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Business and Economy

Maine Lawmakers Advance Bill To Combat Robocalls

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John RAOUX
/
AP Photo
This Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, file photo, shows a call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone in Orlando, Fla.

A bill designed to curb the onslaught of unsolicited robocalls from scammers has advanced in the Maine Legislature, following a unanimous vote by the Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee.

“The bill prohibits pre-recorded voice robocalls to residential numbers in Maine, which have exploded in recent years along with the rest of the country,” says the bill's sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Justin Chenette, of Saco.

Chenette acknowledges that the proposal won’t stop all robocalls, but he says it will arm the Attorney General's office with a prosecutorial tool by labeling scams and spoofing attempts as an unfair trade practice.

The proposal was amended to exclude from the prohibition calls from nonprofits, telecommunications carriers and emergency messages from government agencies.

In February the Federal Communications Commission warned phone providers to implement technology to stop robocalls and some mobile carriers have developed free services that can block them.

The Maine proposal now goes to the Legislature for votes.