“Or…” versus “And…”
That’s what this comes down to.
The Florida’s Telephone Solicitation Act’s Section 501.059 (“FTSA”) current autodialer definition includes any system that automatically dials OR selects a number to be called. This makes click-to-dial systems and everything but the most sophisticated human selection dialers subject to the FTSA’s harsh $500.00 per call statutory penalties–with no EBR protections.
On the other hand, if the definition were changed to use the word “AND” in place or OR, then only true automated dialers that both select and fire away at numbers automatically would be subject to the statute.
So which one is it?
Well today following a rip roaring good time at a subcomittee hearing, TCPAWorld sources are confirming that the amendment to AND has PASSED critical Florida House subcommittee over a vicious dissent by 3 nay-saying Democrats.
With this significant hurdle passed it looks like there is real momentum for this amendment to clear the house and then meet with likely approval in the business-friendly Florida Senate. This is a MASSIVE departure from last year when the Florida House was struck on an amendment EXPANDING the reach of the FTSA. Today, however, it looks like the Plaintiff’s bar has failed to convince the Florida House to keep the extremely broad FTSA on the books.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying, however.
Florida consumer rights attorney Billy Howard spoke at the hearing and previously, arguing that the FTSA had prevented millions of unwanted robocalls to Floridians. The sentiments of other “consumer side” lawyers and speakers was in accord–with many noting that other states were copying Florida’s novel approach to stopping the robocall epidemic.
But many others disagreed. An avalanche of small businesses came forward to tell horror stories of frivolous litigation that threatened to shut down companies over a handful of errant phone calls.
In seeking a balance here, the House subcommittee appears to have agreed to narrow the FTSA’s autodialer definition and also took steps to confirm that the “click” of an online form constitutes express written consent.
On the other hand, in an apparent nod to the Plaintiff’s bar the amendments will NOT be retroactive as was previously proposed. That means current litigation will not be impacted by this amendment if it eventually passes the House and Senate in its current form.
We will be paying EXTREMELY close attention to these developments. As folks know, Troutman Firm’s POWERFUL Boca Raton, FL office is handling a pile of these FTSA cases and the firm is absolutely committed to helping its clients navigate FTSA compliance as well as compliance with state level mini-TCPA enactments across the country.