Texas DNC List Legislation Receives AARP Support

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The AARP yesterday announced its support of a bill submitted by a Texas state legislator that would create a do-not-call list in the nation's second-most populous state.

The bill, authored by Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, is known as the Texas Telemarketing Disclosure and Privacy Act. It would create a DNC list that would take effect Jan. 1, 2002. The list would be updated quarterly and would be available for $75.

Consumers could sign up for the list by calling a toll-free number or by completing a form that would be included in telephone directories. The bill would allow the state to charge consumers up to $3 for placement on the list. Consumers would remain on the list for three years.

Telemarketers could be fined $500 per infraction, or up to $1,500 for repeated or willful violation of the law.

AARP is a national organization that includes people older than age 50. The association -- which has 34 million members nationwide, including 2 million in Texas -- supports a DNC list for the state because, according to the organization, 78 percent of telemarketing fraud victims are older than age 55.

The bill would also ban the blocking of caller-ID by telemarketers, a provision similar to the proposed federal Know Your Caller Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but was never considered by the full Senate. The Senate version of the federal legislation concerned telemarketers since it did not exempt firms whose telephone numbers could not be displayed on caller-ID because of technological reasons.

Solomons' bill, however, bans only the active blocking of caller-ID and makes an exception for telemarketers that cannot display their numbers on caller-ID.

The Texas bill also requires fax telemarketers to include their name and address on the cover page of all documents they send. Fax telemarketers would also have to provide a toll-free or local number that consumers who receive fax solicitations can call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Federal law permits only opt-in fax telemarketing.

Later this year, New York, Connecticut and Idaho will begin enforcing DNC lists. New Jersey and Massachusetts legislators are expected to consider DNC list bills this year.

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