California lawmaker aims to fight junk mail with 'do not contact' list

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The one piece of mail San Francisco resident Chris Brown got Monday is junk. He doesn't want the flyer or much of the other mail he receives. (KGO-TV)

If you're tired of junk mail piling up in your home, a Southern California lawmaker would like to expand the 'do not call list' to include mail.

"What we're trying to do here in California is create a do not contact list," says Assemblyman Marc Steinorth from Rancho Cucamonga. "I believe that we need to ensure privacy to our residents in California, especially now with identity theft so rampant, we really need to cut down as much as possible on unnecessary correspondence," says Steinorth who would like to create a list that California residents could put their phone number and address on, to avoid unwanted solicitations.

"The less opportunity for bad actors to get a hold of my personal information, the better," says San Francisco resident Chris Brown.

Brown has already been the victim of identity theft once and is especially concerned about credit card offers that contain sensitive personal information, "We have a shredder in our place because I get probably two or three credit card offers. And, I already have enough credit cards, I don't need anymore."

Assemblyman Steinorth's bill, AB 2021, is still in the early stages, but it would require the California Attorney General to investigate complaints and enforce violations. He hopes his concept will improve upon the 'Do Not Call List,' since Steinorth says many Californians still get unwanted calls, "They will call your cell phone with a number that's really similar to your cell phone, so you think it's actually a welcome call and they're trying to sell you a timeshare."

A U.S. Postal Service spokesman says restricting unsolicited mail would cost the post office a lot of money and potentially jeopardize jobs across an entire industry, everyone and everything from graphic artists to printing businesses.

But Peppina Harlow, whose family has owned a PO Box business in San Francisco for nearly 40 years, says she spends a lot of time sorting through junk mail and helping her customers opt out of mass mailings by using DirectMail.com. She'd like to hold the post office to a higher standard, "I think the mail would be a lot more enjoyable if it was just things you wanted."

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