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          Front Page


Friday, March 7, 2003

No-Call Measure Extends Hours

By Rosalie Rayburn
Journal Staff Writer
    A once-controversial bill that seeks to protect state residents from unwanted telemarketing calls appears set for a smooth passage to the full Senate after two compromises persuaded several opponents to switch sides.
    The Realtors Association of New Mexico, Qwest and the New Mexico Press Association said they are willing to support Senate Bill 575 now that it conforms to federal telemarketing restrictions.
    The bill prohibits most telemarketers from calling New Mexicans who put their names on a national do-not-call list that the Federal Trade Commission should have ready for signers this summer. The registry should begin working by September.
    Changes worked out over the past two weeks between the industry groups and bill sponsor Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, will ease restrictions in the original bill introduced early in February.
    Feldman yielded on what industry groups saw as a major sticking point, a provision that would have prohibited telemarketing calls after 6 p.m.
    The substitute bill approved Wednesday by the Senate Public Affairs Committee allows telemarketers to make calls until 9 p.m.
    Federal law prohibits telemarketing calls after 9 p.m. and before 8 a.m.
    "We were really opposed to the time frame because there was no telemarketing between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. that meant there was no telemarketing," said Ty Ransdell, president of the New Mexico Press Association.
    A second change negotiated between Feldman and the real estate group adds licensed real estate agents in New Mexico to