California Begins Early National No-Call Registration

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Getting a three-month head start on federal authorities, California yesterday began offering its residents the chance to register online for the national no-call list.

California attorney general Bill Lockyer and state lawmaker Liz Figueroa, who championed a now-abandoned effort to bring the state its own no-call list, urged residents to visit and pre-register for the Federal Trade Commission-sponsored list. The attorney general promised to send pre-registered numbers to the FTC when the agency officially begins signups for the national no-call list in July.

Californians can pre-register via Internet only and must give their name, phone number and ZIP code. They can pre-register up to four phone numbers at a time, and a Spanish-language Web site is also available.

The FTC plans to allow phone registration in addition to Internet registration.

California lawmakers passed legislation in 2001 that would have created a state no-call list to take effect Jan. 1. In November, lawmakers agreed to push back the effective date of the state list to April 1 in anticipation of the FTC's announcement of plans to build a national no-call registry.

The state then decided to forgo creating its own list and rely on the FTC's national list instead, a move that saved California $8 million, according to Lockyer's office. California's state government faces a $35 billion budget deficit.

Also, whereas California's state list would have cost consumers a $5 fee to register for three years, registration for the FTC's national list is free.

Though the FTC has no plans to pre-empt existing state no-call lists, the agency has promised to gain voluntary cooperation from the states in "harmonizing" the state and national lists. FTC chairman Timothy Muris has stated he has obtained informal promises of cooperation from several state authorities, though some -- notably Indiana attorney general Steve Carter -- have voiced concerns about pre-emption.

California appears to be the first state to publicly work in conjunction with the FTC on registering consumers for the national no-call registry.


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