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SB 138: "An Act relating to the inclusion of the charges of a vendor of goods or services on the bills of certain telecommunications carriers; and adding an unlawful act to the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 138                                                                         
01 "An Act relating to the inclusion of the charges of a vendor of goods or services on the                                
02 bills of certain telecommunications carriers; and adding an unlawful act to the Alaska                                  
03 Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act."                                                                    
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
05    * Section 1. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to article 8 to read:                                     
06            Sec. 42.05.715. Telecommunications carrier bills; disclosures and                                          
07       contested charges. (a) A telecommunications carrier shall clearly identify in separate                          
08       sections of a customer's bill                                                                                     
09                 (1)  charges by each person, corporation, or billing agent that generates                               
10       a charge on the bill; and                                                                                         
11                 (2)  the information provided to the telecommunications carrier under                                   
12       (b) of this section.                                                                                              
13            (b)  A person, corporation, or billing agent may not charge customers of a                                   
14       telecommunications carrier on the carrier's bill for a product or service unless the                              
01       person, corporation, or billing agent provides to the telecommunications carrier the                              
02       following information:                                                                                            
03                 (1)  the amount charged for each product or service, separately                                         
04       identifying taxes or surcharges;                                                                                  
05                 (2)  a clear and concise description of the product or service that is the                              
06       basis of the charge;                                                                                              
07                 (3)  the name of the entity providing the product or service or otherwise                               
08       generating the charge; and                                                                                        
09                 (4)  a toll-free telephone number or other no-cost means of contacting                                  
10       the entity generating the charge to resolve a dispute regarding the charge.                                       
11            (c)  A telecommunications carrier may not discontinue services to a customer                                 
12       based on the customer's failure to pay a charge of another person, corporation, or                                
13       billing agent appearing on the telecommunications carrier's bill, when the customer                               
14       has contested the charge using the contact information provided under (b) of this                                 
15       section.                                                                                                          
16            (d)  In this section, "telecommunications carrier" means a telecommunications                                
17       utility                                                                                                           
18                 (1)  required to be certificated by or registered with the Regulatory                                   
19       Commission of Alaska; or                                                                                          
20                 (2)  that is eligible to receive universal service support under 47 U.S.C.                              
21       214(e)(1).                                                                                                        
22    * Sec. 2. AS 45.50.471(b) is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:                                            
23                 (58)  violating AS 45.50.476 (charges billed by telecommunications                                      
24       carriers).                                                                                                        
25    * Sec. 3. AS 45.50 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
26            Sec. 45.50.476. Charges billed by telecommunications carriers. (a) Except                                  
27       as provided in (d) of this section, a vendor of goods or services may not bill charges                            
28       for goods or services on a customer's telephone bill from a telecommunications                                    
29       carrier.                                                                                                        
30            (b)  A person may not induce a telecommunications carrier, directly or through                               
31       an intermediary, to bill a customer for goods or services of a vendor unless the billing                          
01       is permitted under (d) of this section. In this subsection, "person" includes a person                            
02       who aggregates consumer billings or serves as a clearinghouse for aggregate billings.                             
03            (c)  The Regulatory Commission of Alaska may adopt regulations to carry out                                  
04       the provisions of this section.                                                                                   
05            (d)  This section does not apply to an itemized billing in compliance with                                   
06       AS 42.05.715 for                                                                                                  
07                 (1)  the sale of goods or services governed by an approved tariff of a                                  
08       public utility operating under a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued                           
09       by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska;                                                                           
10                 (2)  direct-dial or dial-around services initiated from the customer's                                  
11       telephone;                                                                                                        
12                 (3)  operator-assisted telephone calls, collect calls, or telephone                                     
13       services provided to facilitate communications to or from inmates in a correctional                               
14       center; or                                                                                                        
15                 (4)  goods or services for which the vendor has provided the                                            
16       telecommunications carrier with verification of the customer's express authorization.                             
17            (e)  In this section, "telecommunications carrier" means a telecommunications                                
18       utility                                                                                                           
19                 (1)  required to be certificated by or registered with the Regulatory                                   
20       Commission of Alaska; or                                                                                          
21                 (2)  that is eligible to receive universal service support under 47 U.S.C.                              
22       214(e)(1).                                                                                                        
23    * Sec. 4. AS 45.50.481(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
24            (a)  Nothing in AS 45.50.471 - 45.50.561 applies to                                                          
25                 (1)  an act or transaction regulated under laws administered by the state,                              
26       by a regulatory board or commission except as provided by AS 45.50.471(b)(27),                                
27       [AND] (30), and (58), or officer acting under statutory authority of the state or of the                      
28       United States, unless the law regulating the act or transaction does not prohibit the                             
29       practices declared unlawful in AS 45.50.471;                                                                      
30                 (2)  an act done by the publisher, owner, agent, or employee of a                                       
31       newspaper, periodical, or radio or television station in the publication or dissemination                         
01       of an advertisement, when the owner, agent, or employee did not have knowledge of                                 
02       the false, misleading, or deceptive character of the advertisement or did not have a                              
03       direct financial interest in the sale or distribution of the advertised product or service;                       
04                 (3)  an act or transaction regulated under AS 21.36 or AS 06.05 or a                                    
05       regulation adopted under the authority of those chapters.