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AB-3007 Telecommunications: automatic dialing-announcing devices: call mitigation technology.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/06/2020 09:00 PM
AB3007:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 06, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 3007


Introduced by Assembly Member Chau

February 21, 2020


An act to amend Sections 2871, 2872, 2873, and 2875.5 of, and to add Section 2882 to, of the Public Utilities Code, relating to telecommunications.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3007, as amended, Chau. Telecommunications: automatic dialing-announcing devices: call mitigation technology.
Existing law authorizes the Public Utilities Commission to control and regulate the use of automatic dialing-announcing devices, which existing law defines as automatic equipment that incorporates a storage capability of telephone numbers to be called, or a random or sequential number generator capable of producing numbers to be called, and the capability to disseminate a prerecorded message to the telephone number called. Existing law prohibits a person from operating an automatic dialing-announcing device except for specified purposes and uses, including to transmit a message to an established business associate, customer, or other person having an established relationship with the person using the automatic dialing-announcing device to transmit the message or to call a recipient at the recipient’s request. Existing law prohibits a person operating an automatic dialing-announcing device from making a telephone connection for which no person, acting as an agent or telemarketer, is available for the person called.
This bill would instead define “automatic dialing-announcing devices” for these purposes as automatic equipment that stores and automatically calls, or automatically sends text messages to, telephone numbers without significant human involvement in the act of calling or sending, that generates in a random or sequential order and calls, or sends text messages to, telephone numbers without significant human involvement in the act of calling or sending, that makes telephone calls that include artificial or prerecorded voice messages, or that sends text messages that include prewritten text messages. The bill would repeal the authorization for the use of automatic dialing-announcing devices to make calls pursuant to an established business relationship or the recipient’s request.
Existing law authorizes the use of automatic dialing-announcing devices pursuant to a prior agreement between the persons involved, whereby the person called has consented to receive the call.
This bill would specifically authorize the person called to revoke that consent at any time and in any reasonable manner, regardless of the context in which the consent was provided. The bill would establish a presumption of consent by a recipient of a telephone call, using an automatic dialing-announcing device, made to a telephone number selected from stored numbers obtained from a list of registered voters, to immediately connect the recipient with a person waiting to be connected for a live-voice communication regarding the recipient’s plans to vote in an election, as specified.

Under existing law, the commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law, with specified exceptions, directs the commission to require any call identification service offered by a telephone corporation, or by any other person or corporation that makes use of the facilities of a telephone corporation, to allow a caller to withhold, on an individual basis, the display of the caller’s telephone number from the telephone instrument of the individual receiving the call. Existing law prohibits a caller from withholding the display of the caller’s business telephone number when that number is being used for telemarketing purposes.

This bill would require telephone corporations, upon request, and at no additional charge, to make technology that mitigates consumer impacts of automatic dialing-announcing devices, as specified, available to customers and to offer to customers an option to have the telephone corporation prevent calls and text messages originating from a particular source. The bill would require the commission to implement those requirements, and authorize the commission to reasonably delay the imposition of those requirements, as specified. The bill would authorize a person harmed by a violation of those requirements, or of the applicable rules established by the commission, to bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the violation, and to recover any actual monetary loss from the violation or receive $500 in damages, whichever is greater. The bill would also authorize the court to impose up to treble damages for a willful or knowing violation of those requirements.

Under existing law, a violation of an order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because a violation of an order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission implementing the bill’s requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 2871 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

2871.
 (a) As used in this article, “automatic dialing-announcing device” means any automatic equipment that does any of the following:
(1) Stores telephone numbers and automatically calls, or automatically sends text messages to, telephone numbers taken from those stored telephone numbers, without significant human involvement in the act of calling or sending.
(2) Generates telephone numbers in a random or sequential order and calls, or sends text messages to, telephone numbers taken from the telephone numbers generated, without significant human involvement in the act of calling or sending.
(3) Makes telephone calls or sends text messages that otherwise include artificial or prerecorded voice or prewritten text messages.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that “automatic dialing-announcing device” be interpreted so as to prevent the exclusion of automatic equipment designed to evade the requirements of this article.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2872 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

2872.
 (a) The connection of automatic dialing-announcing devices to a telephone line is subject to this article and to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission.
(b) A person shall not operate an automatic dialing-announcing device except in accordance with this article. The use of such a device by any person, either individually or acting as an officer, agent, or employee of a person or corporation operating automatic dialing-announcing devices, is subject to this article.
(c)  A person shall not operate an automatic dialing-announcing device in this state to place a call that is received by a telephone in this state during the hours between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. California time.
(d) This article does not prohibit the use of an automatic dialing-announcing device by any person exclusively on behalf of any of the following:
(1) A school for purposes of contacting parents or guardians of pupils regarding attendance.
(2) An exempt organization under the Corporation Tax Law (Part 11 (commencing with Section 23001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code) for purposes of contacting its members.
(3) A privately owned or publicly owned cable television system for purposes of contacting customers or subscribers regarding the previously arranged installation of facilities on the premises of the customer or subscriber.
(4) A privately owned or publicly owned public utility for purposes of contacting customers or subscribers regarding the previously arranged installation of facilities on the premises of the customer or subscriber or for purposes of contacting employees for emergency actions or repairs required for public safety or to restore services.
(5) A petroleum refinery, chemical processing plant, or nuclear powerplant for purposes of advising residents, public service agencies, and the news media in its vicinity of an actual or potential life-threatening emergency.
(e) (1) This article does not prohibit law enforcement agencies, fire protection agencies, public health agencies, public environmental health agencies, city or county emergency services planning agencies, or any private for-profit agency operating under contract with, and at the direction of, one or more of these agencies, from placing calls through automatic dialing-announcing devices, if those devices are used for any of the following purposes:
(A) Providing public service information relating to public safety.
(B) Providing information concerning police or fire emergencies.
(C) Providing warnings of impending or threatened emergencies.
(D) Testing all modes of 911 emergency telephone systems, including basic 911 telephone services as described in Section 53107 of the Government Code, enhanced 911 emergency telephone services as described in Section 53119 of the Government Code, Next Generation 911 emergency communication systems as described in Section 53121 of the Government Code, and similar 911 technologies, for data accuracy and emergency alert notification system capabilities.
(2) Calls authorized by this subdivision shall not be subject to Section 2874.
(f) The commission may determine any question of fact arising under this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2873 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

2873.
 (a) Automatic dialing-announcing devices may be used to place calls over telephone lines only pursuant to a prior agreement between the persons involved, whereby the person called has expressly consented to receive such calls from the person calling, or as specified in subdivision (b) and Section 2874. A person’s consent may be revoked at any time and in any reasonable manner, regardless of the context in which the consent was provided.
(b) A telephone call, using an automatic dialing-announcing device, made to a telephone number selected from stored numbers obtained from a list of registered voters, to immediately connect the recipient of the call with a person waiting to be connected for a live-voice communication regarding the recipient’s plans to vote in a federal, state, or local election, shall be presumed to have the consent of the recipient, provided that the recipient, or the person to whom the number has been assigned, may easily revoke consent by any reasonable means in accordance with this section.

SEC. 4.

 Section 2875.5 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

2875.5.
 (a) On and after July 1, 2002, a person operating an automatic dialing-announcing device shall not make a telephone connection for which no person, acting as an agent or telemarketer, is available for the person called.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission shall establish an acceptable error rate for telephone connections made in violation of subdivision (a). The commission shall determine the error rate, if any, before July 1, 2002.
(c) The commission may require any person operating an automatic dialing-announcing device to maintain records of telephone connections made for which no person, acting as an agent or telemarketer, is available for the person called. The commission may require copies of those records to be submitted to the commission.

SEC. 5.Section 2882 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:
2882.

(a)Each telephone corporation that provides telephone service to customers residing in the state shall make call mitigation technology available to any such customer, upon request, and at no additional charge. The telephone corporation shall also offer to the customer an option to have the telephone corporation prevent calls and text messages originating from a particular source from being completed to the customer, upon request, and at no additional charge.

(b)The commission shall implement the requirements of this section.

(c)The commission may do either of the following:

(1)Reasonably delay the imposition of this section’s requirements for good cause and taking into account the consumer protection purposes of this section.

(2)Establish procedures for addressing incidents in which a call that was wanted by a customer is prevented from reaching the customer.

(d)(1)A person harmed by a violation of this section, or of the rules established by the commission pursuant to this section, may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to do one or both of the following:

(A)To enjoin such a violation.

(B)To recover any actual monetary loss from, or receive five hundred dollars ($500) in damages for, such a violation, whichever is greater.

(2)If a court finds that a defendant willfully or knowingly violated this section, or the rules established by the commission pursuant to this section, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the monetary damages awarded to an amount equal to not more than three times the amount available pursuant to paragraph (1).

(e)An action to recover damages for a violation of this section, or the rules established by the commission pursuant to this section, shall not be brought more than four years after the alleged violation occurred.

(f)For purposes of this section, “call mitigation technology” means technology that identifies an incoming call or text message as being, or as probably being, from an automatic dialing-announcing device as defined in Section 2871, and, on that basis, blocks the call or message, diverts it to the called person’s answering system, or otherwise prevents it from being completed to the called person, except that it permits a call or text so identified to be completed when it is identified as being made by a law enforcement or public safety entity, or when it is identified as originating from a caller with respect to whom the called person has provided prior express consent to receive such a call or message and has not revoked that consent.

SEC. 6.SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.