The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote this week on a bill that would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to craft rules regarding unwanted robocall and robotext messages that make sure those communications comply with the consumer protection and privacy purposes of Section 227 of the Communications Act.

The legislation – Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (HR 3375) – was cleared by the House Energy and Commerce Committee July 17 by unanimous vote. The measure has clear bipartisan support, with sponsors including Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chairman of the committee, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the committee’s ranking member.

The bill would direct the FCC to look at a number of issues, including:

  • Ensuring that robocalls and robotexts are made only with consumer consent;
  • Ensuring the ability of consumers to withdraw consent;
  • Preventing “circumvention or evasion” of the FCC rules;
  • Requiring callers to maintain records to demonstrate that consents have been obtained.

The FCC would have one year after the bill becomes law to make the new rules. The agency also would be required to make periodic reports to Congress about robocall complaints it receives, citations it issues, and penalties it imposes against violators.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee in April debated the merits of several robocall bills introduced this year.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.