Bill aimed at fighting robocalls passes Senate Commerce Committee

Published 6:38 am Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A bill authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, aimed at cracking down on robocalls has passed the Senate Commerce Committee.

Part of the Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider a rulemaking maintaining a critical call list that would ensure public safety calls are not blocked.

Some of the things the bill would work to keep coming through are:

  • Numbers used for outgoing calls by public safety answering points or other facilities that route emergency calls;
  • Numbers used for calls by government entities;
  • Numbers used by schools to provide school-related notifications, including weather-related closings or emergencies; and
  • Numbers used for similar or emergency purposes, as determined by the FCC.

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The two legislators said robocalls are an issue for Americans.

“Most robocalls aren’t just unwanted and disruptive – they are illegal,” Klobuchar said.  “Our legislation to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) efforts to combat illegal robocalls passed the Commerce Committee today. The DART Act would ensure that public safety calls are not blocked and direct the FCC to report to Congress on the effectiveness of call-blocking technologies. I look forward to this bill passing the full Senate and becoming law to protect consumers.”

For Crapo, this problem is currently only growing.

“Americans know these scams are out of control,” Crapo said. “Last year, robocalls increased by 47 percent, resulting in more than 26 billion robocalls.  The DART Act gives us the opportunity to review call blocking programs and provides us opportunities to keep up and stop this fraudulent menace.”

Another part of the bill would have the FCC report to Congress about how effective call-blocking technologies are.