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No-Call Registry Energizes Campaign for Do-Not-Mail List

The Center for a New American Dream's annual campaign urging Congress to create a do-not-mail registry is gaining momentum as a result of the newly launched national no-call registry.

“We are definitely getting more responses this year because of the do-not-call registry,” said Eric Brown, a spokesman for the Takoma Park, MD, nonprofit organization.

The campaign, first conducted in July 2000, is called “Declare Your Independence From Junk Mail.” It helps educate consumers on how to get off mailing lists as well as provide sample letters to e-mail local lawmakers.

The center does not use any direct mail to promote the campaign, and instead asks visitors to the site to send instant-notification forms to friends about it. Visitors also are urged to write letters to the editor of their local newspapers.

Since 2000, more than 50,000 users have filled out the site's online form to request to opt out of unwanted mail, and 10,000 people have sent e-messages to lawmakers, Brown said.

“Since the campaign was launched this year right before July 4, the messages that people are sending [to their lawmakers] out of our junk mail Web site have gone up significantly,” he said.

The center said it would be easy to adapt the rules of the telemarketer registry to apply to mail. Like the phone registry, a no-mail list could:

· Be funded by the ad industry and therefore not place a financial burden on taxpayers.

· Not apply to charities and political groups, though they would have to honor requests not to receive further mail.

· Let businesses mail to customers for 18 months after making a sale, though they also would have to honor requests to stop.

· Center officials said they will run their campaign yearly until such a registry is commissioned.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a House committee is considering a bill that would direct the state's office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations to establish a do-not-send list for the state's residents.

A hearing for the bill, H. 3481, was canceled earlier this month and has not been rescheduled. Once the hearing takes place, a committee could give the bill a favorable report or send it to a study or another committee. If given a favorable report, the bill would proceed through the legislative process where the House and state Senate would vote on it.

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