Schumer Demands FCC Reject Petition On Ringless Voicemail Technology
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) yesterday urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject a new spam method called ‘ringless voice mail’ technology yesterday.
The new technology would allow telemarketers to inundate a person’s voicemail box without letting the phone ring, increasing the number of robocalls to mobile phones. Under the new federal rule change petition (CG Docket No. 02-278), submitted by a ringless voice mail provider (“All About the Message, LLC” (AATM)), the FCC would exempt ringless voice mail technology from federal ‘Do Not Call’ regulations.
Ringless voice mail technology involves a process by which telemarketers use technology software to transfer voicemails to individuals using service-to-service technology. With this technology, the phone being called doesn’t ring, but rather receives an alert that they have received a voicemail message. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), calls made using an autodialer or pre-recorded voice are prohibited without the express prior consent of the individual being called. However, telemarketers feel that their technology should be exempt from the TCPA because ringless voice mails do not make actual phone calls.
The FCC is currently collecting public comments the petition regarding ringless voice mail technology. Just last month, New York City and Long Island residents received more than 76 million robocalls.
“With billions of robocalls made to cellphones each year, the feds should be doing more to reign in annoying telemarketers, not throw gas on the problem and add fuel to cellphone spam. If ringless voice mail technology is exempt from federal regulations, consumers could see their voice mail boxes inundated with unimportant messages, confusing consumers and making it harder or even impossible to get real messages,” said Schumer.
Harris Praises Passage of Illegal Home Conversions Bill
Assembly Member Pamela Harris (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge) yesterday praised the passage of legislation (A.8249) requiring landlords to provide tenants with valid certificates of occupancy yesterday.
While illegal, landlords often convert homes and apartment buildings so that they can rent out to more occupants without proper paperwork, space or safety measures taken into consideration. By providing valid certificates of occupancy, tenants can rest assured before signing a lease or rental agreement that the housing is safe and up-to-code.
Illegal conversions raise safety concerns for tenants who may be unaware of code violations and uninspected construction and electrical work. In 2013, a woman died in a basement fire after her apartment had not been renovated to meet codes. Additionally, a 2015 illegal conversion caused a neighboring business to close after an unsupported wall nearly collapsed.
“We can’t allow landlords to continue taking advantage of unsuspecting tenants. These illegal conversions are an effort by unscrupulous property owners to make money at the expense of residents’ safety – it must stop now,” said Harris.
Clarke Slams Supreme Court Decision Allowing Partial Enforcement Of Muslim Ban
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay) yesterday slammed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Trump administration to enforce some parts of the illegal Muslim ban, pending review by the court in its upcoming term.
The decision, announced yesterday, allows the government to continue enforcement of the ban against anyone without a recognized relationship with another person or an institution in the United States.
“Donald Trump introduced the Muslim ban to discriminate based on the religion of people entering the United States, as he has admitted on many occasions. That fact, by itself, should render the Muslim ban unconstitutional. Though the Supreme Court recognized the constitutional interests of people with connections to the United States, I am deeply concerned about the families who are still excluded under the Supreme Court’s decision, such as refugees fleeing violence who want only to live safely in peace,” said Clarke.
Clarke continued,”Our Constitution prohibits religious discrimination in all its forms, regardless of the excuses offered by Donald Trump and his lawyers. Donald Trump claimed that the Department of Homeland Security needed ninety days to evaluate the supposed “threat” of Muslims entering the United States. Ninety days have come and gone, without any evidence that the Muslim families trying to come here are a threat to anyone. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will focus on the truth of the matter and forcefully reject this attempt to divide communities of faith.”
Nadler Addresses FEMA Disaster Assistance Gap
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan) announced yesterday that the Huse passed H.R. 1684, the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017 yesterday.
Under current law, homeowners in condos and co-ops are not eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) individual assistance to repair common areas in their buildings like hallways and boiler rooms. Similarly, Common Interest Communities that manage their own roads and wastewater systems are not eligible for FEMA public assistance either for activities like debris removal after storms.
The bipartisan bill directed FEMA to address the emergency disaster assistance gap issue in two ways. First, FEMA must provide technical assistance to Common Interest Communities to help them identify ways to become eligible for public assistance through agreements with their local municipalities. Second, the bill directs FEMA to provide Congress with concrete legislative proposals to make condos and co-ops eligible for individual assistance for common areas.
“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers and other Americans learned they were ineligible for FEMA assistance because of the type of home in which they live. Families who lived in condos were eligible for assistance for their individual units, but could not get any assistance to repair ground floor entryways, boilers, or other common areas. Those who live in co-operative housing (or “co-ops”), were ineligible for any disaster assistance to repair the walls or floors of their units let alone their common areas. In the storm surge area in New York, nearly 20 percent of housing units are in co-op buildings and an additional eight percent are condominiums,” said Nadler.
“FEMA has studied this issue for several years, and this bill directs FEMA to take the next step in this process by providing the House and Senate Committees legislative proposals to address those issues and to make condos and co-ops eligible for disaster assistance,” the lawmaker added.
Hamilton, Ortiz Hail Passage of Briana’s Law
State Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) and Assembly Member Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) celebrated the passage of Briana’s Law at the conclusion of the 2017 legislation session yesterday.
Briana’s Law requires that officers of the Division of State Police and the New York Police Department receive CPR training every two years. In 2010, 11-year-old Briana Ojeda suffered a severe asthma attack and subsequently died after the attending police officer was unable to administer CPR. The bill will now move on to the Governor’s desk for his approval.
“With the legislature’s passage of Briana’s Law, eleven-year old Briana Ojeda and her family have given the gift of life to New Yorkers who turn to help from police. Briana’s Law ensures our police officers have the training to provide life-saving assistance in an emergency. This passage vindicates a seven-year effort to make communities across New York safer, with police who are more capable of delivering aid in emergencies. Altogether, a legacy truly worthy of Briana Ojeda’s memory,” said Hamilton.
“All first responders should be trained in CPR. If a police officer is the first to arrive on scene and someone requires CPR, they should be able to perform it. Enactment of this bill will be a victory for Briana’s family and the thousands of lives that will be saved in the future. All life is precious and we must do everything we can to ensure that lives are saved,” said Ortiz.