The Senate on Saturday unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that would require the Federal Communications Commission to establish a rule under which it would maintain a list of phone numbers that are not eligible to be blocked by voice service providers while also requiring the FCC to develop a report that describes the effectiveness of call-blocking tools being used in the marketplace today.
S. 2204, The Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act of 2019 was sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo [R-Idaho], the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn.]. It was originally introduced in July, 2019.
Under the bill, the FCC would be tasked with developing a one-year pilot program that would create a whitelist of numbers that are never to be blocked, such as those coming from public safety facilities, government agencies, or schools. The FCC would be allowed to create other appropriate types of emergency calls that would be prohibited from being blocked.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration, but the House must move fast if it is going to take up the bill. The current session of Congress is currently scheduled to adjourn on Jan. 3, 2021.
“The Senate’s passage of the DART Act further proves our ongoing work and commitment to stopping fraudulent, menacing robocalls,” Sen. Crapo said in a statement. The DART Act will provide Congress the opportunity to review the effectiveness of a variety of call-blocking technologies, while also ensuring important emergency and public safety calls are not blocked in the process of stopping these crooks. I hope the House of Representatives will swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation so it can get one step closer to being law.”