Changes proposed for Florida Telephone Solicitation Act

An amendment to the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) is making its way through the 2023 session of the Florida legislature. If enacted, subtle changes would have a big impact on the law’s reach. Here’s a review.

The FTSA became law on July 1, 2021. Calls, text messages, and voicemail messages from anywhere in the U.S. to telephone numbers with a Florida area code are subject to the FTSA.

The proposed amendment to the FTSA was introduced by Florida State Senators Clay Yarborough and Ana Maria Rodriguez.

One little word…

The first significant change is the replacement of the word “or” with “and” in the definition of activity covered by the FTSA:

“… using an automated system for the selection and or dialing of telephone numbers, the playing of a recorded message when a connection is completed to a number called, or the transmission of a prerecorded voicemail.”

In the current law, the automated system is used for either selection or dialing/playing/transmission. With the proposed amendment, the automated system must do both: select numbers and either dial numbers, play recorded messages, or transmit voicemail.

This subtle change would restrict the definition of automatic dialing subject to the FTSA.

Must text “STOP”

A new provision would require the called party to reply to unwanted text messages with the word “STOP.” The solicitor that sent the text message would be allowed 15 days to cease sending text messages after receiving the STOP message.

The called party could then bring legal action against the solicitor only if the following conditions are met:

  1. The called party does not consent to receive text messages from the solicitor
  2. The called party told the solicitor to stop using a STOP reply
  3. The solicitor continued to send solicitation text messages 15 days after the called party sent the STOP reply.

Retroactive, in some cases

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these changes is the effective date:

“The amendments made by this act to s. 501.059, Florida Statutes, apply to any suit filed on or after the effective date of this act and to any putative class action not certified on or before the effective date of this act.”

In other words, any class action suit winding through the courts but not yet certified by the time this bill becomes law would be subject to its changes.

This session of the Florida legislature ends on May 5, 2023.

The proposed amendment to the FTSA is marked up in Florida Senate Bill 1308.

the words 'and,' 'or,' with 'or' struck out

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