2006 Regular Session
To: Public Utilities
By: Senator(s) Posey
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT UNSOLICITED FACSIMILE ADVERTISEMENTS; TO REQUIRE CERTAIN INFORMATION ON ANY TRANSMISSION BY FACSIMILE MACHINES; TO AUTHORIZE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO INITIATE PROCEEDINGS RELATIVE TO VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; TO PRESCRIBE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) "Commission" means the Public Service Commission of the State of Mississippi.
(b) "Fax" or "facsimile" means:
(i) Every process in which electronic signals are transmitted by telephone lines for conversion into written text or other graphic images; however,
(ii) "Fax" or "facsimile" does not include:
1. Electronic mail or "e-mail"; or
2. Any transmission of electronic signals by a local exchange company to the extent that the local exchange company merely carries that transmission over its network.
(c) "Person" means a natural person, individual, partnership, trust, estate, incorporated or unincorporated association, any corporation, parent, subsidiary or affiliate thereof, or any other legal or commercial entity however organized and wherever located.
(i) "Affiliate" of a specific person means a person that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls or is controlled by, or is under common control with, the person specified;
(ii) "Parent" means a company owning more than fifty percent (50%) of voting shares, or otherwise a controlling interest, of another company; and
(iii) "Subsidiary" means a corporation with more than fifty percent (50%) of its outstanding voting shares being owned by its parent or the parent's other subsidiaries.
(d) "Unsolicited facsimile advertisement" means any material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods or services, that is transmitted by fax to any person located within the State of Mississippi without such person's prior express invitation or permission, and is transmitted from Mississippi or elsewhere for the purpose of offering the extension of credit or encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods or services.
SECTION 2. (1) No person shall transmit or cause another person to transmit an unsolicited facsimile advertisement.
(2) Any transmission by facsimile machine shall include in a margin at the top or bottom of each transmitted page or on the first page of the transmission the date and time of the transmission; an identification of the business, other entity or individual sending the message; and the telephone number of the sending machine or of such business, other entity or individual.
SECTION 3. The commission is authorized to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to implement and effectuate this act.
SECTION 4. (1) The commission is authorized to initiate proceedings relative to a violation of this act or any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this act. Such proceedings include, without limitation, proceedings to: issue a cease and desist order; issue an order imposing a civil penalty up to a maximum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) for each violation; and to seek additional relief in any court of competent jurisdiction. Violations shall be calculated in a liberal manner to deter violators and to protect consumers. Each page of each unsolicited facsimile advertisement may constitute a separate violation.
(2) In the course of investigating an alleged violation of this act, the authority is authorized to issue investigative demands, issue subpoenas, administer oaths and conduct hearings. After proper notice, any such hearing shall be conducted in conformity with commission rules and the Administrative Procedures Act.
SECTION 5. (1) The provisions of this act shall not be construed to limit any person's right to pursue any additional civil remedy otherwise allowed by law.
(2) The provisions of this act shall not be construed to restrict or apply to communications to and from citizens and their elected representatives.
SECTION 6. (1) A violation of this act also constitutes a violation of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act, Sections 75-24-1 through 75-24-175.
(2) For the purpose of application of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act, any violation of the provisions of this act shall be construed to constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice affecting trade or commerce and subject to the penalties and remedies as provided in that act, in addition to the penalties and remedies set forth in this act as well as that of 47 USC Section 227, or any other cause of action, civil remedy or penalty provided by law.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.