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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4133        FILED ON: 11/16/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3858


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



William M. Straus


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act Prohibiting Robocalls to all Mobile Telephone Devices.






William M. Straus

10th Bristol

William Smitty Pignatelli

4th Berkshire

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Jay R. Kaufman

15th Middlesex

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Stephen Kulik

1st Franklin

David M. Torrisi

14th Essex

Benjamin B. Downing

Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Joyce A. Spiliotis

12th Essex

Susan Williams Gifford

2nd Plymouth

Walter F. Timilty

7th Norfolk

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Michael J. Rodrigues


Steven S. Howitt

4th Bristol

Geoff Diehl

7th Plymouth

Sheila C. Harrington

1st Middlesex

Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

12th Hampden

Patricia D. Jehlen


Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol

William C. Galvin

6th Norfolk

Michael F. Kane

5th Hampden

James M. Cantwell

4th Plymouth

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable

Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex

William N. Brownsberger


Keiko M. Orrall

12th Bristol

Gailanne M. Cariddi

1st Berkshire

George T. Ross

2nd Bristol

Timothy R. Madden

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Charles A. Murphy

21st Middlesex

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex

Robert M. Koczera

11th Bristol

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4133        FILED ON: 11/16/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3858

By Mr. Straus of Mattapoisett, a petition (subject to Joint Rule 12) of William M. Straus and others for legislation to prohibit commercial solicitation to mobile electronic devices.  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



An Act Prohibiting Robocalls to all Mobile Telephone Devices.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              .Chapter 159C of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 2 sections:-

              Section 15.  As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

              “Consumer” as defined in section 1.

              “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”, is an automated phone call that uses both a computerized auto-dialer and a computer-delivered pre-recorded message.

              “Robocall telephone solicitation”, a voice or text communication, whether prerecorded or a facsimile, over a telephone line or wireless telephone network or via a commercial mobile radio service that is  a robocall telephone solicitation to a telephone subscriber for the purpose of soliciting or encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services; obtaining or providing information that will or may be used for that purpose; soliciting or encouraging a telephone subscriber’s participation in any contest, sweepstakes, raffle, or lottery, whether legal or illegal; or obtaining a charitable donation.  “Robocall telephone solicitation” shall include a political message if the message is communicated by use of an automatic dialing and recorded message player. 

              “Robocall telephone solicitor”, an individual, association, corporation, partnership, limited partnership, Limited Liability Company or other business entity, or a subsidiary or affiliate thereof, doing business in the commonwealth who makes or causes to be made a telephonic sales call.

              All robocalls shall be prohibited in the commonwealth to any hands-free mobile telephones, mobile electronic devices and mobile telephones as defined in this section.

              This chapter 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; or (4) messages on behalf of municipalities and government.


              SECTION 16.Violations; Enforcement by Attorney General; Consumer Action; Penalties; Attorney’s Fees and Costs

              (a) The attorney general may initiate proceedings relating to a knowing violation or threatened knowing violation of this section. Such proceedings may include, without limitation, an injunction, a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 for each knowing violation, but not less than $1,500 for a knowing violation involving a consumer who is 65 years of age or older, and additional relief in a court of competent jurisdiction. The attorney general may also issue investigative demands and subpoenas, administer oaths and conduct hearings in the course of investigating a violation of this section.

              (b) A person who has received more than 1 unsolicited telephonic call within a 12-month period by or on behalf of the same person or entity in violation of this section may: (i) bring an action to enjoin the violation; (2) bring an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such knowing violation or to receive not less than $10,000 in damages for such knowing violation, whichever is greater; or (iii) bring both such actions

              In a civil proceeding resulting from a transaction involving a violation of this section, the prevailing party, after judgment in the trial court and exhaustion of all appeals, if any, shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the nonprevailing party.

              SECTION 17.  Time Limitations for Actions or Proceedings

              (a)  No action or proceeding shall be brought pursuant to the section: (i) more than 5 years after the person bringing the action knew or should have known of the occurrence of the alleged violation; or (ii) more than 5 years after the termination of a proceeding or action arising out of the same violation by the commonwealth, whichever is later.

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