Less than three months after introducing a bill that would legalize automated robocalls to cell phone numbers, the Nebraska Congressman behind the legislation has listened to reason and pulled the plug on it.
Rep. Lee Terry’s robocalls bill is dead.
“We’re driving a stake through its heart,” said Congressman Lee Terry, who introduced the bill in September, supposedly with the goal of making it easier for information such as flight delays and school closings to be disseminated. “Dead. Done. Buried.”
The bill would have prohibited telemarketers from blowing up your mobile, but that didn’t suffice to many people who were concerned about these first calls being just the thin edge of the wedge that would eventually fling open the door to any robocalls.
In addition to it being a privacy concern and a total nuisance, answering unwanted robocalls would have taken away precious minutes from those customers without unlimited voice plans.
Last week, 48 of the 50 Attorneys General penned an open letter to Congress asking them to let this bill die an early death.
Rep. Terry said he did his best to make the bill palatable, working with consumer advocates and other legislators to find a happy place where everyone wins, but no such Eden was ever located.
“There was just no language where they would be comfortable and I could be assured that people wouldn’t receive unwanted calls,” Terry said.
In their letter explaining the demise of the bill, Terry and his co-authors stated, “[W]e have learned is that there is no hope for this legislation.”
Here is the full text of the letter sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton:
Dear Chairman Upton:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and Chairman Walden, for allowing the hearing to occur on the merits of HR 3035. The hearing really helped to bring to our attention the issue of out of date telecommunications policy and how we need to begin to modernize current law.
However, what we have learned is there is no hope for this legislation. We have heard from our constituents. They are concerned about what they believe will happen should this legislation become law. We have convened meetings with numerous consumer groups, as well as other organizations who have an interest in the legislation, but we have been unable to reach any kind of consensus on language that bans unwanted cell phone calls, while allowing calls that are consented to.
In an attempt to thread the needle and address the issues that have been brought before us, it is clear that this bill cannot be improved in a manner that will address the concerns of those involved. Therefore, we ask that HR 3035 not be advanced by the committee.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Edolphus “Ed” Towns
Uncle! Terry kills robocalls bill [Omaha.com]
Thanks to PD for the tip!