Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spam Reduction Bill Heads to Ritter

A bill that would markedly toughen penalties for sending unsolicited commercial email messages, and give the state maximum ability to enforce the federal CAN-Spam Act as well as consumers education needed to fight spam, is on its way to Gov. Ritter.

HB 1178, sponsored by Reps. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada, and John Soper, D-Thornton, as well as Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, cleared the House a second time Thursday morning. The House had to take up the bill again, after initially giving it final clearance in February, because the Senate amended it before giving a final nod last week.

Carroll lauded the measure as an essential tool to fight a growing economic burden on business.

"Today the legislature sent a strong bi-partisan message – enough!” Carroll said. "Colorado companies and average citizens spend too much time, energy and money sifting through ridiculous claims of million dollar paydays, ads for E.D. medications and various other schemes -- just to get to their personal emails. This will not do."

According to a report issued by the University of Maryland, spam cost U.S. business about $22 billion in lost productivity in 2005. Another report, released by Nucleus Research in April 2007, says the lost productivity value is now about $70 billion.

Hagedorn said the bill is also aimed at helping the elderly, who are increasingly targets of computer crime.

"Spammers are using increasingly more sophisticated methods to target elderly folks and those with less computer know-how, conning them out of money and personal information like credit and social security numbers,” he said.

The average American receives, on average, at least 2,200 spam email messages each year, according to

The proposed Spam Reduction Act of 2008 will become law in August if signed by Ritter.