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A00675 Summary:

BILL NOA00675B
 
SAME ASSAME AS S03297-B
 
SPONSORNiou
 
COSPNSRZebrowski, Colton, Richardson, Fitzpatrick, Eichenstein, Kim, Englebright, Frontus, Fahy, Rosenthal D, Solages, Buchwald, D'Urso, Gottfried, LiPetri, Morinello, Rosenthal L, Weprin, Peoples-Stokes, Seawright, Reyes, Norris, Walczyk, Blankenbush
 
MLTSPNSRByrnes
 
Add 91-b, Pub Serv L
 
Limits robocalls to state residents and requires telephone service providers to offer free call mitigation technology to telephone customers.
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A00675 Actions:

BILL NOA00675B
 
01/09/2019referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
03/12/2019amend (t) and recommit to corporations, authorities and commissions
03/12/2019print number 675a
05/15/2019amend and recommit to corporations, authorities and commissions
05/15/2019print number 675b
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A00675 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A675B
 
SPONSOR: Niou
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to limiting robocalls to state residents and to require telephone service providers to offer free call mitigation technology to telephone custom- ers   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to stop the scourge of robocalls in New York making it unlawful for any person or entity to make a robocall without the prior express consent of the consumer, which may be revoked at any time, and by requiring telephone service providers to offer free call mitigation technology.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 establishes that the act shall be known and cited as the "robocall prevention act." Section 2 amends the public service law by adding a new section 91-b ("Robocalls") that defines the terms "robocall", "call mitigation tech- nology" and "prior express consent." The new section makes it unlawful for any person or entity to make any robocall without prior express consent, other than for emergency purposes, using equipment that makes a series of calls or texts to stored telephone numbers, or to numbers produced using a random or sequential number generator, or using an artificial or prerecorded voice. A customer can revoke their "prior express consent" at any time in any reasonable manner. The bill authorizes the Public Service Commission to exempt from this requirement calls made to residential telephone lines that are not made for a commercial purpose. It also establishes that a telephone service provider operating in the state must make call mitigation technology available to any customer, upon request, at no charge. Further, it establishes that the Public Service Commission shall prescribe regulations to implement the require- ments herein, and allow a reasonable delay for requiring implementation of call mitigation technology for good cause. The bill gives the NYS Attorney General enforcement power over its provisions, and also allows any person harmed by a violation of the prohibition on robocalls to bring an action in court to enjoin such violation and recover damages. The bill also establishes a four year statute of limitations for actions to recover damages for a violation of the provisions of this new section. Section 3 establishes the effective date of the bill.   JUSTIFICATION: According to YouMail, a company that tracks robocalls and offers a call blocking application, over 47.8 billion robocalls were placed nationwide in 2018. Continuing the trend, over 10 billion robocalls have been placed in the first two months of 2019. Unwanted robocalls have also disproportionately targeted New Yorkers, as New York City ranked 3 in the country in February 2019 with over 162 million robocalls received, and Buffalo ranked 19 with almost 50 million robocalls received. Increasingly lax oversight and the proliferation of new technology have led to the rise in robocalls. Under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, almost all non-emergency auto-dialed calls to mobile phones are illegal, but the exemptions are beginning to swallow the rules as businesses regularly successfully petition the Federal Communi- cations Commission for exemptions to any restrictions. Furthermore, land-lines have almost no protections, disproportionately impacting the elderly. Technologically, the advent of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) dial- ing has allowed companies to discharge millions of calls for pennies and spoofing, or the ability to fake a telephone number, makes consumers even more vulnerable to unwanted calls and scams. This technology has undermined the effectiveness of the federal government's Do Not Call Registry, which long protected Americans from telemarketers. This bill provides a common-sense solution. No person or entity can make any robocalls to any person unless that person has consented to receive an autodialed call. That consent may be revoked at any time. Further- more, this bill places the onus on the telephone companies to provide technology to block robocalls. This technology currently exists, but is not widely available or easy to use. Telephone companies either provide complex set-up or charge additional for these services. From now on, this technology will be widely available and free. Consumers can enforce these new rights under a private right of action in any court. Robocalls are more than a nuisance. They undermine both privacy and safety, use up low-income consumer's limited minutes and subject consum- ers to harassing and intrusive telemarketing and debt collection tactics. With this bill, consumers will regain control and no longer have to suffer through a daily barrage of unwanted calls.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2018: S8674(Hoylman)/A10739(Niou) - referred to energy and telecommunications/referred to corporations, authorities and commissions   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: No fiscal impact.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
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A00675 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         675--B
 
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                       (Prefiled)
 
                                     January 9, 2019
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. NIOU, ZEBROWSKI, COLTON, RICHARDSON, FITZPATRICK,
          EICHENSTEIN,  KIM,  ENGLEBRIGHT, FRONTUS, FAHY, D. ROSENTHAL, SOLAGES,
          BUCHWALD, D'URSO, GOTTFRIED, LiPETRI, MORINELLO, L. ROSENTHAL, WEPRIN,
          PEOPLES-STOKES, SEAWRIGHT,  REYES,  NORRIS,  WALCZYK,  BLANKENBUSH  --
          Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BYRNES -- read once and referred to the
          Committee  on  Corporations,  Authorities and Commissions -- committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to said committee -- again reported from said  committee  with  amend-
          ments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend the public service law, in relation to limiting robo-
          calls to state residents and to require telephone service providers to
          offer free call mitigation technology to telephone customers
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the "robocall
     2  prevention act".
     3    § 2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 91-b to
     4  read as follows:
     5    § 91-b. Robocalls. 1. As used in this section:
     6    (a) "Robocall" means a call made, including a text message sent:
     7    (i) using equipment that makes a series of calls to  stored  telephone
     8  numbers,  including  numbers  stored  on a list, or to telephone numbers
     9  produced using a random or sequential number  generator,  except  for  a
    10  call  made  using  only  equipment that the caller demonstrates requires
    11  substantial additional human intervention to dial or place a call  after
    12  a human initiates the call or series of calls; or
    13    (ii) using an artificial or prerecorded voice.
    14    (b)  "Call  mitigation technology" means technology that identifies an
    15  incoming call or text message as being, or as probably being, a robocall
    16  and, on that basis, blocks the call or message, diverts it to the called
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02262-09-9

        A. 675--B                           2
 
     1  person's answering system, or otherwise prevents it from being completed
     2  to the called person, except that it permits a call or text  so  identi-
     3  fied  to  be  completed  when  it  is  identified as being made by a law
     4  enforcement  or public safety entity, or when it is identified as origi-
     5  nating from a caller with respect to whom the called person has provided
     6  prior express consent to receive such a call  or  message  and  has  not
     7  revoked that consent.
     8    (c)  "Labor  organization"  means  any  organization of any kind which
     9  exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of  representing  employees
    10  employed  within  the  state  of New York in   dealing with employers or
    11  employer organizations or with a state government, or any  political  or
    12  civil  subdivision  or other agency thereof, concerning terms and condi-
    13  tions of employment, grievances, labor disputes, or other matters  inci-
    14  dental to the employment relationship. For the purposes of this section,
    15  each  local,  parent  national or parent international organization of a
    16  statewide labor organization, and each  statewide  federation  receiving
    17  dues from subsidiary labor organizations, shall be considered a separate
    18  labor  organization.
    19    (d)  "Prior  express consent" for a call means that the purpose of the
    20  call must be closely related to the  purpose  for  which  the  telephone
    21  number was originally provided by the called party.
    22    2. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to make any robo-
    23  call  other  than  a  call  made for emergency purposes or made with the
    24  prior express consent of the called party, to any telephone number owned
    25  by a person or entity in the state. A customer's prior  express  consent
    26  can  be  revoked  by  the customer at any time in any reasonable manner,
    27  regardless of the context in which the owner or user  of  the  telephone
    28  provided consent.
    29    (b)  The  commission  shall  prescribe  regulations  to  implement the
    30  provisions of this subdivision, and may exempt from the requirements  of
    31  this  subdivision,  subject  to  such  conditions  as the commission may
    32  prescribe, calls made to a residential telephone line that are not  made
    33  for a commercial purpose.
    34    (c)  The  provisions  of  paragraph  (a) of this subdivision shall not
    35  apply to any communications made by a labor organization, or by  a  non-
    36  profit organization which is  federally tax-exempt pursuant to 26 U.S.C.
    37  501(c),  to  such  organization's  members  or to the households of such
    38  members.
    39    3. (a) A telephone service provider that provides telephone service to
    40  customers residing in the state shall make  call  mitigation  technology
    41  available  to  any  such  customer,  upon  request, and at no additional
    42  charge. Such provider shall also offer to any such customer the  ability
    43  to have the provider prevent calls and text messages identified as orig-
    44  inating  from  a  particular  person  from being completed to the called
    45  person, upon request, and at no additional charge.
    46    (b) The  commission  shall  prescribe  regulations  to  implement  the
    47  requirements  of  this subdivision, including, if appropriate, a reason-
    48  able delay in requiring implementation and offering of  call  mitigation
    49  technology   if  for  good  cause,  taking  into  account  the  consumer
    50  protection purposes  of  this  section,  and  including  procedures  for
    51  addressing incidents in which a call wanted by the customer is prevented
    52  from reaching the customer.
    53    4.  (a) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an appli-
    54  cation may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people  of
    55  the state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction to issue
    56  an  injunction,  and  upon notice to the defendant of not less than five

        A. 675--B                           3
 
     1  days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such violations; and  if
     2  it  shall  appear  to the satisfaction of the court or justice, that the
     3  defendant has, in fact, violated  this  section  an  injunction  may  be
     4  issued  by  such  court or justice enjoining and restraining any further
     5  violation, without requiring proof that any person has,  in  fact,  been
     6  injured  or  damaged thereby. In any such proceeding, the court may make
     7  allowances to the attorney general  as  provided  in  paragraph  six  of
     8  subdivision (a) of section eighty-three hundred three of the civil prac-
     9  tice  law  and  rules,  and direct restitution. Whenever the court shall
    10  determine that a violation  of  subdivision  two  of  this  section  has
    11  occurred,  the  court  may  impose  a civil penalty of not more than two
    12  thousand dollars per call, up to a total of not more than  twenty  thou-
    13  sand dollars, for calls placed in violation of such subdivision within a
    14  continuous seventy-two hour period. In connection with any such proposed
    15  application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a
    16  determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance
    17  with the civil practice law and rules.
    18    (b) In addition to the right of action granted to the attorney general
    19  pursuant  to  this  section,  any  person  harmed  by a violation of the
    20  provisions of subdivision two of this section,  or  of  any  regulations
    21  promulgated  by  the  commission  relating to this section, may bring an
    22  action in any court of competent jurisdiction:
    23    (i) to enjoin such violation; and/or
    24    (ii) to recover for actual monetary loss from  such  violation  or  to
    25  receive five hundred dollars in damages for such violation, whichever is
    26  greater.
    27    (c)  If  the  court  finds  that  the defendant willfully or knowingly
    28  violated the provisions of subdivision two of this section or any  regu-
    29  lations prescribed hereunder, the court may, in its discretion, increase
    30  the  amount  of  the  monetary award to an amount equal to not more than
    31  three times the amount available  pursuant  to  paragraph  (b)  of  this
    32  subdivision.
    33    (d)  No action to recover damages for a violation of the provisions of
    34  this section may be brought more  than  four  years  after  the  alleged
    35  violation occurred.
    36    § 3. If any provision of this act, or any application of any provision
    37  of  this act, is  held to be invalid, that shall not affect the validity
    38  or effectiveness of any other provision of this act,  or  of  any  other
    39  application  of  any  provision  of  this act, which can be given effect
    40  without that provision or application; and to that end,  the  provisions
    41  and applications of this act are severable.
    42    §  4.  This  act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
    43  have become a law.    Effective  immediately,  the  addition,  amendment
    44  and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation
    45  of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made
    46  and completed on or before such effective date.
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