SB 65 Modifies the state do-not-call list and creates "paid for by" requirements for political phone calls
Sponsor: Rupp Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number: 0503S.03P Fiscal Note: 0503-03
Committee: Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment
Last Action: 3/27/2009 - H Second Read Journal Page: H757
Title: SCS SBs 65 & 43 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2009

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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SBs 65 & 43 - The act expands eligibility on the state's no-call list to include personal cell phone numbers. Current law prohibits certain types of telephone solicitations to persons on the no-call list. This act additionally prohibits these same types of solicitations via faxing, graphic imaging, or data communication (which includes text messaging).

The act also adds automated phone calls to the types of calls prohibited to individuals who sign up on the no-call list. Certain automated calls are exempt, which are calls:

• that a person has given permission to receive;

• relating to a recent or current business relationship or a current personal relationship;

• that are preceded by a live operator who obtains the receiver's consent to play the message;

• from a public safety agency or other entity notifying a person of an emergency;

• from school districts to students, parents, or employees;

• from employers to employees about work-related issues;

• from a telecommunications company or its directory publisher affiliates made solely to verify the delivery of products or services provided at no charge to the individual called; and

• for the purpose of taking polls on public policy matters, political candidates, or issues to be put before the voters, provided such poll is not a push poll.

Entities that make automated calls shall not block their number from appearing on any caller identification service. Automatic dialing announcing devices are prohibited from being used to call Missourians' personal phones unless the device will disconnect within 10 seconds of the receiver hanging up. In addition to other penalties as described, violators of these provisions may be subject to penalties associated with certain unlawful merchandising practices.

Violators of this act may be subject to a civil penalty up to $5,000 per knowing violation. Individuals who receive more than one automated call from the same entity in any twelve-month period in violation of this act may bring action to cease the calls and recover actual monetary loss or damages. A two-year statute of limitations exists on bringing suit for violations of this act. It shall not be considered a violation of the act for an automated call message to be left on the answering machine or voice mail of a person whose number is registered on the no-call list, provided that the automated message is announced by a live operator.

The act also requires that anyone making a political phone call to a Missouri resident must include a "paid for by" statement. A committee making political phone calls must be registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Businesses and other non-committee organizations making political phone calls must register with the Secretary of State and the Missouri Ethics Commission and must disclose on whose behalf the organization is making the calls. Records must be kept for 2 years after the date an organization receives payment for political solicitation services rendered.

Entities that give out the phone number of an elected official in a political radio advertisement must register with the Missouri Ethics Commission and disclose who is paying for the advertisement.

The Secretary of State shall provide a summary of the political phone call requirements to any candidate who files for an elective office.

Violations of the political-related solicitations may be referred to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The act repeals section 407.1110, which required the Attorney General to create a no-call consumer education advisory group as well as conduct certain no-call outreach and education activities.

This act is similar to SCS/SBs 840 & 857 (2008), SS/SCS/SBs 49, 65, 210, 251 (2007) and SCS/HB 801 (2007).