Koster, et al, rejoice over expansion of 'No Call List' to include cell phones
Attorney General Chris Koster is among the bipartisan cadre of officials lauding the General Assembly’s passage of a bill allowing Missourians to add cell phones to the state’s “No Call List."
The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is expected to sign the expansion. As attorney general, Nixon was the author of Missouri’s original “No Call List’’ which allowed Missourians to sign up, thus protecting them from unwanted telemarketer calls. More than 1.8 million landline numbers are now on Missouri’s list.
But with that avenue closed, some marketers have shifting to unsolicited cell phone calls – which isn’t just annoying to the recipient, but also expensive – since most cell phone contracts are based on airtime minutes used.
“Twelve years ago, passage of the no-call law saved the dinner hour in this state,” Koster said in a statement. The General Assembly’s latest action, he added, “will preserve the privacy of Missourians for a new technological era.”
Koster’s office has received more than 2,000 complaints from cell phone owners just this year. He noted that as soon as the cell-phone addition becomes law, his office will have “the authority to take legal action against businesses that make unwanted sales calls to cell phone numbers. The state routinely sues telemarketers to stop them from making calls to land lines and collects fines and penalties from these businesses for violations.”
State Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, was the chief sponsor of House Bill 1549, with state Sens. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, and Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, pressing the issue in the Senate.
“Most Missourians use cell phones as part of their daily lives but our No Call List hasn’t moved into the 21st century to reflect that fact,” said Richardson after the bill passed. “We want to extend the protections we have given to landline users to all Missourians who own a phone. I’m thrilled to see my colleagues have overwhelmingly supported this idea and that it is now just a few steps away from becoming law.”
Richardson said the change also will save Koster’s office about $25,000 a year, because it no longer will have to remove Missouri cell phone numbers when it gets updates from the federal “No Call” list, which already allows cell phone users to participate.
Richardson noted that his bill “specifies the No Call List would not include telephone numbers primarily used for business or commercial purposes. It also would ban solicitations through faxes, graphic images, text messages and data communications.”