Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has noted that membership on the Do Not Call registry is scheduled to expire 9/30/08, an automatic expiration date built into the rules when the FCC and FTC implemented the program in 2003. "That was not what Congress intended," said Dorgan. "As things stand today, 52M Americans will either have to re-register on 10/1/08, or get ready to hear their telephones ringing during supper time again with unwanted, commercial solicitation calls." Dorgan proposes instead the mechanism should work in the opposite, so that consumers are removed from the registry by the FCC/FTC if, and only if, they specifically request removal. His call was quickly echoed from across the aisle by Ted Stevens (R-AK), who said, "The federal ‘Do-Not-Call’ registry is a tool used by millions of people who do not want to constantly receive unwanted telemarketing calls. Consumers should not have to mark their calendars every five years to remind them to re-register their numbers on the ‘Do-Not-Call’ list." Dorgan has introduced the "Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007" (S. 2096), with a co-sponsor roster which in addition to Stevens includes Charles Schumer (D-NY), John Ensign (R-NV), John Kerry (D-MA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
RBR/TVBR observation: It’s impossible to predict the trajectory of any bill in Congress. No matter how popular or sensible it may be, you never know when someone will attach a poison pill or put an anonymous hold on a piece of legislation for reasons which are completely irrelevant to the thrust of the legislation. However, we suspect this bill to have a better than even chance of moving forward, and even though the co-sponsor list may be currently a little light on the Republican side, we doubt that Stevens’ colleagues will want to allow Democrats to produce an ad for 2008 saying "This dinnertime telemarketing interruption was brought to you by the Republican caucus of the US Senate."