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UPDATE: Missouri Senate votes to add cellphones to No Call List

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 7:27 p.m. CDT; updated 7:36 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 15, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation allowing Missouri residents to add their cellphone numbers to the state's no-call list for telemarketers is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

The measure would prohibit most solicitations by phone call or text message to cellphones placed on the list, which Nixon helped implement when he served as Missouri attorney general.

A spokesman for Nixon did not immediately return a message seeking the governor's comment about the measure.

The Senate gave the bill final approval Tuesday in a unanimous vote. The House passed it last month.

In an interview in his Capitol office after the bill passed, Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, said the legislation is especially important because many people are moving away from landline telephones and using their cellphone as their primary phone. He said expanding the registry would protect the privacy of Missouri residents and would not interfere with the free-speech rights of companies to advertise their products.

"I see this as a personal, individual phone," Kraus said, picking up his own cellphone off of his desk. "I see this as a privacy right, and I don't want to be harassed with advertising."

The federal government already includes cellphone numbers on its no-call list.

The Missouri attorney general's office maintains the state's version of the telemarketing black-out list. That office has reported getting 150 to 200 calls a week from people complaining about telemarketing calls to cellphones or seeking to add the numbers to the list.

Current Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, praised passage of the legislation Tuesday.

"Twelve years ago, passage of the no-call law saved the dinner hour in this state," Koster said in a statement after the Senate vote. "Today's action will preserve the privacy of Missourians for a new technological era."

Similar proposals that passed the Senate earlier in the session also sought to ban unwanted automated phone calls, called "robocalls." A bill banning such calls passed the Senate but the provisions related to robocalls were removed by a House utilities committee. That bill has not yet been debated by the full House. The legislation passed Tuesday did not contain any provisions related to robocalls.


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