December 11, 2019

Crapo, Klobuchar Robocall Bill Clears Key Senate Committee

Senate Commerce Committee sends DART Act to full Senate

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)’s legislation to help stop unwanted robocalls has gained the support of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.  Crapo and Klobuchar introduced S. 2204, the Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act, to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report to Congress on the effectiveness of call blocking programs.  This legislation gives Congress a voice in protecting constituents from illegal, annoying robocalls. 

“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.” 

“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.” 

The DART Act would give Congress oversight on the implementation of call blocking technology and ensure that critical safety and emergency calls are handled properly.  The bill would prevent the following types of numbers from being blocked:

  • 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. 

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee passed the legislation out of the Committee as a substitute amendment.  Text of the legislation, as passed today, can be found HERE

Senator Crapo has supported additional efforts in Congress to combat robocalls.  Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, of which Crapo is a co-sponsor.  It awaits further action on the Senate floor.  The TRACED Act mandates the adoption of caller identification authentication technology and increases civil penalties for violating anti-robocall statutes in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  

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