The bill follows a downpour of public criticism that the Can-Spam Act has so far proven ineffective and in many cases needs to be supplemented with stronger laws in individual states.
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich is expected to sign the bill this week that would allow prosecutors to seek jail sentences of up to 10 years for Internet marketers that use fraudulent and deceptive email practices. Spammers that use misleading headers could be liable for up to five years in prison, the bill states.
"I analogize it to putting more anti-spam cops on the beat," said state Sen. Robert Garagiola. "There are finite resources to fight crime. As you see more people being gone after and more spammers captured and prosecuted, you're going to see less spam as a result."
Virginia has enacted a similar law that condemns the senders of fraudulent emails up to five years in jail.