Legislation would tighten limits on telemarketers

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2004

JUNEAU Pesky telemarketers banned from making unsolicited phone calls under a new federal law would face additional restrictions in Alaska under a proposal in the Legislature.

House Bill 15, sponsored by state Rep. Bud Fate, R-Fairbanks, would close loopholes in the federal do-not-call law by establishing a registry for Alaska telemarketing firms making calls within the state.

Federal law applies to telemarketing firms calling from one state to another, according to Fate.

The federal do-not-call registry, launched in June, allows individuals to put their names on a list that prevents companies from making unsolicited phone calls.

Fate's bill goes a step further, requiring telemarketers to identify themselves as salespeople before making their pitch.

"It sends a clear message to telemarketers that these people do not wish to be called, and that there are consequences for noncompliance," Fate said in a written statement. "It strengthens statutory languages and assures Alaskans that we agree the phone should only ring during the dinner hours when it is someone we want to talk to."

Fate's proposed law would apply to those enrolled with the federal do-not-call registry. It would require the Alaska Department of Law to enforce the law and establish fees telemarketing firms would pay to institute the program, according to Fate staff member Jim Pound.

The national do-not-call registry recently was challenged in federal court by the telemarketing industry, but last week a federal appeals court in Denver upheld the law.

Fate's bill still awaits approval from the House Finance Committee before making it to the full House for a vote.

Timothy Inklebarger is a reporter for the Juneau Empire.

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