House Subcommittee Sets June 25 Markup on Bipartisan Robocall Practices Bill

Bill includes call for the FCC to revise its rules under the TCPA and several other requirements.

6/24/2019 11:00 AM

House Subcommittee Sets June 25 Markup on Bipartisan Robocall Practices Bill

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will meet at 2 p.m. Eastern June 25 for review of a new version of the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act with requirements for the Federal Communications Commission.

The markup of the revised partisan legislation (H.R. 3775)—announced just days after it was introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.—includes a requirement for the FCC to provide clarity on its definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS.)

Under the legislation, the FCC is required to provide clarity on the ATDS definition within six months of the legislation’s effective date if it is approved by Congress and signed into law, as noted in the memorandum on the markup. Furthermore, it is recognized in the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act that call blocking technologies should be, “provided with transparency and effective redress options for both consumers and callers.”

However, the legislation also addresses several issues with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act including reassigned numbers and includes similar language to the FCC declaratory ruling concerning a default opt out for call blocking services. It adds a problematic definition of “called party” that does not align with ACA International’s efforts to seek clarity on that issue with the FCC.

The revised bipartisan legislation, with additional co-sponsors U.S. Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, Republican leader of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Mike Doyle, R-Pa., chairman of the subcommittee, was introduced following an April legislative hearing on a proposal to stop robocall practices.

Concerns with the proposal presented by ACA International were discussed during the April legislative hearing, some of which appear to also be addressed in the new legislation.

The proposed legislation also directs the FCC to ensure the call blocking services approved on an opt-out basis pursuant to the declaratory ruling in effect June 6, 2019, are provided with “transparency and effective redress options” for consumers and callers.

ACA follow the mark up and has engaged with the Subcommittee about aspects of the legislation. As part of our larger ongoing advocacy efforts surrounding TCPA reform, ACA will continue to work with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congress and regulators including the FCC to help them understand the importance of calls about a consumer’s financial situation that they often want and need.

Related Content from ACA International:

House Subcommittee Discusses ACA Concerns at Legislative Hearing on Robocalls

TRACED Act Clears Senate

ACA International Challenges Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

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