Legislature Poised to Overhaul Florida’s mini-TCPA

The Florida Legislature is moving quickly to pass significant remedial amendments to the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (“FTSA,” Fla. Stat. § 501.059) before the end of the legislative session this Friday.  Should the proposed amendments succeed, they would restrict the scope and substance of the statute in several important ways.

First, the amendments would narrow the categories of equipment that are covered by the statute.  Whereas the current autodialing restrictions apply to “automated system[s] for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers,” the amended autodialing restrictions would apply only to “automated system[s] for the selection and dialing of telephone numbers” (emphasis added). Note, however, that even the amended version would restrict “the playing of a recorded message when a connection is completed to a number called, or the transmission of a prerecorded voicemail.”

Second, the amendments would expand the definition of “signature” to confirm that it includes  acts such as “checking a box” and “responding affirmatively to receiving text messages.”  Although the existing definition extends to digital signatures “to the extent that such form of signature is recognized as a valid signature under applicable federal law or state contract law,” the amendment would eliminate arguments about the validity of consent captured through these increasingly common processes.

Third, with respect to “text message solicitations,” the amendments would create a 15-day notice-and-cure period before a plaintiff can file suit, allowing defendants to avoid litigation by removing plaintiffs from their texting lists.

Notably, the amendments would apply retroactively to any pending FTSA action that is styled as a class action but has not been certified as such before the effective date of the amendments. That is welcome news to the thousands of callers that have been sued in (or received threats of) class actions, though the retroactivity of the amendments will almost certainly be tested in court.

The House version of the amendments (HB 761) passed on April 26, 2023, while the Senate version (SB 1308) appears set for a vote on May 2, 2023. As the end of this legislative session (May 5, 2023) is rapidly approaching, there is limited time to pass these changes into law.

We will continue to keep you posted on this and all the latest updates surrounding the FTSA.

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