On February 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting regarding rules changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). As proposed in 2010, these rules, which were presented as solely relating to telemarketing robocalls but would have actually included most survey research calls, would have changed the already constricting requirements of "express prior consent" to use an autodialer to call a cell phone to "express prior written consent."

MRA and MRA volunteer Michael Mermelstein met this week with staff for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D) to request that they drop this particular change from the proposed rules and that marketing research be excluded entirely from the TCPA's autodialer/cell phone restrictions. MRA originally filed comments back in 2010 and has been taking our case to capitol hill.

We will be at the FCC open meeting next week and are optimistic that the FCC will not mistakenly make a bad law even worse in this attempt to combat telemarketing.

While the possibilities for amending the TCPA for research seem to have diminished on capitol hill, there are rumors that the FCC may reopen the autodialer/cell phone provision for a full and public re-examination. If that should happen, we look forward to being an active part of the discussion.