Full House Energy and Commerce Committee Unanimously Approves Bipartisan Robocall Bill
The full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, this morning, approved a further amended Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, H.R. 3375, by a unanimous voice vote. Before doing so, the full Committee approved, again by unanimous voice vote, three amendments to the version forwarded by its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on June 25.
First, Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), along with Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), offered a Managers Amendment that made modest changes to Sections 2, 4, 8 and 13 of the bill. One of the changes addresses a concern about the effective date of Section 4 dealing with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) reassigned number database and the definition of “called party.” The amendments regarding clarification of that definition would now become effective beginning on the date when the reassigned number database “becomes fully operational such that a person may check the database to determine the last date of disconnection associated with a phone number.”
Second, the Committee approved an amendment offered by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) that would require the FCC to establish an advisory committee to be known as the “Hospital Robocall Protection Group.” The Group would be charged to develop best practices that, for example, address how voice service providers can better combat unlawful robocalls made to hospitals. The FCC ultimately would have to conduct a proceeding to assess the extent to which the voluntary adoption of such best practices can be facilitated to protect hospitals and other institutions.
Third, the Committee approved an amendment offered by Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA) that would allow the addition of up to US$10,000 to a potential forfeiture penalty under Section 503(b) of the Communications Act for “robocall violations with intent.”
The markup up session can be viewed here.
Subject to the Committee’s Report, the bill, which currently has 153 supporting House Members, moves on for action on the floor of the House. Stay tuned.