The U.S. Senate recently voted on the Marketplace Fairness Act, passing the measure by a margin of 69 to 27 and sending the matter to the U.S. House of Representatives. The act deals with how sales tax is assessed on online purchases in the states that levy a sales tax at all -- 45 states plus the District of Columbia. The measure squarely pits online retailers such as (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) against traditional retailers that already charge sales tax for online purchases, such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT).

In the following video, contributor Doug Ehrman discusses the new law, the existing division in the House, and how the law may affect both consumers and retailers.

Fool contributor Doug Ehrman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of and eBay. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.