Cellular phones may join do not call listMADISON — The state Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to add cell phones to the state’s “do not call” list
By: By STEVEN WALTERS/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Daily Telegram
MADISON — The state Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to add cell phones to the state’s “do not call” list and raise the maximum fine for violating that law from $100 to $1,000.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said it would be the first major expansion of the “do not call” list since it was created in January 2003.
Last year, more than one million Wisconsin residential phone lines were covered by the list, maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Raising the maximum fine for each violation will deter telemarketers from ignoring the list, Erpenbach said.
Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, said adding cell phones to the “do not call” list is important because more and more customers are using only cell phones.
“It is important to give them the same protection from unwanted telemarketing calls as land-line users enjoy,” Robson said. “This is especially crucial to cell phone users who pay for incoming calls on a per-minute basis,”
Robson also noted that cell phone users are required to give their phone numbers to many organizations with whom they do business.
“They have to give cell phone numbers to their utility companies, insurance companies, banks, cable companies and so on,” she said. “The more hands these phone numbers fall into, the more likely they will be used for marketing purposes.”
Erpenbach’s original bill would have also added fax machines to the “do not call” list, but Robson said that provision was deleted so the bill would win enough votes to pass.
Erpenbach said he expects Republicans who control the Assembly to also pass the measure before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment for the year in mid-March. He cited bipartisan support for the change Tuesday.
Under state law, telemarketers are charged fees to maintain the list.
— Copyright © 2008, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services