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Washington AG wants lawmakers to update robocall law in '23 session

Don Adams, of TV's "Get Smart."
Wikipedia; believed to be in public domain
Don Adams, of TV's "Get Smart."

Washington’s attorney general is teaming up with a state lawmaker to propose a law that would tighten protections against robocalls, and impose punishment for violations.

The state already has a law regarding robocalls, but Attorney General Bob Ferguson calls it weak and outdated. Ferguson’s office said this week Washingtonians received 616 million robocalls last year; nearly half of them were scams. And those scams, the attorney general said, ended up bilking some 835,000 people in the state.

The proposal Ferguson is taking to the state legislature next month would:

  • Make it illegal to robocall someone who is listed on the Do Not Call Registry.
  • Outlaw deliberately falsifying caller ID information to fool the recipient.
  • Open the possibility of civil action against voice service providers that knowingly facilitate illegal robocalls.

Ferguson said he wants the legislature to give him the tools necessary to reduce the “daily bombardment” of spam calls, and for his office to pursue those who break the law.
Ferguson also said his focus is on illegal and spam robocalls; not routine calls to subscribers or business customers who consent to receiving automated messages.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.