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Schumer proposes bigger fines for nuisance calls

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Sen. Charles Schumer says complaints about nuisance sales calls have risen sharply across New York and the nation because of robocalling and he's introducing legislation to sharply toughen penalties.

Citing Federal Trade Commission data, the New York Democrat says Wedneday that complaints in the Hudson Valley rose to 52,000 last year, up 400 percent from three years earlier.

Federal law has limited unsolicited sales calls by restricting hours and prohibiting calls to consumers who choose to opt out.

Schumer says that was effective for a while, but computer software enabling mass calling with recorded messages from the push of a single button has brought a resurgence.

His bill would raise the maximum possible fine from $1,500 to $20,000 per call with a new felony punishable by 10 years in prison.
   AP-WF-02-05-14 1902GMT