Legislature(2003 - 2004)
05/07/2004 08:44 AM Senate FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 15(JUD) "An Act relating to fair trade practices and consumer protection, to telephone solicitations, to charitable solicitations; and providing for an effective date." This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance Committee. Co-Chair Wilken stated that this legislation, sponsored by Representative Bud Fate, "would establish specific guidelines for telemarketers operating in the State." He noted that CS HB 15 (JUD), Version 23-LS0058\X and its accompanying fiscal notes, is before the Committee. REPRESENTATIVE BUD FATE, the bill's sponsor, stated that his staff would present testimony on the bill. JIM POUND, Staff to Representative Bud Fate, explained that the intent of this bill is to address the number of telemarketing phone calls that people receive during the evening dinner hour. He stated that similarly fashioned federal legislation, referred to as the National No-Call List, has been developed, and that this bill has been modified to align with those federal regulations. One of those modifications, he continued, would "allow the [State's] Department of Law to enforce the federal statutes" and additionally "would allow Alaskans to be able to have a local or in-State contact," rather than a federal contact through which to file a complaint. Technical Amendment #1: This amendment deletes "exemption provided by (a)(11)" and inserts "written disclosure required by (a)(11)(B)" in Section 22, subsection (b) on page ten, line seven. The amended language would read as follows. (b) The written disclosure required by (a)(11)(B) of this section does not apply to a sale of a magazine subscription by a publisher or a publisher's agent operating under a written agreement between a publisher and the agent Co-Chair Wilken moved to adopt Amendment #1 and objected for discussion. Mr. Pound stated that this technical amendment is required to correct a drafting error that occurred when an amendment pertaining to publishers of magazine and periodical sales was incorporated into the Senate Judiciary Committee committee substitute. He noted that the intent of the amendment was to address the bill's written notice of cancellation requirements regarding a transaction that occurs with an existing customer or were the billing, which is routinely conducted with a credit card, to be accompanied by an 800 number reflected on the credit card charge on one's statement. This toll-free number, he continued, would enable an individual to contract the vendor to discuss the charge. Therefore, he stated, the adoption of this amendment would address these written disclosure requirements and correct the drafting error that might serve to classify the sale of these items as a felony under other existing statutes. SUSAN BURKE, Attorney representing Magazine Publishers of America, noted that collaborative efforts with the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Law have resulted in acceptable compromises. She agreed that this amendment would correct a drafting error and that her client supports the amendment. Co-Chair Wilken withdrew his objection to Amendment #1. There being no further objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED. Co-Chair Wilken asked for further information regarding the effects of the bill. Mr. Pound explained that this legislation would "localize" this issue and provide the State's Department of Law more control regarding telemarketer issues. He stated that this bill would require telemarketers operating in the State to register with the Department of Law, would allow consumer complaints to be addressed at the State rather than federal level "which should be quicker and a little more personal," and would allow Alaskans to register on the National Do-Not-Call List. He noted that the establishment of the National Do-Not-Call List eliminated the need to establish an Alaskan Do-Not-Call registry. Senator Dyson asked whether non-profit agencies such as the Salvation Army or political campaigns would be affected by this legislation. Mr. Pound responded that this legislation would not affect non- profits or political entities. Senator Dyson asked whether "significant issue" non-profit organizations would be affected. Mr. Pound understood that those organizations would be recognized as a political entity. Senator Dyson questioned whether non-profit fund-raising endeavors would be allowed. Mr. Pound responded that all non-profits would be exempt from this legislation. Senator Dyson asked for confirmation that this would include political organizations. Mr. Pound concurred. Senator Dyson asked regarding "the common denominator for the exemption list" as referred to in Section 21 on page seven of the bill. Mr. Pound explained that the exemption language pertains to registration and registration fees. He noted that the entities specified in that section would be required to meet the requirements of the national Do-Not-Call list. Senator Dyson characterized the list of exempted entities as "quite extensive." Mr. Pound noted that the section, which occurs in existing regulation, was originally included in the bill as the result of a minor Department of Law drafting change request. However, he noted that this "exemption section" has evolved into one of the most contentious sections of the bill. Senator Bunde moved to report the bill, as amended, from Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objections, SCS CS HB 15(FIN) was REPORTED from Committee with zero fiscal note #4, dated February 13, 2004 from the Department of Community and Economic Development and zero fiscal note #5, dated February 23, 2004 from the Department of Law.