As expected, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously approved the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act yesterday, sending the bill to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill, H.R. 3375, which was re-introduced in mid-June by Rep. Frank Pallone [D-N.J.], and Rep. Greg Walden [R-Ore.], was passed with a few small amendments, but largely remained in tact.
It will be interesting to see how the House handles having two competing anti-robocall bills. Along with the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, the House is currently weighing the TRACED Act, which passed in the Senate in late May. Both bills aim to stem the proliferation of illegal robocalls by stiffening penalties, giving regulators and law enforcement more power and authority, and deploying more technology to keep robocalls from being connected to individuals’ phones.
Among the provisions of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act are:
- Requiring the Federal Communications Commission to develop a rule that defines an automatic telephone dialing systems and calls made using an artificial or prerecorded voice
- Establishing a four-year statute of limitations for the FCC or other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute alleged offenders of the law
- Requiring carriers, within six months of the law’s enactment, to develop and deploy effective call authentication technology
- Requiring carriers to offer call-blocking services that gives consumers the opportunity to opt-out of the program, should they so choose
- Mandating the FCC to submit a report to Congress on the implementation of its reassigned numbers database to make sure the Commission is effectively protecting consumers from unwanted calls.