State lawmakers in New York are taking another crack at enacting legislation aimed at eliminating robocalls, but this time are trying a different strategy.
Along with bolstering the fines that could be assessed on companies or individuals found to be placing illegal robocalls, the proposed legislation would require carriers to provide their customers with free technology tools that block unwanted robocalls from being connected, and grant New Yorkers a private right of action to sue alleged perpetrators.
The bill is being sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, both Democrats from Manhattan.
Sen. Hoylman tried last year to enact anti-robocall legislation, but was unsuccessful.
State lawmakers are taking action because the Federal Communications Commission is not being aggressive enough, they say.
“We’re going to make the telecommunication providers do it,” said state Sen. David Carlucci, according to a published report. “We know you can, and if you don’t, we’re going to put penalties in place. This is what the FCC should be doing.”
The bill defines robocalls as any call or text message made using equipment that makes a series of calls to stored telephone numbers, including numbers stored on a list, or to telephone numbers produced using a random or sequential number generator, except for a call made using only equipment that the caller demonstrates requires “substantial” human intervention to dial or place a call after a human initiates the call or series of calls, or a call or text message sent using an artificial or pre-recorded voice.
One particularly interesting wrinkle in the proposed legislation is that individuals who initially granted consent to be contacted, such as when signing a loan agreement, for example, would be allowed to revoke their consent. That kind of revocation has been struck down by a number of courts across the country.