Introduced Version House Bill 2241 History

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H. B. 2241

(By Delegates Talbott and Pino)
[Introduced February 11, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §46A-6F-115, relating to a no telephone solicitation contact (Do Not Call) list being maintained by the Public Service Commission; telephone subscribers/consumers not wanting to receive telemarketing calls pay a modest fee to be placed on the list; the Public Service Commission creates the "No Call" list for sale to telemarketers; and civil penalties are imposed upon telemarketers who violate the statute.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §46A-6F-115, to read as follows:
§46A-6F-115. The "Do Not Call" list; Legislative findings; Public Service Commission; rules; fees; penalties.

(a) The Legislature finds that there exists an increasing growth in the number of telemarketer solicitation contacts with consumers of this State and, despite recent legislation to remove some of the most egregious annoyances, there remains a substantial body of consumers who wish to receive no telephone solicitations at all. The Legislature further finds that it is within the province of the State to protect its citizens and their homes from unwanted intrusions, including those prosecuted by telephone, and it considers that implementing measures to interdict these unwanted telephone calls would be for a public purpose. Having made these findings, it is the purpose and the policy of the Legislature that:
(1) It confers upon the Public Service Commission the authority and duty to create, manage, maintain and enforce a Statewide database for a "Do Not Call" list or, in its discretion, to contract with a private company to create and maintain the database; to exercise that rule making authority necessary to prosecute its function as the State agency responsible for assisting telephone subscribers desiring to be on the "Do Not Call" list, establishing the fees within those amounts allowed under this section for both consumers and telemarketers, creating, maintaining and administering a "consumer protection" trust fund in which to hold and manage the fees paid for the cost of maintaining the database and other related expenses; and enforcing the penalty provisions of this statute, all of which should be liberally construed to protect the public's privacy rights; and
(b) That any residential, mobile or telephonic paging device consumer desiring to be placed on a "Do Not Call" list, indicating that the consumer does not wish to receive telephone solicitations, may be placed upon such list by notifying the Public Service Commission in writing and paying the Public Service Commission an initial list fee, which the Public Service Commission may assess in an amount up to ten dollars per consumer. The consumer's notice shall be in a form approved by the Public Service Commission and the program will be maintained in the following manner:
(1) The consumer's listing shall be for a period of up to three years, and may be renewed by the Public Service Commission for additional periods of up to three years each, if the consumer requests renewal and pays a renewal fee, which the Public Service Commission may assess in an amount up to five dollars per renewal;
(2) The first "Do Not Call" list shall be published on or before the thirtieth day of October, two thousand five. The Public Service Commission shall thereafter update its "Do Not Call" list quarterly and provide this list to telephone solicitors upon request and receipt by the Public Service Commission of a list distribution fee, which the Public Service Commission may charge in an amount up to twenty-five dollars per list;
(3) All fees imposed pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the consumer protection trust fund and shall be used for the furtherance of the Public Service Commission's duties and activities under this section; and
(4) The "Do Not Call" lists are not subject to public inspection or disclosure and may only be used for the purposes for which they were created, including that the Consumer Protection Division of the office of the Attorney General shall have access.
(c) Within thirty days after a new "Do Not Call" list has been published by the Public Service Commission, no telephone solicitor shall make or cause to be made any telephone solicitation, as defined in section one hundred twelve of this article, to any telephone number which is assigned by a telephone company to a person listed on the "Do Not Call" list as appears in the then current quarterly listing published by the Public Service Commission.
(d) Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice within the meaning of subsection (f), section one hundred two, article six of this chapter and shall subject the person violating the terms of this section to a civil penalty, to be imposed by the circuit court having jurisdiction thereof, as follows: For the first violation, not to exceed five hundred dollars; for the second violation, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars; for the third and subsequent violations, not to exceed five thousand dollars per violation. Penalties received under this section shall be expended pursuant to legislative appropriation.
(e) This section is not applicable to those telephone solicitations set forth in sections two hundred one through two hundred twenty of this article.
(f) For purposes of this section, "telephone company" means a person providing telecommunications services to the public, or any segment thereof, for compensation, by wire, cable, radio, lightwaves, cellular signal or other means. "Telecommunications services" means the conveyance of voice, data, sign, signal, writing, sound, messages or other information at any frequency over any part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
(g) The Public Service Commission, under its rule-making power, shall require local telephone companies to notify consumers annually of their right to be placed on the "Do Not Call" list.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide telephone subscribers with a highly effective means of preventing the receipt of telemarketing phone solicitations.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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