Fax Bill Passes Senate Committee

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A proposal to remove a written-permission opt-in requirement from fax solicitation rules took another step toward passage last week as it received approval from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The committee passed the bill, S. 2603, without amendment July 22. Its companion in the House of Representatives, H.R. 4600, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, received full House approval earlier last week.

On Jan. 1, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to implement a new rule requiring faxers to receive written permission before issuing commercial solicitations by fax. The bill would remove that requirement, which business and nonprofit fax users complain would be unduly burdensome. Current law, which prohibits commercial fax solicitations except to those with whom the sender has an existing business relationship, would be maintained.

The next step in the bill's journey is to the full Senate for a vote. However, that won't occur for at least another month. Congress closed shop Friday for its summer break and the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Congress returns Sept. 7.

The congressional session is set to end Oct. 1. Lengthy extensions to the session are unlikely given the upcoming national elections in November.

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