Thursday, February 21, 2002
Senate panel approves anti-telemarketing bill
By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
FRANKFORT Senate Republicans weighed in on the telemarketing debate Wednesday, pushing a bill through committee to create a zero call list with fewer exemptions than a House-passed version.
Under the version headed to the full Senate, Kentuckians would call a designated number to add their residential phone numbers to the list, maintained by the attorney general's office.
Telephone solicitors violating the zero call list would face civil fines and even criminal charges for repeat offenses.
Senate President David Williams said the measure would be one of the nation's toughest telemarketing laws.
Democratic Attorney General Ben Chandler concurred, and a spokesman for AARP, an influential group, also praised the bill, which cleared the Judiciary Committee.
Telemarketers will no longer be calling you at supper time, said Williams, R-Burkesville.
He said the bill would, in essence, let Kentuckians post privacy signs on their telephones to keep telephone solicitors away.
Mr. Chandler said the bill reflected a groundswell of support across Kentucky for a tough law to limit calls by solicitors.
They have heard what the people of Kentucky have said, and they have responded, Mr. Chandler said of Senate Republicans.
Mr. Chandler said the measure would bring a lot of relief to the citizens of Kentucky who are bothered by telemarketing calls.
The bill won unanimous committee approval after the GOP-led committee revamped the bill that cleared the House last month.
The action came after hearings the past two weeks at which the Senate panel heard from a federal regulator and the attorney general of Missouri, which has its own tough anti-telemarketing law.
This is a tough telemarketing bill, said Sen. Marshall Long of Shelbyville, a lead Democrat on the issue.
Rep. Buddy Buckingham, lead sponsor of the House-passed version, watched quietly as the Senate committee rewrote his measure. Afterward, Mr. Buckingham reserved judgment on whether he would vote for the Senate version when it comes back to the House. The Murray Democrat cautioned that the bill might be too restrictive for local merchants.
The committee's version would create a single zero call list. Telemarketers would be barred from calling numbers on the list.
The bill creates exemptions for existing business relationships, when a person on the list gives permission for a call and for bill collections. It also exempts business-to-business calls.
The House version carved out broader exemptions for local merchants, bill collectors, charities and some real-estate agents.
Under the Senate panel's version, the zero call list would be available to businesses on the Internet. There would be no charge to download the list, which would be updated every three months.
Mr. Chandler said his office has sufficient money in its budget to operate the zero call list without the use of fees.
Some Democrats on the Senate panel had raised concerns that the bill would put a financial burden on the attorney general's office.
Violators could face civil penalties up to $5,000 if the Senate committee version becomes law. Criminal charges would kick in after three violations in a year, resulting in a felony prosecution that could result in a one- to five-year prison sentence.
Trauma center plans in limbo
Study links teacher quality and student progress
County assured its share of U.S. security funding
Runaway cow spotted again in park
Chabot foe drops out of election
Council plans public hearing on panhandling proposal
Higher mental health levy to be on May ballot
Irish-Catholic mom recalls Belfast terror
Juror's arrest ordered after she drops out of deliberation
Luken says come on down
Man to take family back to Mexico
Prince won't be here for concert
Robberies strike bank, credit union in area
Tristate A.M. Report
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: The Tewksburys
RADEL: Kathman recovers
Butler Co. Transit to end one route, change another
Class gets peek inside Olympics
Drivin' and gabbin' still allowed in Germantown
Event exposes women to math careers
Hispanics adding to local mix
Job, pay cuts urged for Lebanon
Lebanon asked to ditch meters
Teacher resigns over porn surfing
Alton Coleman on deck?
Attorney's license could be suspended
Covington board OKs new pub
Ky. Senate OKs abortion bills
NKU can build training center
Scrap-wood fire spreads, damages pallet company
Senate panel approves anti-telemarketing bill
Water works change likely to flow easily