How states are taking the lead on AI legislation

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States ramp up AI action

State legislatures are taking the lead on artificial intelligence legislation, introducing more AI-related bills this year than the previous two years combined.

States introduced a combined 191 AI-related bills this year, a 440 percent increase compared to the number introduced in 2022, according to an analysis from trade group BSA / The Software Alliance.

The trend of states taking action at a faster rate than the federal government follows a similar pattern as data privacy legislation, BSA’s vice president of government relations Craig Albright said. As the federal government remains without a national data privacy rule, states have passed various bills in recent years on the issue.

Zooming in on the AI bills:

  • While nearly 200 bills were introduced at the state level, only 29 passed at least one legislative chamber — and only 14 of those became law, according to the analysis.
  • Nine states passed AI bills, spanning both Democratic and GOP: Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
  • California, meanwhile, enacted legislation to
    conduct a survey
    of the state’s use of high-risk AI.

What did the bills do?: Most related to specific aspects of AI.

The largest chunk of bills, 43, related to deepfakes. Another 14  related to AI in employment and four related to
generative AI

What it means: Albright said the flurry of 2023 activity is a sign that states won’t be waiting for Washington, D.C., to act.

Matthew Lenz, senior director of state advocacy at BSA, said he expects momentum to continue and 2024 will also be a busy AI year for states.

What we’re watching: On the federal level, some AI regulation proposals have emerged, including a bipartisan one from Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Yet broadly, Congress is focused primarily on hearing from stakeholders.

After a closed-door discussion earlier this month between tech CEOs, civil society leaders and senators, no clear path emerged on how the chamber will proceed with regulation, according to conversations with those in the room.

More AI forums will be held going forward, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said.




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