Senator Pryor introduces DNC bill

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) has introduced legislation to keep the national Do-Not-Call Registry free and effective for consumers.

Sen. Pryor said the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to fund the DNC program through telemarketer fees expires at the end of 2007. His legislation, the Do-Not-Call Reauthorization Act, which was introduced March 6, will reauthorize the FTC’s ability to collect fees from telemarketers to cover the operational costs of the program indefinitely.

“As attorney general, I heard sighs of relief from a lot of Arkansans after we established a state do-not-call list. I brought this enthusiasm to the Senate, where we were able to fund this registry on a national level,” Mr. Pryor said, in a statement. “Today, over 142 million consumers have made it clear they want to eat dinner without interruption. I’m going to fight to keep it that way.”

Mr. Pryor said the Do-Not-Call Registry is funded through fees charged to telemarketers who must pay to access the registry. They are required to search the registry every month and drop from their call lists the phone numbers of consumers who have registered. In 2005, the annual fee for each area code was $56 (with the first five area codes provided at no cost); the maximum fee for accessing the entire registry was $15,400.

The senator added that compliance with the registry has been high but that the FTC has brought enforcement action against 52 individuals and 73 corporate defendants. Violating the Do-Not-Call Registry subjects telemarketers to civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each violation.

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