‘Do not call’ law widely supported for South Dakota

'Do not call' law widely supported for South Dakota AARP South Dakota has announced its support of Senate Bill 41 to establish a statewide "do not call" list in South Dakota. Such legislation has been passed in over half of the states as a means of drastically cutting the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls received over residential phone lines. AARP is encouraging its members and the general public to call, write, or email their local legislator to express their support as well.

"AARP South Dakota applauds the leadership role the members of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission have taken with the introduction of SB 41. Across the country, state governments are giving the citizens of their states a tool to end unwanted calls from telemarketers. It's high time South Dakotans have the same choice," said Sam Wilson, legislative director for AARP South Dakota.

AARP South Dakota released a survey in 2002 of over 1,300 members around the state that shows broad support for no telephone solicitation legislation, otherwise known as "do not call."

The survey indicates that 81 percent of South Dakota members strongly support legislation in South Dakota, which would create a "do not call" list to keep telemarketers from calling them. Almost all South Dakota members receive telemarketing calls, which a large majority terms "an invasion of privacy and an intrusion in their homes." Most often, these calls are telephone service (74 percent) or credit card solicitations (72 percent).

"Our members have spoken loud and clear in this survey on the importance of protecting their privacy as well as preventing fraudulent sales over their own phone line," said Wilson.

"These telemarketers are calling from all over the place ? California, New York, Texas and all points in between. The vast majority or states have implemented "do not call" legislation to protect the privacy and safety of their citizens from these unwanted calls yet we, in South Dakota, continue to allow these unsolicited, nuisance calls to flow right into our homes."

The survey specifically explored a number of interesting topics: the frequency of receiving telemarketing calls and sources of calls, impressions of telemarketing calls, support for a "do not call" law in South Dakota, priority for Legislature to enact a "do not call" law, and the likelihood of placing one's names on a statewide "do not call" list.

One specific question in the survey asked what type of priority the next governor and Legislature should place on passing a "do not call" bill in South Dakota. Nearly 60 percent placed either top (19 percent) or high (40 percent) priority on this issue for 2003.

"During the 2002 legislative session, there was a lot of smoke but no fire around this issue. The survey results, along with the strong grassroots support of the public, will hopefully spark the leadership of both parties to come together and ensure that this legislation is passed in the 2003 session," said AARP South Dakota State Director Rick Weiland. "It is time to move forward. This issue has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with giving people a choice to protect their privacy."

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people 50 and over. It provides information and resources; advocates on legislative, consumer, and legal issues; assists members to serve their communities; and offers a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for its members. These benefits include AARP Webplace at www.aarp.org, AARP Modern Maturity and My Generation magazines, and the monthly AARP Bulletin.

Active in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP celebrates the attitude that age is just a number and life is what you make it.

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