SECTION 1. Chapter 159C of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 5 sections:-
Section 15. As used in sections 15 to 18, inclusive, the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Hands-free mobile telephone”, shall have the same meaning as set forth in section l of chapter 90.
“Mobile electronic device”, shall have the same meaning as set forth in section l of chapter 90.
“Mobile telephone”, shall have the same meaning as set forth in section l of chapter 90.
“Robocall”, an automated phone call that uses both a computerized auto-dialer and a computer-delivered pre-recorded message.
Section 16. (a) All robocalls shall be prohibited in the commonwealth to any hands-free mobile telephones, mobile electronic devices and mobile telephones as defined in section 15.
(b) This section shall not apply to: (1) messages from school districts to students, parents or employees; (2) messages advising employees of work schedules; (3) messages on behalf of correctional facilities advising victims; (4) messages on behalf of municipalities and government; (5) messages concerning the care, services or supplies related to the health of an individual; or (6) non-marketing messages from public utilities or telecommunications service providers.
Section 17. (a) A consumer may file a complaint with the office of consumer affairs and business regulation or the attorney general on a violation of section 16. The office of consumer affairs and business regulation and the attorney general may investigate any compliant filed or independently investigate any entity engaged in robocalls in the Commonwealth. If the office of consumer affairs and business regulation or the attorney general after an investigation finds that allowing an entity whose continuation of robocalls will cause harm may seek injuctive relief.
(b) Any violation of section 16 shall be a fine of not less than $10,000 for each knowing violation, but not less than $15,000 for each knowing violation involving a consumer who is 65 years of age or older.
(c) A person who has received more than 1 robocall within a 12-month period by or on behalf of the same person or entity in violation of section 16 may initiate an action against said person or entity pursuant to chapter 93A and may seek injunctive relief.
Section 18. The office of consumer affairs and business regulation and the attorney general shall provide information to consumers through its website on how a consumer can file a complaint regarding robocalls; provided further that, the office of consumer affairs and the attorney general shall provide educational awareness and prevention materials consumers can utilize to address robocalls.
Section 19. The office of consumer affairs and business regulation shall report annually to the joint committee on consumer protection and professional licensure and the house and senate clerks; provided further that, such report shall include but not limited to the following findings: (1) the number of complaints; (2) the type and nature of the robocalls; (3) the entities or persons whom the complaints were against; (4) investigations or actions taken by the office or the attorney general’s office; (5) comparison of the FTC’s robocall complaint data on Massachusetts residents with findings from the office of consumer affairs and business regulation; and (6) any other relative data pertaining to robocall telephone solicitors, complainants, or additional findings that may offer insight and preventative measures to address robocalls in the Commonwealth.
Section 20. Sections 15 to 17, inclusive, shall not apply to any outbound telephone call that delivers a prerecorded healthcare message made by, or on behalf of, a covered entity or its business associate, as those terms are defined in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 45 CFR § 160.103.
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