Kentucky lawmakers hope a bill they approved Wednesday will stop the annoying telemarketing practice of “spoofing,” which makes calls appear as though they’re coming from a local phone number.
House Bill 84, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, requires that telephone solicitors either list their true phone number or leave it as unknown. It now awaits a signature or veto by Gov. Matt Bevin.
The measure makes the first offense a Class B misdemeanor, subject to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine. Each subsequent offense would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.
“With passage of this legislation, we are sending a clear signal that predatory telemarketing practices have no place in our commonwealth,” Bratcher said in a news release. “This bill will provide much-needed protections for our citizens against deceptive solicitors, and I am proud to see it pass on a broad, bipartisan basis.”
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The Senate approved the bill on a 37-0 vote and the House vote was 94-2.
HB 84 provides exemptions for police investigations, domestic violence or a need to protect the identity of a whistleblower.
It also gives private attorneys the ability to go after perpetrators, in addition to the state attorney general and Commonwealth’s attorneys.
Attorney General Andy Beshear backed the bill, but some prosecutors have said it will be difficult to enforce, since most of the calls probably aren’t originating in Kentucky.