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Bill to add cell phones to do-not-call list moves forward

A bill to include cell phones and small businesses on the state's do-not-call list has taken a step forward in Madison.

A Senate committee voted 3-2 this week to endorse a measure that could almost triple the phone numbers telemarketers would have to stay away from.

Right now, the no-call list includes 1.1 million home phones on landlines. But Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach says many folks only have cell phones these days and the telemarketers are eating up their minutes. Also, there are more violators.

So the bill wratches up the penalties from $100 per violation to a maximum of $10,000. Some business lobbyists call that overkill.

The Realtors Association says it's too high of a price for what often is in an inadvertent mistake. Also, those getting faxes would have to consent to receiving business pitches but the state's top business group calls that too heavy-handed.

And the state's consumer bureau would handle fax violations, something district attorneys are supposed to do now.

Judy Robson, Senate majority leader, supports the bill as does Gov. Jim Doyle. Mike Huebsch, Assembly speaker, says he agrees in principle.