Nevada lawmakers consider 'no call' and 'do call' lists

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Dozens of AARP Nevada members packed a legislative committee room Monday to back a bill establishing a statewide "no call" list for telemarketers.

AB232, by Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, would require the attorney general's office to establish a list of numbers of people who don't want unsolicited telemarketing calls.

All telemarketing companies would have to buy the list every six months and update their calling systems. The funds collected would be used to administer the registry.

Should a telemarketing company fail to comply with the law, the attorney general could file charges against the company to force its compliance and seek financial penalties.

The measure would only apply to unsolicited sales calls, and wouldn't include calls from political or charitable organizations.

While AARP Nevada, representing people over age 50 in this retiree-rich state, backed the bill in an Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee hearing, telecommunications companies opposed the measure.

Bob Ostrovsky, a lobbyist for Cox Communications, said the measure should exclude communications between companies and people with whom they have a pre-existing business relationship.

He said that of 32 states that have enacted "don't call" legislation, only Indiana didn't include exemptions for pre-existing business relationships.

Steve Tackes, a lobbyist for MCI/Worldcom, said the measure was unnecessary. He said federal legislation is pending the president's signature that would establish a nationwide list.

Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said she would rather the state move to protect its citizens.

"I guess my concern about waiting for the feds is waiting for the feds," Buckley said.

Commerce and Labor Chairman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, told Conklin to try and reach an agreement with those opposing the bill, and he scheduled the bill for a committee work session on Friday.

A proposal to create a far more strict "do call" list was introduced in the Senate on Monday. Under SB255, by Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, telemarketers would only be allowed to call a phone number if a person had specifically signed up to get unsolicited calls.

"You must be on the list to be called. It's an affirmative position," Townsend said on the Senate floor. "We want to protect the individuals' rights while they're in their home."

The measure exempts public utilities, phone companies or banks calling to terminate a service. Even nonprofit organizations and campaigning politicians would have to buy the $250 do-call list and follow the restrictions.

The registry would be maintained by the Nevada attorney general's office. Violators would risk fines of up to $5,000 for multiple offenses. That money would go into the state's general fund.

All but five state senators signed on as cosponsors of the bill, which was sent to Senate Commerce and Labor.


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