Telemarketing Law Takes Effect July 1

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(Host) A number of new state laws go into effect the first of July. As VPR’s John Dillon reports, one of the new statutes may help limit unwanted telemarketing calls.

(Dillon) A little-noticed bill passed by the Legislature takes aim at those telemarketing companies that seem to have an uncanny ability to call just when you’ve sat down for dinner. The law for the first time requires for-profit telemarketers to register with the state. And they’re also required not to contact people who have asked to be placed on a “do not call” list.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz has a page explaining the law on her office’s web site. She says the registration allows the state to keep track of the companies operating in Vermont.

(Markowitz) “In addition, citizens who don’t want to be called by the telemarketing companies can sign up with their phone company. And quarterly, four times a year, the telemarketing companies are required to get those no call lists and take the names of the people who don’t want to be called off of the list. That means then that on July 1, if you don’t want to be called by telemarketers, you give your name to your telephone company and get on the no-call list and within three months, the phone calls will stop.”

(Dillon) The secretary of state is also drafting regulations for a new law that keeps track of how drug companies promote their products, including gifts to physicians. Vermont is the first state in the country to oversee the drug companies’ gifts and promotional campaigns. Markowitz says the companies aren’t required to file their reports until January. But the reporting period starts July 1.

(Markowitz) “So our office, the Pharmacy Board in our office, is scrambling to develop very precise rules so these pharmaceutical companies know what counts as a gift and know what has to be reported, knows what doesn’t.”

(Dillon) Other laws that take effect on Monday include one that regulates body-piercing shops and one that regulates speech and language pathologists. And as of July 1, crematoriums in Vermont are required to register with the state and follow health and safety regulations.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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