A bill aimed to curtail deceptive sweepstakes practices was passed on a 31-1 vote today (Thursday) by the state Senate and now will have a hearing in the state Assembly in June.
The elderly are often targets of misleading sweepstakes advertising, state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said. He authored SB 1400 to prohibit such practices.
Lisa Conrad of Menlo Park gave Simitian the idea for the legislation in her entry to Simitian's annual "There Oughta Be A Law" contest.
"I know there are laws on the books already," Conrad said, "but they don't seem to be working. Particularly annoying is the fact that so-called sweepstakes prey on the most vulnerable members of the community."
"Folks are told they're 'specially selected' or have 'already won' when that's just not the case," Simitian said. "Gimmicks like so-called 'official' documents abound; and sweepstakes pitches too often skirt the 'no purchase required' provisions of current state law.
"The sale of so-called 'sucker lists' is especially offensive" by targeting "those who are particularly vulnerable for repeated victimization."
SB 1400 would prohibit the sale of such lists and would strengthen consumer protection against deceptive sweepstakes advertising.