No-call bill takes aim at telemarketing

AUSTIN ‘ You’ve just sat down for supper after a long day. The phone rings. You get up from a hot meal to answer. Chances are, the caller is some boiler room solicitor or worse, a talking computer. Whoever it is, they want to sell you something. All you want is peace and quiet, not a phone pitch from some cold caller. As the New Year approaches, thanks to HB 472, a law passed during the last session of the Legislature, your chances of eating dinner uninterrupted are about to improve. Beginning Jan. 1, anyone who does not like solicitation calls at home can contact the Public Utility Commission to go on its no-call list. Getting on the list will protect you from some unwanted calls, but not all. There are some exceptions in the new law that still allow certain types of calls, even if a person gets on the no-call list. Opinion polls, calls from non-profit organizations and calls requesting political support will still be able to get through. The no-call provision also does not prevent a business from calling a consumer if they have had a business relationship within the past year. But if you do get such a call, you can request to be placed on that firm’s no-call list. The PUC list will be updated every three months. A listing automatically expires after three years, but can be renewed For more information on the no-call program, check the PUC’s Web site at www.puc.state.tx.us or call 1-888-782-8477. Moncrief won’t run Sen. Mike Moncrief, Fort Worth Democrat, announced last week he would not be seeking re-election to the upper chamber of the Legislature. His area, District 12, took on a much more Republican hue after redistricting. New parole head named The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Parole Division has a new director, Bryan Collier. The division and its 2,700 employees oversee 78,000 parolees in Texas. Collier, 36, came up through the ranks, starting 14 years ago as a field parole officer. He replaces Victor Rodriquez, who resigned earlier this year to take over as chief of the McAllen Police Department. New Year’s Eve trivia Amaze your friends at New Year’s Eve parties with your command of Texas trivia. Clip and save: Texas has 27 commercial airports in 24 cities. And more than 90 percent of the state’s population lives within 50 miles of one of those airports. Of course, you still have to make it through airport security checks. Texas has the largest road network of any of the 50 states. Texas has 12,000 miles of mainline railroad track. The Port of Houston handles more foreign cargo than any other port in the United States. Two-thirds of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico passes through Texas. And how long is the Texas-Mexican border’ Answer: 1,248 miles.

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