January 08, 2020

ICYMI: Senate Passes Manchin Backed Anti-Robocall Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the passage of the bipartisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act last month. This legislation will give regulators more time to find scammers and levy fines for those who are caught, promote call authentication and blocking adoption, and bring relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address impediments to criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws.

“I am glad the Senate was able to come together and pass legislation to give the FCC and other federal agencies the resources they need to finally reduce robocalls, which keep increasing every year. This bill will also put in stricter regulations and harsher penalties for telemarketers and scammers that harass people. I never hesitate to answer a 304 number and talk with constituents, so I know just how frustrating it is to pick up the phone and be greeted with an automated message. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, we as Americans can all agree on one thing, spam and robocalls are just absolutely awful and I’m proud to have cosponsored this commonsense, bipartisan bill,” Senator Manchin said.

Summary of the TRACED Act:

  • Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.
  • Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to four years after a robocall is placed. Under current law, the FCC has only one year to do so, and the FCC has told the committee that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement” would improve enforcement against violators.
  • Brings together the Department of Justice, FCC, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other relevant federal agencies, as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.
  • Requires voice service providers to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.
  • Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers.
  • Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking process to protect consumers from “one-ring” scams.
  • Requires the FCC to establish a working group to issue best practices to prevent hospitals from receiving illegal robocalls