*California Groups Launch Anti-Telemarketing Ballot Initiative

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Two Los Angeles groups that are seeking to ban unsolicited telemarketing calls and e-mails in California, yesterday began circulating petitions through the Internet.


Voter Revolt and Californians Against Telephone Solicitation are seeking to put a measure before voters that would make it illegal to place a marketing call to a residence in California unless someone at that residence has an ongoing business relationship with the caller or has agreed to receive marketing solicitations from the caller. The law also would apply to e-mails.


Recipients of telemarketing calls would have the right to sue in small claims court for $500 to $1,500 for each violation. The measure also would give Internet service providers the right to sue for recovery of the costs of transmitting spam.


The groups are trying to obtain the required 420,000 signatures through their Web sites, located at www.stopjunkcalls.com and www.voterrevolt.com. The signatures must be obtained by the end of April. The petitions are posted in a format that an be printed on a single page and circulated to obtain signatures.


"We feel that telemarketing and spam are so universally reviled that we won't have any problem getting support," said Robert Arkow, founder of CATS.

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