A Senate bill would add text messages and solicitations for charitable contributions to violations of the state’s no-call list.
A person or business could face a $7,500 civil fine for each violation under Senate Bill 2821.
“I know this is a difficult area to police,” said Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, author of the “Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act.”
But Doty said it could help the Public Service Commission in its effort to reduce such calls.
PSC Chairman Brandon Presley said Friday the changes are needed.
“Mississippians are sick and tired of these callers,” Presley said. “They are predators.”
Jackson resident Cecelia Louisville agrees. “I receive a lot of them. And when you say you are not interested, they hang up. I think it will be great to have this legislation.”
Presley said there are 1,675,699 people on the landline no-call list and 300,000 cell numbers.
PSC is currently investigating 95,659 complaints, Presley said.
Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, said the calls are a nuisance. He and others receive such calls daily.
There are also bills in the House and Senate to allow civil action against caller ID spoofing, where fake numbers show up on caller ID.
On July 1, 2016, the PSC began registering cellphone numbers.
To register your number on the no-call list, go to www.psc.state.ms.us or call 1-800-356-6430.
PSC’s specialists try to track down telemarketers and others making these calls. The PSC cannot stop every call, because some are exempt from the law, and some are from foreign countries where the state agency doesn’t have jurisdiction, officials said.
The telemarketing calls exempted from the law are:
- An entity that does not make the major sales presentation during the call.
- An entity that does not try to complete the sale during the call.
- An entity with no intent to complete the sale on the call, but arranges a face-to-face meeting with the consumer to complete the sale
- Mississippi licensed real estate agents.
- Mississippi licensed motor vehicle dealers.
- Mississippi licensed insurance agents.
- Registered securities brokers and investment advisers.
- Registered charitable organizations or callers on their behalf that receive no compensation.
- Financial institutions with a physical location in Mississippi that are subject to supervision by an official state or federal agency.
- Mississippi licensed funeral homes, cemeteries or monument dealers.
- Any telemarketer who has an established business relationship (existing or within the last six months) with the person being called.