WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.

The vote was 97 to 1.

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Summary of the TRACED Act:

· Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.

· Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to three years after a robocall is placed. Under current law, the FCC has only one year to do so, and the FCC has told the committee that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement” would improve enforcement against willful violators.

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· Brings together the Department of Justice, FCC, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other relevant federal agencies, as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.

· Requires voice service providers to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.

· Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) cosponsored the legislation to crack down on illegal and abusive spam calls earlier this year.

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“Spam callers are on the rise, and they’re not just annoying, they can also be dangerous. That’s why I was proud to support this bill and protect Texans from unwanted calls. This common-sense bill is an example of what we can do on a bipartisan basis to make the lives of Texans a little bit better.”