Tennessee lawmaker proposes “robocall” bill

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 10:37 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 8:24 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - One Tennessee lawmaker introduced a bill Tuesday that he hopes will cut down on robocalls Tennesseans receive.

Senator Kerry Roberts said that the state sells driver’s license information that is ending up in the hands of telemarketers.

“I feel like I never answer my phone because it is usually a robocall,” Erica Mote, Nashville resident, said.

Mote said she receives at least a handful of robocalls a week.

“Home loans or student loans or, I will get spam texts sometimes, trying to buy your home,” Mote said. “I don’t buy a home.”

Roberts said he thinks the reason we get robocalls is thanks to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security selling peoples’ driver’s license information.

Roberts said it has been going on for years and claims the state makes $1 million annually off it. He is introducing a bill that he said would make it illegal.

“I don’t have a choice about getting a driver’s license. I have to if I want to drive a vehicle, so I don’t have a say so in the matter,” Roberts said. “Surely, the state shouldn’t take advantage of that.”

Under current state law, the state can disclose this information in bulk distribution for surveys, marketing, solicitation. More if the state has obtained the person’s express consent to whom the data belongs.

Some Nashville residents said they don’t remember any questions about this when filling out their driver’s license application at the DMV.

“My license is up for renewal, and I guess I know now to ask about that,” Robbie Crowell, who lives in Nashville, said. “That should be something presented to you as an option, not read the fine print to find out about it.”

Mote said she was tired of all the calls.

“Ugh,” Mote said. “It is so irritating. Like why do I even bother answering the phone?”

Attempts were made to reach the Department of Public Safety Monday afternoon and ask how much money is made, how many records have been sold, what companies the information is sold to, and where the money made goes. Unfortunately, the department did not provide the answers by airtime Tuesday night.

The Senate Democratic spokesperson said their office is not concerned with what they have heard of Roberts’ bill so far. The bill will be heard on Wednesday in a Senate Transportation and Safety committee meeting.

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