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S03297 Summary:

Add 91-b, Pub Serv L
Limits robocalls to state residents and requires telephone service providers to offer free call mitigation technology to telephone customers.
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S03297 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    February 5, 2019
          KRUEGER, PARKER, PERSAUD, SANDERS, SEPULVEDA -- read twice and ordered
          printed,  and  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy
          and Telecommunications -- committee discharged, bill amended,  ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN  ACT  to  amend the public service law, in relation to limiting robo-
          calls to state residents and to require telephone service providers to
          offer free call mitigation technology to telephone customers
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the "robocall
     2  prevention act".
     3    § 2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 91-b to
     4  read as follows:
     5    § 91-b. Robocalls. 1. As used in this section:
     6    (a) "Robocall" means a call made, including a text message sent:
     7    (i) using equipment that makes a series of calls to  stored  telephone
     8  numbers,  including  numbers  stored  on a list, or to telephone numbers
     9  produced using a random or sequential number  generator,  except  for  a
    10  call  made  using  only  equipment that the caller demonstrates requires
    11  substantial additional human intervention to dial or place a call  after
    12  a human initiates the call or series of calls; or
    13    (ii) using an artificial or prerecorded voice.
    14    (b)  "Call  mitigation technology" means technology that identifies an
    15  incoming call or text message as being, or as probably being, a robocall
    16  and, on that basis, blocks the call or message, diverts it to the called
    17  person's answering system, or otherwise prevents it from being completed
    18  to the called person, except that it permits a call or text  so  identi-
    19  fied  to  be  completed  when  it  is  identified as being made by a law
    20  enforcement or public safety entity, or when it is identified as  origi-
    21  nating from a caller with respect to whom the called person has provided
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 3297--A                          2
     1  prior  express  consent  to  receive  such a call or message and has not
     2  revoked that consent.
     3    (c)  "Prior  express  consent"  means  agreement  provided by a called
     4  person to allow the caller to make a robocall  to  the  called  person's
     5  telephone, in relation to the specific subject matter for which the call
     6  is made.
     7    2. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to make any robo-
     8  call  other  than  a  call  made for emergency purposes or made with the
     9  prior express consent of the called party, to any telephone number owned
    10  by a person or entity in the state. A customer's prior  express  consent
    11  can  be  revoked  by  the customer at any time in any reasonable manner,
    12  regardless of the context in which the owner or user  of  the  telephone
    13  provided consent.
    14    (b)  The  commission  shall  prescribe  regulations  to  implement the
    15  provisions of this subdivision, and may exempt from the requirements  of
    16  this  subdivision,  subject  to  such  conditions  as the commission may
    17  prescribe, calls made to a residential telephone line that are not  made
    18  for a commercial purpose.
    19    3. (a) A telephone service provider that provides telephone service to
    20  customers  residing  in  the state shall make call mitigation technology
    21  available to any such customer,  upon  request,  and  at  no  additional
    22  charge.  Such provider shall also offer to any such customer the ability
    23  to have the provider prevent calls and text messages identified as orig-
    24  inating from a particular person from  being  completed  to  the  called
    25  person, upon request, and at no additional charge.
    26    (b)  The  commission  shall  prescribe  regulations  to  implement the
    27  requirements of this subdivision, including, if appropriate,  a  reason-
    28  able  delay  in requiring implementation and offering of call mitigation
    29  technology  if  for  good  cause,  taking  into  account  the   consumer
    30  protection  purposes  of  this  section,  and  including  procedures for
    31  addressing incidents in which a call wanted by the customer is prevented
    32  from reaching the customer.
    33    4. (a) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an  appli-
    34  cation  may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people of
    35  the state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction to issue
    36  an injunction, and upon notice to the defendant of not  less  than  five
    37  days,  to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such violations; and if
    38  it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court or  justice,  that  the
    39  defendant  has,  in  fact,  violated  this  section an injunction may be
    40  issued by such court or justice enjoining and  restraining  any  further
    41  violation,  without  requiring  proof that any person has, in fact, been
    42  injured or damaged thereby. In any such proceeding, the court  may  make
    43  allowances  to  the  attorney  general  as  provided in paragraph six of
    44  subdivision (a) of section eighty-three hundred three of the civil prac-
    45  tice law and rules, and direct restitution.  Whenever  the  court  shall
    46  determine  that  a  violation  of  subdivision  two  of this section has
    47  occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty  of  not  more  than  two
    48  thousand  dollars  per call, up to a total of not more than twenty thou-
    49  sand dollars, for calls placed in violation of such subdivision within a
    50  continuous seventy-two hour period. In connection with any such proposed
    51  application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a
    52  determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance
    53  with the civil practice law and rules.
    54    (b) In addition to the right of action granted to the attorney general
    55  pursuant to this section, any  person  harmed  by  a  violation  of  the
    56  provisions  of  subdivision  two  of this section, or of any regulations

        S. 3297--A                          3
     1  promulgated by the commission relating to this  section,  may  bring  an
     2  action in any court of competent jurisdiction:
     3    (i) to enjoin such violation; and/or
     4    (ii)  to  recover  for  actual monetary loss from such violation or to
     5  receive five hundred dollars in damages for such violation, whichever is
     6  greater.
     7    (c) If the court finds  that  the  defendant  willfully  or  knowingly
     8  violated  the provisions of subdivision two of this section or any regu-
     9  lations prescribed hereunder, the court may, in its discretion, increase
    10  the amount of the monetary award to an amount equal  to  not  more  than
    11  three  times  the  amount  available  pursuant  to paragraph (b) of this
    12  subdivision.
    13    (d) No action to recover damages for a violation of the provisions  of
    14  this  section  may  be  brought  more  than four years after the alleged
    15  violation occurred.
    16    § 3. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day  after  it  shall
    17  have  become  a  law.    Effective  immediately, the addition, amendment
    18  and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation
    19  of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made
    20  and completed on or before such effective date.
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