Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Telephone Solicitations Limit Mulled

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Telephone Solicitations Limit Mulled

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- House Speaker Tom Murphy wants to let consumers pull

the plug on telemarketing calls at home.

But critics say Murphy's plan would stop politicians from

contacting their constituents, and worry it would hinder

political polling and get-out-the-vote efforts.

"It will have a very detrimental effect not only on political

campaigns but on fund-raising activities for charities and

PTAs," said House Minority Leader Bob Irvin, R-Atlanta. "It's

very sweeping and greatly overdrawn."

Murphy's bill has already passed out of committee and is headed

for the House floor.

It would let Georgians list their names and phone numbers with

the Public Service Commission as refusing home solicitation

calls.

Telemarketers that call numbers on the banned list could face

fines of $500 for a first offense and $2,000 each time

thereafter.

Shawn Davis, a spokesman for the PSC, said start-up costs for

the service, which would be free to the public, would run about

$250,000.

Other states with similar programs, including Florida, have

much heftier fines, and PSC officials fear the penalties in

Murphy's proposal may not discourage persistent phone

solicitors.

In Florida, about 40,000 people have paid to get on the state's

list. The penalty for violating the law is $10,000 per offense.

Davis said Florida officials take about 500 complaints a month

from residents who received solicitation calls even after their

name was placed on the list.

Murphy told reporters telemarketers have become a pain for many

Georgians. He noted one woman in his district lost $10,000 to a

telemarketing scam.

"I'm tired of every day at lunch and every night when I'm

sitting down watching the news somebody calling me wanting to

change my telephone service, wanting to sell me vinyl siding for

my brick house," said Murphy, D-Bremen. …

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