Another One: Congress is on Fire with TCPA Bills as Yet Another New Robocall Enactment Introduced

Alright, I guess we need to create a TCPA legislative scorecard.

As you’ve been reading here, here, here, and here, Congress is ablaze with TCPA legislation right now.

The two most important bills are TRACED–the Senate version of which picked up two more co-sponsors today bringing its gaudy total to 13– and the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. The passage of either of those bills would bring a massive shift for industry with TRACED representing a paradigm-shift toward greater agency enforcement of the TCPA and Stopping Bad Robocalls set to expand the definitions within the TCPA to cover even more calls than ever before. But other bills–such as REAL PEACE and the HANG UP Act– continue to work their way through the legislative process.

Meanwhile yet another new bill was introduced in the Senate today–the FCC Modernization Act, which night be an alternative to certain components of TRACED. According to a press release issued by the bill’s sponsor– Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)– the bill would update current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reporting requirements to include all Telephone Consumer Protection Act complaints and enforcement actions regarding robocalls and spoofed phone calls.

The idea behind the bill would be to better inform Congress about the robocall and spoofing problem and identify patterns of these harmful practices impacting consumers.

According to the bill’s sponsor:

Not only are robocalls annoying and disruptive, but they can be dangerous – too often coercing unsuspecting Americans to provide sensitive personal and financial information with highly-sophisticated deceit tactics. Being able to identify the patterns scammers use will help guide Congress’ lawmaking efforts to combat this pervasive issue. Therefore, this legislation requires the FCC to provide Congress with robust reports on robocalls and spoofed phone calls so we can continue to fight this problem.

The FCC Reporting Modernization Act would require the FCC to report the following information to Congress every year:

  • Number of complaints received by the FCC alleging that a consumer received a robocall or spoofed call;
  • Number of citations issued by the FCC in enforcing against such complaints;
  • Number of notices of apparent liability issued by the FCC to enforce policies against robocalls or spoofed calls, along with the amount of penalties involved, the recipient of the notice and the status of the proceeding.

Notably the TRACED Act also requires reporting– but in a much clunkier inter-agency form. Senator Moran’s bill seems like a much cleaner and more efficient alternative to that component of TRACED– leaving it to the FCC (an expert in spoofing and robocalls) to provide reporting to Congress rather than creating a bulky “task force” including federal agencies that have no traditional experience in the space.

More to come.