State “mini-TCPA” laws headed in opposite directions
Maryland enacted a state-level “mini TCPA” law, which will strengthen robocall prevention. Meanwhile, the Florida legislature passed an amendment to weaken its version. Let’s see what’s going on.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the Stop the Spam Calls Act of 2023 into law. This law takes a strong approach to robocall prevention:
- Defines an autodialer as a system that is used for either telephone number selection or dialing.
- Telephone solicitation involving either an autodialer or the playing of a recorded message when a connection is completed requires:
- Prior express written consent,
- Transmission of the originating telephone number and caller name (when available),
- No solicitations between 8 P.M.–8 A.M. in the called party’s time zone,
- No more than 3 solicitation calls on the same subject within 24 hours,
- No spoofing or attempts to disguise the identity of the caller,
- No attempts to injure the called party through fraud or gathering of personal information that may be used for fraud.
The law takes effect January 1, 2024.
Florida enacted its Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) in 2021, soon after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on the Facebook v. Duguid case that restricted the autodialer definition and the scope of the TCPA.
In May 2023, the Florida legislature passed an amendment to the FTSA that would ease robocall restrictions in the FTSA:
- Define an autodialer as a system that is used for both telephone number selection and dialing.
- Require the called party to text STOP in reply to unwanted text messages. The text message solicitor would have 15 days to stop sending unwanted text messages.
- The amended rules would be applied retroactively to any class action suit filed but not yet certified by the time this law becomes effective.
Florida State Senator Clay Yarborough said he sponsored this amendment because “well-meaning businesses are being sued for things that we did not intend to be within the scope of the law.”
Governor Ron DeSantis will have until May 31, 2023, to either sign or veto this legislation. If he does nothing, the bill will become law.
So, it’s a mixed bag in robocall enforcement. Maryland has strengthened its laws, while Florida is on the verge of easing robocall enforcement.
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