Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a decision in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid stating that a dialing system for the purposes of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) must meet the exact definition provided within the law. This means it must have the “capacity to either store or produce a telephone number based on a random or sequential number generator.” The holding, discussed in more detail in a previous post available here, was a big win for businesses. But, as highlighted by a recent law passed by Florida lawmakers, it is not the end of the continuing debate between when and how businesses can and cannot contact potential, current, past, or future clients.
What is this new telemarketing law in Florida?
According to a recent piece in Reuters, Florida lawmakers passed a law that expands the definition of an automatic dialer system to include those that allow users to select numbers. This appears to allow the law to cover predictive dialers that operate using a database. A violation can result in a monetary fine of $500/call or $1,500/call if the contact is deemed a willful violation, much like the penalties present for violations of the federal TCPA. There is also the possibility of additional fines for injunctive relief as the court sees fit.
It is important to note that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to sign the law — but, even if he doesn’t, it appears likely the Florida Legislature would override a veto.
What does this mean for other states throughout the country?
Florida’s new law could be a sign of a new trend. Even though SCOTUS clearly states the federal law does not cover these types of contacts, states can pass their own that do. States throughout the country could decide to pass similar laws, further hindering businesses’ ability to reach clients.