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New House Energy & Commerce Committee Leaders Good News for TCPA Reform

Last month, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) was selected by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans as the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He succeeds Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who had to step down due to term limits. Today, Rep. Walden announced Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee leaders for the 115th Congress. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was named the Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications & Technology and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) will serve as Vice Chairman.

Both Committee Chairman Walden and Subcommittee Chair Blackburn are strong proponents of TCPA reform.  At a September 22, 2016 TCPA hearing, Chairman Walden, who until being named full Committee Chairman served as the Communications Subcommittee Chairman, stated, “It’s been 25 years since Congress passed the TCPA and the world has changed dramatically in that time period. . . . It’s increasingly clear current law is outdated and in many cases counterproductive. It’s time to modernize the current law to reflect the incredible technological changes in our culture.”  He also said Congress needs to draw a distinction between “harassing, malicious” calls and texts from “bad actors” and “legitimate, informational calls that consumers want.”  During the same hearing, now-Subcommittee Chair Blackburn expressed shock at the number of TCPA lawsuits––the second most frequently filed cause of action in federal courts—the amount of payout for the plaintiffs, and conveyed that, in her opinion, those numbers indicated something is seriously wrong with the law. She also pressed the witnesses for recommendations for changes to the statute.

The selection of these new Energy and Commerce Committee leaders combined with the Republicans retaining control of the Senate and President-elect Donald Trump’s push for FCC and other regulatory reforms means that TCPA reform just took another big step forward. Its future looks more promising.

Copyright 2019 K & L Gates

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Pamela Garvie, KL Gates Law Firm, Public Policy Attorney
Partner

Ms. Garvie represents transportation, media, retail, and other business clients before the Congress and federal agencies on issues dealing with economic, safety, and security regulation, advertising and programming restrictions, and taxes and trade.  She also provides customized intelligence and analysis to institutional investors and hedge funds on a broad range of federal legislative and regulatory activities that impact their investments.  Among other matters, she led the firm’s successful efforts to create federal funding programs in rail safety and...

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Peter Nelson, KL Gates Law Firm, Public Policy Attorney
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Peter Nelson is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where he is a member of the Public Policy and Law practice group. Mr. Nelson assists clients in the development of integrated legislative, regulatory, and communications strategies in support of a range of public policy initiatives, with a focus on federal tax and transportation matters.

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Andrew Glass, KL Gates Law Firm, Financial Litigation Attorney
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Mr. Glass is a partner resident in K&L Gates’ Boston office, and a member of the firm's Consumer Financial Services Litigation and Class Action Litigation Defense groups, with extensive experience in complex commercial litigation. Mr. Glass's practice focuses on the defense of federal and state class action litigation brought against consumer financial services, mortgage lending, and consumer credit institutions. These class actions concern challenges under federal statutes, including the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Real...

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Joseph C. Wylie II, KL Gates Law Firm, Commercial Litigation Attorney
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Mr. Wylie’s practice focuses on complex class-action defense and complex commercial litigation with a particular emphasis on consumer and securities matters. He represents clients in defending against a wide range of individual and class-action consumer claims, including consumer fraud actions and claims brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. He also represents investment advisers and mutual fund families in connection with government investigations and investor claims, including claims made under the Investment Company Act. Mr. Wylie also represents...

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Gregory Blace, KL Gates Law Firm, Class Action Litigation Attorney
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Mr. Blase is a partner in the Boston office of K&L Gates where he is a member of the firm's Class Action Litigation Defense group. Mr. Blase has experience in complex commercial litigation, and has represented mortgage lenders, servicers and other financial institutions in class action and individual suits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and various state unfair and deceptive practices...

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