Nevada governor says he'd sign do-not-call telemarketing bill

LAS VEGAS -- Gov. Kenny Guinn, who normally won't say whether he favors bills before the Legislature, is saying he would support a measure letting Nevada residents put themselves on telemarketing do-not-call lists.

The issue got the governor's ear after he put his Las Vegas home telephone number on a re-election campaign form in May, and he and his family started getting calls from telephone marketers.

"Every advertising agency, every telephone station, every newspaper and radio station wanted to sell me advertising," the governor said. "The calls just kept coming. They drove us crazy."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that Guinn said he "absolutely will" sign a bill setting up a do-not-call list in Nevada in 2003.

The state attorney general's office has drafted a measure that would create such a list to be overseen by the state Consumer Affairs Division.

It would let residents put their numbers on the list, which would be sold to telemarketing firms. Telephone solicitors would be ordered not to call listed numbers.

Fines could be as much as $2,500 for persistent don't-call list scofflaws, Chief Deputy Attorney General Kimberly Rushton said.

"I doubt if we fine them," said Rushton, the attorney general's legislative lobbyist. "But we want to let the telemarketers know we are serious. It gets their attention."

Many states already have do-not-call lists, and a 1991 federal law also sets up rules for telemarketing companies.

But many of these laws are ignored, said Bob Bulmash, founder of Private Citizen, based in Naperville, Ill. The organization was created as a result of frustration over unwanted phone calls.

Bulmash said the biggest offender in 2002 was President Bush, who used automatic dialing systems and a recorded message to about 100 million American homes urging people to vote Republican.

A federal law allows residents who don't want such calls to file civil complaints seeking $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

The draft version of the Nevada do-not-call bill includes two exemptions, letting politicians and volunteers working for charities continue to call residents on the list.

While Rushton was unsuccessful in getting a do-not-call bill through the 2001 state Legislature, lawmakers did approve a measure letting the attorney general's office prosecute solicitors who threaten, intimidate, or use profane and obscene language.

The law also prohibits solicitations between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. and prevents telephone solicitors from using devices that block their phone numbers from caller identification displays.


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