Anti-Robocall Bill Introduced in Washington State

The Attorney General of Washington is working with a member of the state legislature to introduce legislation aimed at curbing illegal robocalls in the state, updating a current law that the AG says is “weak and out-of-date.” The new law, if enacted, would prohibit making robocalls to individuals on the Do Not Call registry, prohibit deliberately falsifying Caller ID displays, and include a private right of action among other provisions.

A copy of the proposed legislation, HB 1051, the Robocall Scam Protection Act, which will be introduced by Rep. Mari Leavitt, a Democrat, can be accessed by clicking here.

According to the results of a survey conducted back in 2019, 60% of adults in Washington are more likely to pick up the phone if the caller ID shows a local area code.

There is no law on the books in Washington currently that prohibits companies from contacting individuals who have registered their phone numbers on the Do Not Call list. If enacted, making calls to those individuals will become a violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

Businesses will be able to use automated telephone dialing systems to contact existing customers and others who have consented to receive such messages.

“It’s time to stop illegal robocalls,” said Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General of Washington, in a statement. “The Legislature must give Washingtonians stronger and clearer legal protections against the daily bombardment of illegal robocalls — and provide additional tools to my office to hold bad actors accountable.”

The private right of action — which allows individuals to seek up to $1,000 per violation — can also be filed against voice service providers that knowingly allow illegal robocalls through their networks. The Washington law mirrors other laws that have been enacted in Oklahoma and Florida and are being referred to as mini-TCPA laws.

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