State Telemarketing Laws Popping Up Around the Country

TCPA Connect

Florida’s passage of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) state law analogue appears to have started a trend, with similar bills introduced in Georgia, Oklahoma and Washington.

In 2021, Florida enacted a new law that amended the Florida Do Not Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act, tightening the restrictions on callers, limiting the number of calls that can be made within a 24-hour period, creating prohibited calling times, establishing a private right of action for violations, and adding attorneys’ fees and costs in favor of the consumer.

Lawsuits quickly followed.

Now other states are moving to enact similar legislation.

Oklahoma’s proposal, the Telephone Solicitation Act of 2022, which passed the House last week, largely tracks the Florida legislation, with an expansive definition of “autodialer.” It would prohibit “a telephonic sales call to be made if such call involves an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers … without prior express written consent of the called party.” The bill does exempt calls made to consumers where an existing business relationship exists.

In addition, it permits no more than three calls in a 24-hour period, with calls only permitted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The bill also contains a rebuttable presumption that a call made to any area code in the state is made to an Oklahoma resident or to a person in the state at the time of the call, as well as a provision creating a private right of action with recovery of actual damages or $500 per violation (trebled for willful or knowing violations).

The state’s House of Representatives approved the bill, sending it to the state Senate on March 15, 2022. If enacted the measure would take effect on Nov. 1, 2022.

Other states have taken a slightly different approach.

Both Georgia and Washington are currently considering legislation that would create a private right of action for violations of the state’s Do Not Call Registry rules, with recovery of actual damages or $1,000 per violation.

In Georgia, Senate Bill 364 remains pending in the House of Representatives after being passed by the Senate on February 14; Washington’s House Bill 1650 passed the House and is now being considered by the state Senate.

While other states around the country jump on the telemarketing law bandwagon, Florida’s lawmakers have already had second thoughts about their law changes. Multiple bills were introduced during the 2022 legislative term to amend the 2021 law, including one that would have narrowed the definition of the term “autodialer” with retroactive effect. However, now that the state’s legislative session has ended for the year, the Florida law remains in effect—and continues to spawn imitations.

To read the Oklahoma bill, click here.

To read the Georgia bill, click here.

To read the Washington bill, click here.

Why it matters: Following Facebook v. Duguid, Florida was the first state to attempt to fill the void created by the Supreme Court of the United States’ narrower reading of the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system.” As we predicted in our Florida Mini-TCPA webinar, similar state laws have proliferated post-Facebook, and this groundswell may continue, unless or until such laws are stopped by constitutional challenges like those presently plaguing the Florida law.

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