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Senator Proposes Bigger Fines For Nuisance Calls

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Sen. Charles Schumer says complaints about nuisance sales calls have risen sharply across New York and the nation because of robocalling and he's introducing legislation to sharply toughen penalties.

Citing Federal Trade Commission data, the New York Democrat says Wednesday that complaints in the Hudson Valley rose to 52,000 last year, up 400 percent from three years earlier.

Federal law has limited unsolicited sales calls by restricting hours and prohibiting calls to consumers who choose to opt out.

Schumer says that was effective for a while, but computer software enabling mass calling with recorded messages from the push of a single button has brought a resurgence.

His bill would raise the maximum possible fine from $1,500 to $20,000 per call with a new felony punishable by 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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