JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation that would allow Missouri residents to shield their personal cellphone numbers from telemarketers sailed through the state House on Thursday.
The measure would expand the state's No Call List to cover cellphone calls and text messages — the state registry already covers landline phones. Sponsoring Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said laws blocking telemarketer calls to landlines enjoy broad public support and that it's time to extend such protections to cellphone users, as more and more people drop their landlines.
"This is about protecting the privacy of Missourians and expanding the list to serve every individual who uses a phone," Richardson said.
House members approved the measure 147-0, and it now moves to the Senate, where a similar measure already passed earlier this year.
Federal law protects cellphone users from automated "robocalls," and the federal government and Missouri attorney general's office maintain do not call lists. Backers of the Missouri bill say allowing cellphone numbers on the state registry will save the state money by simplifying the maintenance of the list.
The attorney general's office said there 2.2 million attempts last year to register a cellphone number on the No Call List, which was more than the number of attempts to register a landline phone. The figure counts those who directly contacted the attorney general's office and those who added their number to a similar federal registry from which state officials can obtain numbers.