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House State Affairs unanimously endorses relaxing do-not-call law for phone companies calling customers

The House State Affairs Committee has voted unanimously in favor of HB 55, to let phone companies and other telecoms call their customers to pitch products, even if those customers are on the “do-not-call” list. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said people have more options these days to not pick up their phones when such calls come in. “I think given the equities here, we should eliminate this restriction for telephone companies,” he said. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

The bill adds a new clause to Idaho’s do-not-call law saying that if a business calls an existing customer and the customer asks them not to call again, they have to comply, and there’s a $500 fine for violations.

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said, “I think the telephone solicitations, particularly that I get at my business, are a pain in the neck. I have a small law office and I get them all the time. I also think some of the political calls that we get during the election season, especially the robo calls, are a pain in the neck. … I would like to see some legislation brought to restrict more calls, particularly to business, and not legislation broadening it.” Idaho’s current do-not-call law doesn’t cover calls to businesses or charitable or political calls, just commercial solicitations.

“At the same time, you can’t treat one company different than others,” Gannon said, “and you do have this safety valve in this legislation, that if I tell them ‘don’t call me again,’ which I will do, Century Link, even though I’m a customer, I’m gonna tell you, do not call me, and I will look at that $500 penalty in there if I get called, because they are a pain in the neck. But at this point, this legislation is a minor tweak that appears to be something just to have a level playing field, with the caveat that we can say no.” He added, “I might also point out that we have competition now that we didn’t have 10 years ago. That has changed the dynamics in the telephone industry.”

The bill now moves to the full House.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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