Indiana Senate OKs DNC List Law

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The Indiana state Senate unanimously approved a bill this week that would create a state do-not-call list, a move that could result in list registration beginning July 1.

Earlier this month, the Indiana House of Representatives passed a similar bill in a 99-0 vote. The House and Senate bills vary slightly in the types of telemarketers exempted from the DNC list, and the two houses of the legislature must work out the differences before sending the final bill to Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

The Legislature has until the end of the current session -- tentatively scheduled for the end of April, though it could be extended -- to come up with a final version of the bill.

The list, to be published quarterly, would be available to telemarketers for a fee equal to the cost to the state of producing a copy of the list. Consumers would be allowed to register for no fee. The list would be enforced by the state attorney general and would carry potential civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation.

The bill is "overwhelmingly" supported by the constituents of the state, said a spokeswoman for state Sen. Timothy Lanane, one of the bill's sponsors. The bill is in keeping with the state's tradition of protecting the privacy of the home, the spokeswoman said.

The American Teleservices Association made a last-ditch effort to head off the bill by printing a notice in its weekly online newsletter urging its members to contact their legislators and voice their opposition. The notice went out Feb. 16, just days after the House approved its version.

ATA lobbyists had been aware of the bill's existence, but earlier this year it "wasn't moving that fast," said ATA spokesman Kevin Brosnahan. "Then it was out of committee and going."

The ATA has opposed state DNC lists on the grounds that they duplicate federal laws requiring telemarketers to keep their own DNC lists and that the proliferation of state DNC lists creates an undue burden on telemarketers.

Dozens of states are considering legislation to create DNC lists. The ATA attended a hearing in Maryland last week to voice opposition to a proposed DNC list there, and previous lobbying efforts led to the Virginia Legislature delaying a decision on a proposed DNC list.

Earlier this year, legislative committees in the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate approved bills that would create a DNC list. However, though state senators passed their version of the bill, the House failed to vote on its version, which later died for lack of action. The House is now considering the Senate's approved version.

Thirteen states have DNC lists in place. One of those states, Kentucky, is considering a bill that would strengthen the state's DNC list law by removing many exemptions available to businesses that use telemarketing.

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