Jon Bruning is one of only two attorneys general in the nation who did not sign a letter to members of Congress opposing legislation sponsored by Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry that would ease the path for robocalls to reach cellphones.

Attorneys general from 53 states and U.S. territories signed the letter saying the bill would "attack consumers' telephone privacy and make it more costly to own a cellphone."

Only Bruning and Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli did not sign the letter mailed last week.

"Changes to the legislation are still being discussed," said Bruning spokeswoman Shannon Kingery. 

"We generally do not sign on to this type of letter until we know what the final bill looks like."

Now, federal law bans robocalls to cellphones unless the consumer gives prior explicit consent.

Terry's bill says that "disclosing one's telephone number -- during a transaction or at any time -- equals consent to be robo-called on one's wireless telephone," the objecting attorneys general stated.

"This means that a wireless subscriber could be subjected to any number of robotic 'informational' follow-up calls just because he or she visited a store or a website," the letter stated.

That would undermine federal and state efforts to "shield consumers from a flood of solicitation, marketing, debt collection and other unwanted calls and texts to their cellphones," members of Congress were told. 

Those calls could result in increased costs for customers who pay for cellphone service by the minute or have a limited number of minutes available on their service plans, the attorneys general said.

Terry has said his bill is not intended to allow unsolicited or unwanted robocalls.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at dwalton@journalstar.com.

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