Schatz Leads Effort to Combat Robocalls

April 14, 2019, 8:34 PM HST · Updated April 14, 8:34 PM
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Sen. Brian Schatz, the lead Democrat on the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee, led a hearing on Thursday to review the actions the federal government can take to stop illegal robocalls.

“Frustration with illegal robocalls is something that crosses state lines, party lines, and phone lines and unites Americans everywhere,” Schatz said. “Robocalls have turned us into a nation of call screeners. We only pick up when we are sure we know who’s calling. Some people just don’t make or take calls on their cell phones, or have cut their landlines because of robocalls. And despite the laws we already have in place, the deluge is getting worse.”

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As the lead Democrat on the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee, Schatz introduced the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act last year. The bill would help the Federal Communications Commission prosecute violations of robocalls by increasing the statute of limitations from one year to three. Last week, Schatz also voted to advance the TRACED Act, a bipartisan legislation designed to crack down on illegal robocall scams.

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According to Schatzʻs communications director, complaints about unwanted robocalls have increased rapidly in recent years. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 4.5 million robocall complaints, over a million more calls from the year before. The process of identifying and tracking robocall violators often takes months, making it difficult to move forward with a case under the current one-year statute of limitations.

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