WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that among other things gives the FCC more authority to levy fines of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally refuse telemarketing restrictions.
The TRACED Act would also increase the statute of limitations to three years and instructs the FCC to develop further regulations that could shield unwanted calls. In the bill, TRACED stands for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.
According to spam monitoring service Hiya, Americans received more than 26 billion robocalls last year.
The bill passed 97 to 1, with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as the only person to vote against the bill. Paul said while he thinks the calls are obnoxious, apps and phone companies can help block them.
Others say robocalls are not just a nuisance. “Even more importantly than that, a threat to elderly populations, vulnerable populations that get preyed upon by bad actors, violators of the law, scam artists,” said Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota. “And although this won’t limit all robocalling, it’ll certainly put a dent in it and that’s something I think every American will welcome.”
The bill now heads to the House, which is working on its own version.
The bill is backed by all 50 state attorneys general, the Federal Communications Commission, and other groups.