Dont Call Law Ready For Governor

December 9, 2002
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LANSING — Provided the governor signs the two recently adopted measures, Michigan will become the 22nd state to create a do-not-call list for telemarketers.

According to an announcement from State Sen. Ken Sikkema, R-Grand Rapids, final senate and house adoption of House Bills 4042 and 4632 would create a list to which residents can add their household telephone numbers, which telemarketers within the state then cannot call.

The Michigan Public Service Commission would administer the list, to which residents could add their numbers for a $5 fee payable annually for three years. Creation of the list would not stop calls emanating from other states nor would it not prevent Michigan telemarketers from placing calls to citizens of other states.

Backers have claimed that the measures could reduce households’ unwanted telemarketing calls by 75 percent.

The measure does not affect federal statutes that require telemarketers to maintain internal do-not-call lists of consumers who demand that their numbers no longer be used. Violation of such requests are felonies punishable by an $11,000 fine. Nothing, however, stops other telemarketers from using those same consumers’ numbers.

It’s reported that some features of the Michigan bills might be preempted by a Federal Communications Commission proposal to create a federal do-not-call list possibly as early as next year.

The Michigan measure does not apply to charities, law enforcement or political organizations. Campaign calls urging people to vote for a candidate or for or against a ballot issue would not be affected.

Neither would businesses be prohibited from calling people who are already their customers.

The target of the legislation is sales calls. The new statute, reached months after the House and Senate passed competing versions, is similar to New York’s do-not-call law.

In just a year, more than 1.5 million New Yorkers reportedly have paid $5 to be placed on a do-not-call list.

The final rules based on the Michigan do-not-call statute probably won’t be adopted until next year, but the measure does set a $5 cap on the customer fee, which would be annual for three years. Telemarketing firms would pay to support the maintenance and administration of the list.

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