Utah lawmakers are sending mixed signals to Utah tele-marketing companies.
First, a committee voted down a proposal by Rep. Kim Burningham, R-Bountiful,that would have required phone solicitors to exempt from calls anyone who had designated that preference in a telephone directory.Then that same committee passed a bill, sponsored by Rep. Ted Lewis, D-Salt Lake, that would require telemarketers to exempt from phone calls anyone who had so registered with the Public Service Commission.
Lewis' bill also imposes other restrictions on telemarketing companies, including requirements that they not call before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m., that a summary statement about the call be given in the first 10 seconds, and that the call disengage the line within 10 seconds after hanging up the phone.
Burningham's bill was roundly criticized by telemarketers, as well as the state Department of Community and Economic Development and AT&T.
"There are two other bills to address nuisance computer calls," said Paul Rogers, a lobbyist for an Ogden telemarketing firm. "If you want to send the ugliest message to businesses thinking of relocating in Utah, this is the bill to do it with. Not only is it impractical, but it is impossible."
Opponents to Burningham's bill were much more kind to Lewis', which now goes to the House floor for action. The third bill directed at telemarketers is currently awaiting floor action.
"It looks to me like we don't need any of these three bills," said Rep. Jim Yardley, R-Panguitch.