Skip to main content

House to Vet Over Half Dozen Robocall Bills

The House Communications Subcommittee will vet over a half dozen robocall-related bills at next week's (April 30) legislative hearing, the committee leadership said Friday (April 26).

Among the reasons for the flurry of bills on a subject also in the wheelhouse of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the hearing memorandum said, was that the FCC received almost a quarter million robocall complaints in 2018, a 34% increase since 2015.

It also pointed to estimates that there were a staggering 48 billion robocalls in 2018.

The memo, produced by the Democratic majority, also pointed out that, while the FCC since 2015 has fined telemarketers $208 million, it has so far collected only $6,790. But it also said the commission had "clarified that carriers are allowed to block certain categories of 'presumptively illegal calls' before they reach consumers’ phones, such as those that start with area codes that do not exist."

Comcast and T-Mobile last week announced a partnership to combat robocalls.

The bills getting the once-over are:

1. H.R. 946, the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J., chairman of the parent House Energy & Commerce Committee)

2. H.R. 1421, the “HANGUP Act,” introduced by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)

3. H.R. 2355, the “ROBO Calls and Texts Act,” introduced by Rep. Eshoo

4. H.R. 721, the “Spam Calls Task Force Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

5. Discussion Draft, the “STOP Robocalls Act,” released by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), ranking member of the subcommittee

6. H.R. 2298, the “ROBOCOP Act,” introduced by Rep. Speier (D-CA)

7. H.R. 1575, the “Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J).

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.