DMA Allies With Postcom Against Do-Not-Mail Bills

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WASHINGTON -- The Direct Marketing Association has joined a coalition spearheaded by the Association for Postal Commerce (Postcom) to combat movement of the growing number of state do-not-mail bills popping up this year.


Do-not-mail bills have been introduced in Missouri, New York and Illinois. In Missouri, two bills were introduced, one targeting commercial mail to consumers and the other targeting business-to-business mail.


"There are four do-not-mail bills in [three] states. Why? Because of the huge success of the do-not-call registry," Jerry Cerasale, DMA senior vice president of government affairs, said at yesterday's quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting. "So if you think we are isolated and we are the mail guys and they are phone guys, 'Ha-ha to them,' you are absolutely, totally wrong. You are marketers, and this is one of the channels. And you better watch it because what happens in one is going to nail you in the other."


Though a hearing was held this month on the Missouri BTB bill, he said, "it doesn't look like any of these bills are moving right now, but they could."


The coalition will include postal unions, postal management groups, the U.S. Postal Service and other mailing associations, Cerasale said. The coalition also is using information from the DMA's state lobbyists to prepare a grassroots campaign.


"Since the bills are not moving, there is no reason to put a spotlight on it," he said. "But we are watching this carefully and meeting."


Cerasale said that if a state do-not-mail bill were to pass, it likely would happen in a small state.


"It's going to sneak in from a Dakota or from Utah," he said.


But there are many reasons the bills might not pass, he said, including legal questions about whether "the Constitution limits authority over the mail only to the federal government [or if] authority is given to the states specifically by the government. Every state legislator in the United States has in his or her district at least one postal worker who is going to go in and complain, [too]."


The issue is still important, especially because the DMA's Mail Preference Service -- which is designed to help consumers decrease the amount of national nonprofit or commercial mail they receive at home -- has 4 million names on it.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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