Colorado kills do-not-mail bill

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A Colorado lawmaker has decided to pull her do-not-mail bill.

Facing opposition from businesses, unions and postal workers involved in the direct mailing industry, a spokeswoman for state Rep. Sara Gagliardi, a Democrat, said March 1 that she was tabling her bill, the "Colorado Junk Mail Opt-Out List Act," HB1303.

The spokeswoman said Ms. Gagliardi may reintroduce the bill after all parties work together to try to reach a compromise.

Ms. Gagliardi introduced the bill because of environmental concerns and because she believed some advertising mail could be used to help steal people's identities or promote fraudulent schemes.

But she changed her mind after learning about how the bill could affect jobs for postal workers, small businesses and print shops.

The bill had been introduced in the House Feb. 15 and assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

T his was the second state do-not-mail bill tabled this month. On Feb. 22 The Montana Do-Not-Mail Act, HB 718, was tabled. The bill had been introduced Feb. 15 by state Rep. Franke Wilmer, a Democrat.

The bill directed the Colorado public utilities commission to solicit bids and contract with a "junk mail" opt-out list administrator to maintain a list of addresses of people who wanted to reject all unsolicited commercial mailings. It required the designated agent to maintain a Web site and toll-free telephone number for the use of postal patrons who wanted to put their address on the list.

The bill required marketers to purchase an updated list of addresses and remove those addresses from their own mailing lists. It also directed the agent to update the list periodically using information provided by postal patrons and the U.S. Postal Service.

The bill called for allowing anyone whose address is on the list and who receives adverting mail to sue the sender and collect a $500 civil penalty. It also allowed the state's attorney general to bring actions against repeat offenders seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief.

The bill exempted charitable nonprofit organizations, political organizations and businesses with which a postal patron has an established business relationship.

The direct mail community is keeping a close eye on the rash of do-not-mail bills that have been introduced to state legislators this year in hopes that the passage of the bills is blocked.

Currently, do-not-mail bills that include a do-not-mail registry similar to do-not-call legislation are pending in Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Washington. In total, 12 bills have been filed in both the houses and senates of these states.

Several other bills - in New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington - offer related measures including the creation of a do-not-mail registry of certain senior citizens and people with mental illness. Another would prohibit mailing credit card solicitations to people under the age of 21 .

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