A bill that would stifle unsolicited telemarketing phone calls that plague Florida phone lines cleared its final hurdle on Wednesday.
The legislation (SB 1120) passed unanimously in the House with a 115-0 vote. The measure, a substituted version of HB 1307, seeks to curb the epidemic of spam phone calls that plague Floridians by limiting telephone solicitors to three calls in a 24-hour period. The bill would also impose a penalty of up to $500 for those in violation.
The barrage of robocalls, many of which come from scammers attempting to fleece people out of money, has led many to simply not answer their phone when the caller id displays ‘unknown.’ While not all acts of telemarketing are illegal, consumers often associate the practice with fraudulent activity, scams, and identity theft.
According to a recent survey conducted by Hiya, three out of four Americans said they were targeted by phone fraudsters over the past year.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic State Senator Audrey Gibson, called the bombardment of calls “harassment.”
The bipartisan bill was also spearheaded by State Representative Mike Beltran who carried the House’s side of the legislation. The Hillsborough Republican touted the final version of the bill, adding that it will help curtail unwanted phone calls.
“I’m very pleased we were able to strengthen the remedies in the bill,” Beltran told The Capitolist after the legislature hammered out both bills. “I am confident that this legislation will reduce annoying telephone sales calls going forward.”
Joining Gibson and Beltran in limiting the invasion of Florida phones is Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. A strong advocate of the legislation since its inception, Patronis lauded today’s passage, noting the heavy lifting it took to move it across the finish line.
“With Floridians spending more time on their devices than ever before, criminals have pivoted to technology to defraud consumers. Unsolicited telemarketing calls are more than just a nuisance – they are a vehicle for fraud and scams nationwide,” Patronis said. “I was proud to champion this important bill that will help protect consumers and put an end to scam artists trying to prey on Florida families. A huge thank you to President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls, Senator Gibson, Senator Gruters and Representative Beltran for working to protect Floridians.”
The proposal will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis for approval.