Mississippi DNC Bill Dies in Conference

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A do-not-call list bill in Mississippi that came close to passage died this week when the two branches of the Legislature could not agree on the law's final form.

The bill, authored by state Sen. Tommy Robertson, R-Moss Point, had passed both the state House and Senate in two different versions. A joint committee of both branches was unable to resolve the differences.

The House version would have exempted nonprofits and insurance, real estate and securities businesses and would automatically have been repealed on July 1, 2003. It also would have banned the use of any "automated dialing system or any system that utilizes a recorded voice message to communicate to the consumer." These provisions were absent from the Senate version.

The bill would have taken effect July 1 and would have charged fines of up to $5,000 per violation. It also would have limited telemarketing calls to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Telemarketing on Sundays would have been banned entirely.

Tyler Prochnow, state legislative counsel for the American Teleservices Association, said the ATA has little presence in Mississippi and had not done much lobbying in the state. "There just aren't that many call centers there," Prochnow said.

Calls to Robertson's office were not immediately returned.

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