Since early this year, the Council for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) has been monitoring a California do-not-call bill (Senate Bill 17) that would inadvertently impact marketing research calls. Although the intent of the bill was to regulate telemarketing calls, part of the bill's definition of "telephone solicitation" included calls that seek "marketing information for any purpose" and would require such calls to comply with a state-compiled do-not-call registry.

As expected, the bill did not receive much attention in the California Legislature. However, the sponsor, Senator Figueroa (D-10th District), took matters into her own hands. In an attempt to have her legislation enacted this year, the Senator removed the language from one of her other bills that had already passed the Senate (Senate Bill 771) and replaced it with her do-not-call language.

As a result, as it was passed in the Senate, Senate Bill 771 contained no do-not-call language, nor would it any way have impacted the research industry. In late July,the day the California Legislature adjourned for its summer recess, SenatorFigueroa amended the bill and incorporated her do-not-call language from SenateBill 17. In addition, she was able to have a key California lawmaker, Senator JohnBurton (D-3rd District), added to the bill as a co-author. Senator Burton is President Pro Temp of the Senate and has declared his open opposition to any do-not-callregistry legislation (his mother was a telemarketer). However, in late July, Senator Burton was included on the bill as a co-author.

When CMOR learned of the new language in Senate Bill 771, we immediately contacted the sponsors and sent letters to the leaders of the Assembly committee currently reviewing the bill. During the Legislature’s summer recess, we communicated extensively with Senator Figueroa’s legislative staff in charge of the bill. We provided information regarding the potential impact the bill could pose to the industry, as well as information regarding our activities with similar legislation in other states and the scope of the current state do-not-call list laws (i.e. limited entirely to sales-related calls).

As a result, by the time the Legislature re-convened on August 20th, CMOR had secured an amendment to the bill to remove the threat to research calls. Through our efforts, language that would have served as a dangerous precedent to other state Legislatures has been eliminated. Additionally, the industry has again distinguished itself from telemarketing activities. This is a victory for CMOR and the industry as a whole. CMOR will continue to closely monitor the bill to ensure protection for the industry.