Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

Adkins criticized for no-call claim

July 26, 2002


— As he campaigns for attorney general, Sen. David Adkins portrays himself as the author of a new law designed to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls.

But two other senators said Thursday that Adkins was misleading voters and what lawmakers passed bears little resemblance to a proposal Adkins championed.

Adkins dismissed the criticism as politically motivated, suggested some colleagues were jealous and defended his claim to authorship of the law, which took effect July 1.

The debate added to the rancor between supporters of Adkins, a moderate, and backers of former state Rep. Phill Kline, a conservative. Also on the Aug. 6 primary ballot is Charles McAtee, a Topeka attorney, who has remained largely above their fight.

Meanwhile, as Adkins and opponents argued publicly, Kansas still does not have a no-call list, unlike Missouri and other states.

The law said consumers not wanting to receive telemarketing calls could sign up for a list administered by an industry group, the Direct Marketing Assn.

The Attorney General's Office was to negotiate a contract with the DMA. But the two were unable to agree and the attorney general's office is now seeking another group to maintain the list.

"We're hoping to be able to announce something around mid-August," said Mark Ohlemeier, a spokesman for the office.

Sens. Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe, and Stan Clark, R-Oakley, both conservatives, said Adkins cannot claim authorship because he sponsored an alternative proposal rejected by the Senate.

That proposal would have created a no-call list administered by the attorney general. But it was opposed by the telemarketing industry.

Brownlee, Clark and other critics of the Adkins proposal thought it would be too expensive and create a new bureaucracy. Kline said he supported a previous, weaker law that only encouraged the state to educate consumers about the DMA list.

Both said the industry-backed bill was radically different from Adkins' plan.

Clark called Adkins' claim of authorship "a fraud."

Brownlee said: "It's very dishonest of him to claim he authored this."

But Adkins was among those who negotiated the final version of the bill. He said that gave him proper claim to authorship.

"They pretty much deferred to me on the final proposal," he said. "I think the bill was substantially in the form we wanted. It looks nothing like the Senate version of the bill."

Brownlee and Clark scoffed at Adkins' comments, given that the final version called for a DMA-administered no-call list.

"It was probably the opposite of what he wanted," Brownlee said.

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