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Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2002

House pushes no-call list

February 23, 2002

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— The House tentatively approved a bill Friday creating a state "no-call" list to protect some consumers from telemarketing after tying it to a provision on agricultural contracts.

The 74-37 vote advanced the measure to final action, set for Monday. Passage would send the bill to the Senate.

In part, the bill would let Kansans put their names on a list of people who do not want to be called by telemarketers. The Information Network of Kansas, which maintains the state's Internet site, would be in charge of the list.

Telemarketers would have to obtain updated lists from each Kansas area code every three months at a cost of up to $400 a year. If they called someone on the list, they could be sued and face fines.

Another section of the bill specifies that contracts between farmers and agribusinesses fall under the Consumer Protection Act, permitting farmers to go to court if they feel they have been abused.

Both provisions were Democratic amendments to a bill declaring that engaging in a regulated business without a proper license is a violation of the act. Debate lasted more than 90 minutes.

"Little did I envision this kind of extravaganza," said Rep. Carol Edward Beggs, R-Salina, who carried the bill in its original form into debate.

The telemarketing proposal was an amendment from Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, approved on a voice vote.

"Folks hear the same message I hear all the time, which is, 'Get these people off the phone,"' Dillmore said.

House Speaker Kent Glasscock, R-Manhattan, said the telemarketing proposal is so popular that the bill would sail through the 125-member House were it not for the agricultural contracting provision.

"It'd have 175 votes," Glasscock said. "You'd have a lot of folks wanting to vote twice on that thing."

But not all House members like the proposal. Rep. Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, questioned whether government needs to be involved.

"People ought to hang up on those people who call them," he said.

The agricultural contracting proposal, offered as amendment by Rep. Dennis McKinney, won approval on a 70-44 vote.

"It gives you some grounds to court if you're being treated unfairly by someone who has a whole lot more power than you do," said McKinney, D-Greensburg.

But critics said the state shouldn't meddle in markets and single agriculture out. Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Hays, said enacting the change would put Kansas at a disadvantage in attracting companies that want to contract with farmers.

No call bill is HB 2767.

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