 
  • In New York, AB 8328 would restrict an employer from using automated employment decision-making tools to screen job candidates unless the tools have been audited in the last year and the results have been made public.

There are also a couple of pending bills that explicitly authorize the use of AI. New Hampshire’s HB 1599 would affirm residents’ right to use “autonomous artificial intelligence for defense purposes” under the Second Amendment. Virginia’s HB 249 would give the state Department of Criminal Justice Services the duty of developing a framework for law enforcement within the state to use AI.

Legislators Still Getting Hands Around AI

Beyond those general categories, there are a few outliers. Bills in Kentucky (SB 52) and Tennessee (HB 1630) are aimed at making education about AI a priority.

In Florida, SB 1682 would create an exemption within the Sunshine State’s public records law for information about investigations by the Department of Legal Affairs and law enforcement into certain AI “transparency violations.”

And in New York, AB 8179 would impose a “Robot Tax” on businesses when they displaced workers in favor of AI.

“This act would provide greater job security for all workers, blue and white collar, and will ensure that companies continue to pay their fair share as industry becomes more automated,” stated a memo from AB 8179’s sponsor, Assemblyman Pat Burke (D). The Post-Journal reported that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed a federal robot tax in a book last year, and he said that idea had come from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Collectively, these various bills show legislators are still in the early stages of getting their hands around AI and what it will mean for their constituents. You can bet we’ll continue to follow it as the technology continues to advance and filter more and more into American society.

—By SNCJ Correspondent BRIAN JOSEPH

Visit our webpage to connect with a LexisNexis® State Net® representative and learn how the State Net legislative and regulatory tracking service can help you identify, track, analyze and report on relevant legislative and regulatory developments. 


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