Nuisance calls may not be a thing of the past, but a bill headed toward the floor in the Senate aims to limit them.
Sen. Audrey Gibson‘s SB 1120, a bill that would restrict telephone solicitors to three calls in 24 hours, cleared the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday.
Violators would be subject to a penalty of up to $500, an amount tripled if the violation is judged to be willful.
Rules was the bill’s final stop before the Senate floor.
Gibson, a Democrat from Jacksonville, explained her reasons for seeking legislative remedy when she filed the bill in an exclusive interview with Florida Politics’ “Jacksonville Bold” newsletter
Gibson said she was frustrated by calls “for anything you can name: buying your house when you aren’t selling, insurance, car warranties when your car is 99 years old and other calls.”
“Putting someone’s phone number on a dialer to call over and over again is harassment,” Gibson said, noting some called her as many as six times in a 24-hour period.
According to the Rules Committee analysis of the legislation, the bill may end up costing taxpayers, given the burdens of increased complaints from those with new recourse.
“The bill adds prohibited acts to the Florida Telemarketing Act. The department, as enforcing authority of the act, estimates that (it) may see an increase in consumer complaints and prosecutions as a result; it also states that it will be required to expand its rulemaking to allow for implementation of these changes. The department states that this may result in an indeterminate costs to the department.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis lauded the bill’s passage.
“As your CFO, I’ve made it my mission to crack down on fraud throughout Florida. We all know how disrupting telemarketing calls can be throughout the day. Unsolicited telemarketing calls have become an epidemic in our state, and it is time we put a stop to it,” Patronis said in a statement. “The fact is, these calls are not only extremely annoying, they can lead to fraudulent activity and even identity theft. I’m supporting legislation to fight back, protect Floridians and put an end to bad actors trying to make a quick buck. A huge thank you to President Simpson, Chair Passidomo and Senator Gibson for working to protect Floridians.”