The Kentucky House of Representatives voted unanimously this week for State Rep. Gerald Watkins’ legislation that would stop the selling of wireless phone numbers without the individual subscriber’s written consent.
“This will potentially benefit every Kentuckian with a cell phone, but we’re especially going after the unscrupulous telemarketers who target the elderly and other vulnerable citizens,” said Watkins, of Paducah. “This is not a political issue, but it means a lot to me that my bill drew support from both sides of the aisle in the House. I’m hoping we can get this through the Senate in short order.”
During his remarks on the House floor, Watkins said that despite being on the national Do Not Call registry for years, he had had his own cell number sold to others without his consent, resulting in numerous unwanted calls the telemarketers refused to stop. He reached out to the Attorney General’s office, which discovered the numbers were effectively untraceable to those who had used them.
House Bill 413 would toughen the penalties for those that sell mobile numbers without the subscriber’s written permission. Fines could range between $1,000 and $10,000 for each violation. The bill would not penalize carriers if the numbers are stolen, nor would it stop carriers from providing numbers to affiliates, directory providers or others for the purpose of improving service to their wireless customers.
Watkins said that AT&T, the Kentucky Telecom Association and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office were involved to make sure the bill did not hinder normal commerce.
His bill will now be considered by the state Senate.