Gov. Doyle: Doyle, Erpenbach Call for Legislation Reinstating Strong Penalties for No Call List Violators
Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156
Senator Jon Erpenbach, 608-266-6670
Glen Loyd, Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection, 608-224-5007
Also Urge Residents to Re-register for List Before it Expires
MILWAUKEE - Governor Jim Doyle and Senator Jon Erpenbach announced today that they will seek legislation to reinstate a $10,000 penalty for violators of the state's model No Call List and restore the right of citizens to sue companies that violate the law. They also urged the 1.5 million Wisconsin residents currently on the list to sign up again before September 1, 2004. To ensure the accuracy of the list, sign up is required every two years, or names are dropped from the list.
A Dane County Circuit Court decision on June 29, 2004 upheld the basic provisions of the No Call law, but struck down the penalties.
"Every Wisconsin family has had the experience of being interrupted at dinner by annoying, unwanted sales calls," Governor Doyle said. "This law gives individuals the power to protect themselves and their family time from these calls, but it only works if it has teeth behind it. I will work with Senator Erpenbach to pass legislation ensuring that our state's law continues to be the strongest in the nation."
"Wisconsin's No Call List is one of the toughest in the nation. We have kept out special interests and put consumers' rights first. While the courts kept in place our policy of no exemptions for telemarketers who call for profit, they hurt our enforcement," Senator Erpenbach said. "While I expect special interest opposition to changes in the law, Wisconsin citizens are on our side."
When the No Call law was passed, then Governor McCallum vetoed the higher penalties. Under Governor Doyle, the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) used its authority under other statutes to provide stronger penalties. The Dane County Circuit Court ruled in June that the stronger penalties created by the Doyle Administration were improper because former Governor McCallum had vetoed similar measures as part of the original No Call law.
Governor Doyle and Senator Erpenbach also reiterated their opposition to any action by the federal government to pre-empt Wisconsin's No Call List with the weaker, federal Do-Not-Call Registry.
"The federal government has no legal authority to pre-empt Wisconsin's law, yet they have threatened to try. We must stand strong because Wisconsin's law prevents many calls the federal registry does not," Senator Erpenbach said. "In Wisconsin, telemarketers can only call current clients, but the federal registry allows unlimited calls to former clients for 18 months. That's a long time to get harassed by a company you choose to leave."
"Wisconsin's No Call List is a model for the country, but we shouldn't have to sacrifice our standards just because the federal registry doesn't work as well as ours," Governor Doyle said. "Senator Erpenbach and I will continue to fight for the strong protections offered by Wisconsin's list."
Residents Must Sign Up for List Again
Many Wisconsin residents may be unaware that under the No Call law, residents must sign up every two years or their registration expires. Governor Doyle and Senator Erpenbach urged Wisconsin residents to renew their registrations by September 1, 2004 to avoid being subjected to unwanted calls.
Registration is free, and can be done by calling 1-866-966-2255 or by signing up at NoCall.Wisconsin.gov. The date a consumer signs up determines the date when the telemarketing calls should decrease. An updated No Call List is given to registered telemarketers quarterly. Therefore, it may take 30 to 120 days for newly registered numbers to get to telemarketers.
Governor Doyle has been a strong supporter of Wisconsin's No Call List for many years, and has directed DATCP to aggressively implement the law. Senator Erpenbach authored the legislation in the 2001 legislative session creating the No Call List that was eventually included in the biennial budget that year.