Shaheen, Hassan Applaud Senate Passage of Bipartisan Anti-Robocall Bill As it Heads to President’s DeskDecember 19, 2019
**136 Million Robocalls have been Placed to New Hampshire Phone Numbers So Far This Year**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements after the Senate passed bipartisan legislation to crack down on robocalls. The legislation improves the federal government’s ability to find scammers, increases penalties on those caught and requires call authentication and blocking technology to be made available free of charge to consumers. The bill also brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to evaluate policies and resources needed to better prosecute and deter illegal robocalls, among other provisions.
Both the Senate and House passed versions of the bill earlier this year. Shaheen and Hassan are cosponsors of the bill that passed the Senate in May. Lawmakers from both chambers conferenced on the bills and unveiled negotiated legislation earlier this month. Now that this legislation has passed the Senate and House, it will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“This bipartisan legislation has been a long time coming for Granite Staters and Americans across the country who’ve been targeted by these illegal, intrusive calls. With more than a hundred million robocalls placed to New Hampshire numbers alone this year, this effort to crackdown on those responsible is overdue,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad Congress was able to get the job done and deliver this legislation to the President’s desk. I urge President Trump to move swiftly and sign this bill into law immediately.”
“This bipartisan legislation will help reduce the illegal robocalls incessantly plaguing Granite Staters and Americans,” Senator Hassan said. “These obnoxious calls have become more common and more disruptive in the last few years, and I hope that President Trump recognizes the urgency of this issue and signs this bipartisan legislation into law without delay.”
So far this year, Americans have received 54 billion robocalls and more than 136 million were placed to New Hampshire numbers. In June, Shaheen held a press conference in Concord with the New Hampshire Department of Justice, AARP New Hampshire, the Public Utilities Commission and other Granite State stakeholders to discuss the work underway in Congress to combat the bombardment of robocalls.
The legislation would do the following to clamp down on robocalls:
- Requires service providers to implement call authentication and blocking technologies free of charge for consumers and small businesses;
- Gives the FCC the ability to step up enforcement actions against unlawful robocalls with a longer statute of limitations and increased fines in certain cases;
- Brings together relevant federal agencies as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams at the federal and state levels;
- Requires the FCC to establish partnerships to better inform efforts to protect consumers, including an advisory committee to develop best practices to combat unlawful robocalls made to hospitals and a consortium to trace the origins of illegal robocalls;
- Directs the FCC to protect consumers from one-ring scams, in which callers ring once and then hang up, attempting to trick the consumer into calling back and incurring hefty charges; and
- Requires the FCC to report to Congress on enforcement and compliance progress.
Full text of the legislation is available here.
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