NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE
Issue 98, JULY 2003

Table of Contents

  1. Plagued by Telemarketers? : Try the Michigan Do-Not-Call List
  2. Anti-Spam Law in the Works?
  3. Porn Filters in Public Libraries
  4. New State Department? Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth Under Discussion
  5. Michigan's Great Outdoors Culture Tour: July 1-August 15, 2003
  6. 363,232 Holocaust Claims Names Released
  7. Vertical Michigan Driver Licenses Announced


(1) Had It With Telemarketers? : Try the Do-Not-Call List

Michigan has adopted the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry as the state's Do Not Call List.

Residents across the U.S. can visit http://www.donotcall.gov to enter any phone numbers at which they don't want such calls. Or they can also register by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number they want to list.

Background

In December 2002, the Michigan Legislature passed PA 612 of 2002, prohibiting telephone solicitations to residential customers on the state's Do Not Call List. The Michigan Public Service Commission was responsible for establishing Michigan's Do Not Call List. At that same time, the Michigan Legislature also signed PA 613 of 2002 giving the Michigan Attorney General authority to enforce the state's Do Not Call List law.

Federal Registry Designated as Michigan Do Not Call List

PA 612 states that if a federal government agency establishes a federal do-not-call list, within 120 days after the establishment of that list, the Commission shall designate the federal list as the state Do Not Call list. With the recent amendments to its Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR Part 310, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established a national Do Not Call Registry. At its April 17, 2003 meeting, the Michigan Public Service Commission issued Order No. U-13753 designating the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry as the Michigan Do Not Call list.

Implementation of the Federal Registry

The FTC's registry development process is well underway. The FTC has contracted with AT&T as its vendor for the list, received approval for over $18 million in funding for the registry, and announced the implementation timeline. Nationwide internet consumer registration for the federal registry is scheduled to begin in July 2003. The toll free number will be available to Michigan residents the week after on-line registration is available. Sellers and telemarketer applications, payments and downloads will begin in September 2003 and the first download of the list must be completed before October 1, 2003. AT&T will start taking complaints on October 1, 2003. This is also the first day that the Do Not Call List rules will be enforced.

Stipulations of the Michigan Law

Public Act 612 stipulates that, when calling customers at home, telemarketers must: place live calls with a live person (autodialers are allowed to dial the calls), identify themselves and who they represent, provide their telephone number upon request (this telephone number must be attended by a live person during times solicitation calls are made), allow customers to cancel their sales in 3 business days, NOT intentionally block or interfere with the customer's Caller ID function preventing the caller's number from being displayed, NOT engage in unfair and deceptive marketing practices, NOT call any residential customers who are on the Do Not Call List (business customers are not covered by the list).

The Do Not Call List does NOT apply to calls from: charitable organizations, public safety organizations, political organizations, companies with which a person has previously conducted business unless the customer has specifically requested to be added to that company's do-not-call list, or businesses that request face to face meetings but do not urge the customer to make a decision regarding a purchase at the time of the call.

Enforcement

Complaints regarding an offending telemarketer will be handled by the FTC and the Michigan Attorney General. Both agencies will start taking complaints in October 2003. Complaints cannot be filed before this time.

Source: Michigan Public Service Commission and http://www.michigan.gov/donotcall/0,1607,7-183--70654--,00.html.

Back to table of contents


(2) Anti-Spam Law in the Works?

Michigan is getting closer to some sort of anti-spam legislation after both House and Senate bills were approved by their respective committees in June.

The toughest of the bills remains the Senate version, introduced by Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester. It would create a do-not-spam list in which consumers could register their intent not to receive spam.

The House bill would require spam to be clearly identified as an advertisement with a label that would allow consumers to filter it out of their in box. Both bills would prohibit spammers from forging the sender's address in an e-mail header or otherwise pretending to be someone else.

Expect amendments to be offered before the bills go before their full chambers for a vote, as legislators debate penalties and the mechanics of setting up a do-not-spam list.

But judging by the bipartisan support the bills are receiving, it appears some sort of anti-spam law is likely in Michigan by this fall.

Source: Mike Wendland, Tech Today E-Journal, June 6, 2003.

Back to table of contents


(3) Porn Filters in Public Libraries

Leaders in a battle for Internet filters on library computers cheered a Supreme Court decision Monday that upholds a law requiring the anti-pornography software for federally funded libraries.

A divided Supreme Court held that blocking technology, intended to keep smut from children, does not violate the First Amendment even though it shuts off some legitimate, informational Web sites.

In the 6-3 ruling, four justices said the law was constitutional and two said it was allowable as long as libraries disable the filters for patrons who ask. The court described pornography in libraries as a serious problem.

"To the extent that libraries wish to offer unfiltered access, they are free to do so without federal assistance," the main ruling said.

Meanwhile, local library administrators say they will be doing more reading than usual in the coming days as they try to figure out what implications the decision holds for their patrons.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said the law, the Children's Internet Protection Act, does not turn librarians into censors. But Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law went too far in restricting material in public libraries, which are used by more than 14 million people annually.

The American Library Association was the main figure in challenging the federal law, its attorney calling filters "blunt instruments that block more than illegal speech."

Source: Melissa Slager, "Web Filter Advocates Call Ruling A Big Win", Grand Rapids Press via MLive, June 24, 2003. http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-9/1056465914251920.xml. For another article announcing the same decision, United States vs. American Library Association, see Gina Holland, "Supreme Court Upholds Use of Internet Filters in Public Libraries", Detroit Free Press, June 23, 2003, http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm15031_20030623.htm.

Back to table of contents


(4) New State Department? Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth Under Discussion

Will Dave Hollister become Michigan's LEG man? It's possible if Governor Granholm is allowed to create a proposed new department. Hollister would be the director, consolidating the functions of his current job as head of the Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services and absorbing oversight for a bunch of other agencies, councils, technology initiatives and quasi-official services like the Michigan Virtual University, the Michigan Broadband Authority, and the Life Sciences and Technology Tri-Corridor. Under the proposed plan, he would also oversee the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan State Housing Authority, the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors, and the state's Land Use Leadership Council.

For more information, see the complete article "Michigan's Leg Man Hits Road Running" by Mike Wendland appearing in the June 20, 2003 Detroit Free Press, p.1C-2C.

Back to table of contents


(5) Michigan's Great Outdoors Culture Tour: July 1-August 15, 2003

One of the best travel bargains of Summer 2003 awaits visitors to northern Michigan July 1-Aug. 15 - more than 100 free cultural programs on Michigan's Great Outdoors Culture Tour take place in scenic vacation destinations at Michigan State Parks, National Forests and National Parks and in a handful of small northern communities.

These popular evening programs about the state's colorful north woods and Great Lakes heritage and culture are presented by professional musicians, storytellers, dancers, historical roleplayers and cultural interpreters at sites throughout northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The program, in its sixth summer sponsored by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Humanities Council, has been expanded to 113 events with special funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For program details and a full schedule, visit the Michigan Humanities Council web site: http://www.michiganhumanities.org/culturetour.

Back to table of contents


(6) 363,232 Holocaust Claims Names Released

The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) Commissioner Linda A. Watters announced on June 30, 2003 that German insurance companies have made public the names of 363,232 victims of the Holocaust who were covered by life insurance policies but whose records were previously sealed. The publication of names was required under the terms of an agreement entitled “Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future” signed in October by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEAC – http://www.icheic.org).

“For the first time many relatives of the victims across the world, and right here in Michigan, have evidence of life insurance coverage and are able to file claims for benefits,” said Watters.

European insurers that sold coverage as World War II approached – and routinely refused to pay claims after the war citing the lack of proof of policy, possession of death certificate, and payment to other parties – have fought the publication of policyholders’ names, often citing privacy laws.

“So many lives were lost in such tragedy. To make it virtually impossible to prove the existence of a policy only added to the feeling of despair that millions of families felt,” added Watters.

The new names are available on the ICHEAC web site (http://www.icheic.org). Claimants have until September 30, 2003 to file claims with the ICHEAC on covered policies.

# # # #

The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) is responsible for the regulation of Blue Cross Blue Shield, 31 HMOs, 143 banks, 275 credit unions, almost 1,500 insurance companies, 1,583 investment advisers, 2,164 securities broker-dealers, 6,000 consumer finance lenders, 105,000 insurance agents, and 120,715 securities agents.

OFIS is part of the Department of Consumer and Industry Services and is primarily fee-funded, requiring minimal public tax dollars for its regulatory and consumer assistance activities. OFIS has insurance, financial institutions and securities information available online at the OFIS web site, http://www.michigan.gov/ofis, or at the Michigan government home page, http://www.michigan.gov. All information is also available through the OFIS toll free number, 877-999-6442. If you would like to receive OFIS press releases electronically, please email ppdavis@michigan.gov.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 30, 2003.

Back to table of contents


(7) Vertical Michigan Driver Licenses Announced

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and a coalition of safety advocates have a message for those under 21: "We Check to Protect!"

Beginning July 1, a new law requires the state to issue vertically designed driver’s licenses and ID cards to young people. The goal of the Vertical Identification Program (VIP) is to keep minors from buying alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted products. Land and an alliance of government, retail, safety and law-enforcement representatives rolled out a campaign called "We Check to Protect!" to highlight the law.

"This law will literally have a sobering effect," Land said. "It gives front-line retailers and law-enforcement officers an instant visual cue so that they can correctly identify a license-holder’s age. It also gives parents peace of mind knowing that their children carry licenses designed to ensure their well-being. The health and safety risks are enormous when alcohol and tobacco fall into underage hands. As parents, policy-makers and responsible business operators, we’re doing something about it."

State Sen. Shirley Johnson, R-Royal Oak, and former state Sen. Loren Bennett authored Public Acts 553 and 554 of 2002, which create the vertical license program.

The new vertical format differs radically from the horizontal licenses now carried by all residents. The redesigned format is being issued to residents under 21 who receive new licenses or IDs, as well as renewals or replacements. Licenses with the standard horizontal design are still valid for minors who already possess them.

However, the Department of State will exchange standard licenses for the updated version free of charge until Oct. 1. Parents are encouraged to have their children bring their current license into any Secretary of State branch office. A temporary license will be issued for use until the vertical license arrives by mail.

The revamped layout also creates a more tamper-resistant design to thwart attempted alterations or forgeries. The cards clearly list the dates when license-holders turn ages 18 and 21, and include other security features such as the date of birth that overlaps a second "ghost" image, or photo of the license-holder.

Johnson pointed out that the law protects business owners as well.

"Violating state liquor and tobacco sales laws could result in stiff penalties," Johnson said. "Few business owners intentionally run that risk. The security of being able to immediately determine a minor’s status gives retailers an extra measure of comfort."

At least 13 other states use the vertical license system and report declines in the number of illegal sales to minors, according to Bennett.

"I am proud to have played a role in keeping Michigan at the forefront of ensuring public health and safety," Bennett said. "It is gratifying to see state government, law enforcement, retailers and parents pull together for the sake of our children."

Source: Michigan Newswire, July 1, 2003.

Back to table of contents

Pointers
  • Back to RED TAPE Home Page
  • Back to Jon Harrison's Home Page
  • Back to MSU Libraries Home Page
  • Assistance Requested
    • Thanks for visiting the RED TAPE Home Page. Each issue is continuously updated and expanded during a three month cycle, so check back soon for the latest changes.

    • If you have any comments, notice any glaring inaccuracies, or would like to forward any relevant information concerning this Home Page, please send e-mail to: Jon Harrison

    Standard Disclaimers
    • MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution.

    Ownership Statement
    Jon Harrison : Page Editor
    Social Science Collections Supervisor
    Michigan State University Libraries
    100 Library
    E. Lansing, MI 48824-1048
    Voice mail: (517) 432-6123, ext. 123
    Fax: (517) 432-8050
    Last revised 07/11/03

    This page has been visited times since June 1, 1996.