On April 3, 2019, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee advanced S.151–The TRACED Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Thune and Markey, in an effort to combat robocalls. The bill would enhance the FCC’s enforcement powers as it relates to violations of the TCPA and require adoption of call authentication technologies. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Allow the FCC to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 for intentional violations of the TCPA.
  • Allow the FCC to pursue enforcement actions against violators for a period of three years instead of the one year allowed under current law.
  • Require that voice service providers adopt technologies that allow telephone carriers to verify incoming calls as legitimate.

In addition to the above items, the legislation directs the FCC to begin a rule making that will protect individuals from unwanted calls or texts from an unauthenticated number.

This effort by the Senate is a first step in response to an issue that has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years. The legislation next will be considered by the Senate at a date to be determined. At this time, no companion version has been introduced in the House.

FCC Petitions Tracker

Kelley Drye’s Communications group prepares a comprehensive summary of pending petitions and FCC actions relating to the scope and interpretation of the TCPA.

Number of Petitions Pending

  • 31 petitions pending
  • 1 petition for reconsideration of the rules to implement the government debt collection exemption
  • 1 application for review of the decision to deny a request for an exemption of the prior-express-consent requirement of the TCPA for “mortgage servicing calls”
  • 1 request for reconsideration of the 10/14/16 waiver of the prior express written consent rule granted to 7 petitioners
  • 10 applications for review of fax waiver orders under the Anda progeny (these applications for review were not addressed in the Nov. 14, 2018 Bureau order)
  • 1 application for review of the CGB order issued on 11/14/18 eliminating the opt-out language rule for solicited faxes (and 2 oppositions to the application for review)

Upcoming Comments

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP – seeking a declaratory ruling that a fax broadcaster is the sole liable “sender,” when it both commits TCPA violations and engages in deception or fraud against the advertiser (or blatantly violates its contract with the advertiser) such that the advertiser cannot control the fax campaign or prevent TCPA violations (Reply Comments due 4/23/19)

Decisions Released

  • None since January 2019 report

Click here to see the full FCC Petitions Tracker.