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DATE: February 20, 2004

Contact Person: Sue Schaefer, Information Officer Contact Phone: 605-773-3201

PUC Pleased with Decision Upholding Do-Not-Call List

A federal appeals court upheld the government's Do-Not-Call registry Tuesday, dismissing telemarketers' claims that it violates free speech rights and is unfair because it doesn't apply to charitable or political solicitations.

"This is a great decision for consumers," said South Dakota PUC Chairman Bob Sahr. "The Do-Not-Call list has been a resounding success, and people all across the state and country deserve relief from unwanted calls."

"The national registry, which took effect in October, now contains more than 56 million phone numbers. And as of January 2004, 156,028 South Dakotans have signed up for the Do-Not-Call registry," said PUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "Do Not Call is an important program that South Dakotans want to use to protect their right to privacy."

The registry "offers consumers a tool with which they can protect their homes against intrusions that Congress has determined to be particularly invasive," the court said. "Just as a consumer can avoid door-to-door peddlers by placing a 'No Solicitation' sign in his or her front yard, the do-not-call registry lets consumers avoid unwanted sales pitches that invade the home via telephone," the court said. "We are convinced that the First Amendment does not prevent the government from giving consumers this option."

According to PUC Commissioner Jim Burg, people can register numbers or file complaints at or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Consumers are also welcome to contact the Public Utilities Commission at 1-800-332-1782 if they've signed up and continue to receive unsolicited calls.

The South Dakota PUC also plans to be present at upcoming home shows throughout South Dakota for those consumers who would like additional information or would like to sign up for the Do-Not-Call list.

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