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'Seinfeld bill' is real. It's going through the N.J. state legislature to battle telemarketers — and some might even call it spectacular.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Those of us old enough to recall when "Seinfeld" ruled the TV universe in the waning years of the previous century no doubt remember a famous scene showing Jerry answering a phone call from a telemarketer who asks if he's interested in switching long-distance phone carriers.

"I can't talk right now," Jerry replies. "Why don't you give me your home phone number, and I'll call you later?"

The telemarketer responds, "Uh, well, sorry — we're not allowed to do that."

"Oh, I guess you don't want people calling you at home?" Jerry inquires.

"No," the interloper answers.

"Well, now you know how I feel," Jerry tells him before hanging up — and getting rousing applause from the sitcom's studio audience.

The Telemarketing Call | The Pitch | Seinfeldyoutu.be

It was true in the 1990s, and it's true in 2023: No one enjoys getting calls from telemarketers.

But in the New Jersey state legislature, life appears to be imitating art as PhillyVoice said the famed "Seinfeld" clip served as part of the inspiration for a bill — introduced by Republican state Sen. Jon Bramnick — which "requires telemarketers to provide name, mailing address, and telephone number of person on whose behalf call is made."

The outlet added that the "Seinfeld bill" advanced out of the Senate Commerce Committee last week.

"New Jerseyans should know who they're talking to on the phone and what's being sold to them by telemarketers," Bramnick said in a release, according to PhillyVoice. "My legislation requires more transparency from telemarketers and punishes those who lie and misrepresent information on sales calls. If you're on the up and up, you should have no problem with this bill if you're a telemarketer."

More from the outlet:

Telemarketers would also be required to display a mailing address on any website that they own and operate, as well as any business they represent on phone calls. Callers would not be able to disguise their phone number to make it appear as though they're calling from within the service area, a tactic among spammers that has become common in recent years.

Violations of the law would result in a disorderly persons offense, which carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, in addition to other legal penalties.

It is already illegal under New Jersey law for telemarketers to make any unsolicited calls to residents on a "no-call" list, and they are already required to state their name and what they're selling within the first 30 seconds of the call. Still, Bramnick's bill takes particular aim at spam callers who make frequent, pre-recorded calls to residents every day, often targeting senior citizens.

PhillyVoice, citing NJ.com, said Democrat Assemblyman Paul Moriarty noted, "[T]here's an overwhelming amount of scams targeting seniors by phone. I'm not naive enough to think [that] by passing this bill that's going to stop. But we need better laws to go after these people."

The outlet said Bramnick's bill was first introduced in January 2022 but stalled for nearly a year before unanimously passing out of the Senate Commerce Committee last week. The full state Senate will vote on it in the coming weeks, PhillyVoice said, adding that the State Assembly's Consumer Affairs Committee will vote on an identical bill at a later date.

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