*House Passes Sweeps Bill

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The U.S. House yesterday approved H.R. 170, the House version of the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act. The bill now makes its way to the Senate.

Insiders expect that the Senate will approve the bill and send it right to President Clinton instead of going through a House-Senate Conference Committee and then back through the House and Senate again before it is signed into law. The House bill, sponsored by Reps. John McHugh (R-NY) and Chaka Fattah (D-PA), is designed to curb deceptive practices of sweepstakes mailings while allowing states to impose their own regulations.

H.R. 170 is less restrictive than the Senate bill, S. 335, which the Senate approved in August. Among other provisions, the House bill does not include the word "prominently" to describe where disclosures be placed on sweeps mailings; requires sweepstakes marketers to remove the names of people who do not want to receive their offers within 60 days; permits individuals to sue sweepstakes marketers for failing to remove their names from mailing lists in a relatively timely fashion; and grants the USPS' administrative judges subpoena authority during the course of a relative hearing about deceptive mailings.

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