NU Online News Service, Sept. 29, 2003, 3:47 p.m. EDT — Washington

The Federal Communication Commission’s do-not-call rules remain in effect and will be enforced beginning Wednesday, FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell says.

The FCC’s rules, which specifically apply to the insurance industry, have not been disturbed by recent court cases involving the do-not-call rules issued by the Federal Trade Commission, Powell says in a statement issued today.

Powell notes that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be hearing arguments over whether the do-not-call rules are constitutional, refused to block the FCC’s rules from taking effect.

“The commission intends to continue to administer and enforce its rules to the fullest extent possible as the litigation proceeds,” Powell says.

The FTC’s do-not-call rules have had several legal ups and downs over the past several days.

First, a federal district court in Oklahoma overturned the FTC’s rules, arguing that the agency did not have the authority to promulgate the rules.

Congress quickly responded by passing legislation specifically granting the FTC the required authority, which President Bush is expected to sign today.

However, a federal district court in Colorado then ruled that the FTC’s rules are an unconstitutional restriction on free speech, because they apply only to certain parties, in this case to businesses but not to charities.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver will hear the FTC’s appeal of the District Court’s decision.

However, when the direct marketing groups challenging the do-not-call requirements asked the 10th Circuit to block the FCC’s rules as well as the FTC’s, the court refused to do so, stating that there is a strong public interest in leaving the FCC’s rules in place.

The FCC has posted Powell’s statement at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-239219A1.pdf