Local Politics

Bill Would Hang Up on Political 'Robo Calls'

Posted March 21, 2007

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— Prerecorded political telemarketing messages would be blocked for people on the state's Do Not Call Registry under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers.

Senate Bill 1002, which was introduced Wednesday, would bar political candidates and parties from making so-called "robo calls" to state residents who have placed their numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

The state already bans commercial robo calls unless the call is first introduced by a live person asking if the resident is willing to listen to the recorded message.

"It irritates me when I get calls," said state Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, who sponsored the bill at the urging of Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Political consultant Brad Crone has used the calls for clients in the past. Close to elections, however, he said he thinks they can do more harm than good for candidates.

"I understand how absolutely aggravating they can be," Crone said. "When it first started, it was pretty innovative. It was new and unique. It's none of those at this point."

Rand, the Senate majority leader, admitted that he has used robo calls in past campaigns, but agreed the novelty of the tactic has worn off.

"I wonder if the viability of it isn't gone anyway, and people should have a right to be left alone," he said.

The proposed ban would have to be approved by lawmakers who use the calls, and some opponents have questioned whether it would infringe on free political speech.

Rand dismissed that argument.

"This speech is not free. This is paid for, and there's some question about that," he said.

40 Comments

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  • methinkthis Mar 22, 2007

    Contact in any form, any media type, should be allowed only if requested. Free speech means we have the right to not hear/read it.

  • Gnathostomata Mar 22, 2007

    Jokes aside, my mother-in-law loved to get calls from friends and well wishers when she was recovering from cancer. It was very annoying to watch her make it to the 'phone to find out it was one of these unwanted, unwarranted, aggrevating callers...it made her day when I registered her for "do not call" and she could look forward to the ringing of her 'phone. She said nice things about Roy Cooper, too.

  • Gnathostomata Mar 22, 2007

    Please help me. I'm up to my ears in annoying calls. Solicitation from people who cannot speak English well enough for me to understand them on behalf of a company I do not recognize nor would ever support; people who ignore the "do not call" registry; candidates that don't know me, never do anything after they are elected except get caught with their hand in the cookie jar; and too many "save the whatever". And not everyone has or can afford caller ID to block these calls. Nor should they have to pay to prevent unwanted calls...I pay for the convenience of not having to drive many miles to attend to business or talk with people with whom I really enjoy conversing. And maybe that is what I need to change...just get rid of the 'phone...great idea. Thanks!!!

  • Politically Honest NOT PC Mar 22, 2007

    I agree. Ban ALL robo calls.

  • seankelly15 Mar 22, 2007

    Lemmonn - about cell phones: because owners of cell phones are technically charged per minute for a call, no one is allowed to make unsolicited calls.

  • C93 Mar 22, 2007

    what irritates me is that I vote early, right when the early voting opens. And yet we still got numerous calls from everyone. If they don't ban robo calls, they need to at least adopt a system to get you off the call list if you have already voted.

    Unless of course you live in Florida. ;-)

  • tinyboy Mar 22, 2007

    NOT ONLY ROBO CALLS BUT ANY FROM POLITICIANS

  • paddie Mar 22, 2007

    I hope this becomes a reality. I cherish my peace and quiet and few things are more annoying than getting countless calls from a computer generated political messages. I can't even cuss them out!

  • Say it to my face Mar 22, 2007

    RN4U: you have to register once a year for the do not call list....

  • Say it to my face Mar 22, 2007

    That's so absurd to waste your vote based on "phone calls" and to completely ignore what issues the person stands for. People like you should just stay home on election day and smother in your ignorance.

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