House Bill 1123 – Telephone Solicitation
Authored by Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington)

This bill adds the following to the list of telephone calls that are exempt from the state’s “do not call” statute: any telephone call made to a consumer by a communications service provider that has an established business relationship with the consumer, as well as any telephone call made to a consumer by a financial institution or a person licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions to engage in first lien mortgage transactions or consumer credit transactions that has an established business relationship with the consumer. The bill allows the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office to use the Consumer Protection Division Telephone Solicitation Fund to administer the statutes concerning the registration of telephone solicitors and the regulation of automatic dialing machines and to reimburse county prosecutors for expenses incurred in extraditing violators of these and other state and federal statutes concerning telephone solicitations. The bill also urges the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code study whether existing criminal penalties for violations of specified telephone solicitation statutes should be increased. Full details.

Chamber Position: Neutral (previously opposed)

The Latest: The Senate Utilities Committee heard this bill on Thursday and after much questioning of the author, it passed 10-0 and is now eligible for action on the Senate floor.

Chamber Action/Commentary: Initially, the Chamber opposed this bill because it appeared to increase penalties against an unknowing executive officer when an employee violates the telephone solicitation law. It also appeared to have a chilling effect on business-to-business transaction. However, we did not take a position on the bill in committee this week because these specific issues have been clarified by the author and the attorney general’s office. The language in Ind. Code § 24-4.7-2-2 defines consumer to mean a residential telephone subscriber. And Ind. Code §24-4.7-5-2, in conjunction with the amended bill, insulates an executive officer from liability if the person establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that they did not know and, in the exercise of reasonable care, could not have known of the violation.

Resource: Greg Ellis at (317) 264-6881 or email: [email protected]