GREEN BAY — Remember all those annoying robocalls during election season? So does one Green Bay lawmaker, who wants the calls banned.
Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen says he’s drafting legislation to ban political robocalls in Wisconsin. He said he wants to end nuisance calls that he said don’t make a difference in changing voters’ minds.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that political robocalls aren’t restricted under state and national Do Not Call registries the way telemarketing calls are. So even if you request that your name be removed from a political call list, campaigns aren’t required to comply.
I don’t think this would pass constitutional muster if it’s challenged, but it’s also just a bad idea. In order for the electorate to be informed about candidates, someobody has to put that information out there. The news media serves their role. So do the candidates themselves and other people. The only justification to ban robocalls is that they can be annoying. Well… so can campaign commercials… and billboars… and rallies… and yard signs… If we can justify banning robocalls because they are annoying, shall we continue down that road?
For those who will say that robocalls are different because it is coming into a person’s home, that’s hogwash. The same is true of television commercials, for example. And the citizen has the same choice to turn off the TV, change the channel, don’t answer the phone, or generally act like an adult and manage your life.
A big step forward in being able to act like an adult is having the ability to request being put on a do not call list for political robo calls. The majority of adults are, or should be intelligent enough to make an educated decision as to who to vote for without receiving robo calls. For those who are stupid/lazy and need to be educated by robo calls, so be it.
You are comparing apples and oranges Owen. A better question is would you have a problem with people ringing your door bell that many times? Phone calls are more intrusive than TV commercials.
I’m with Pat on this. If we have a do not call list, that list should also encompass political calls. No reason why that intrusion is any more valid than the Cruise Lottery company that tries to reach me all the time from the 206 area code.
Owen, I understand the analogy you are trying to make between the TV and the Phone, but I see them as different technologies for different purposes. The phone is for my personal ability to communicate with the outside world. The TV is simply a passive method of communication where i don’t have to participate if I choose not to.
Besides, the GOP in this State needs to figure out how to communicate with the younger audience on facebook, email, texts, blogs and websites if they want to succeed in the future.
Having the “Thompson/Romney” campaign rely on robocalls is a tactic from 1992. Better they learn how to reach voters in the modern age.
I, for one, have always considered the phone an instrument of my personal convenience. If I want to answer it, fine. If not, fine. If I want to turn it off and head to Roatan for a week, then cool. I don’t feel obligated to answer a ringing phone.
But if someone wants to call me, fine. How is it my right to impose my standards on them?
I think there should be some sort of mechanism to opt out.
That said, I’ve discovered that people want to know who you are planning to vote for so they can contact you more times before the vote. So, find out who is making the call, and tell them you are voting for the opponent. Then they will never contact you again. If the Republicans call, tell them you’re a socialist. If the Democrats call, tell them you’re a tea partier.
It probably wouldn’t work, but it could be fun.
I agree with the ability to opt out, just like we have with telemarketers. I assume that Wisconsin law has passed constitutional muster.
I’d at least want these calls to correctly identify themselves in caller ID.
Maybe next election, I’ll just forward my calls to Owen. Then he can super informed.
Legislating against things that simply annoy us always makes for bad legislation.
If you don’t like robo-calls, don’t answer the phone and let it go to voicemail. Or, drop your antiquated land-line altogether and go completely cellular. I swear, I will never understand people and their Pavlovian-like response to a bell ringing.
I’m inclined to agree with Miller (mark this spot.)
Since I PAY for my phone lines, I can make the “no-call list” decision.
Or is a property right subservient to the wishes of the self-serving legislator class?
It’s subservient to anyone. I can pick up the phone and call you right now. What are you going to do about it? Do you really want the government to monitor and regulate who can call your phone line?
For that matter, isn’t there a market for a home device that will intercept a blacklist of numbers and keep it from ringing?
Owen, I think the issue is that the Legislature made the decision to prevent unwanted calls. Once that decision was made, then I can’t see any difference between the political calls and the cruise lines.
Pelican talks about a distinction between landline and cell. I’m not sure I see why any distinction should (or still does exist). If you don’t want the calls, it shouldn’t make any difference whether landline or mobile.
I contend that one of the reasons Republicans lost is due to their stupid attitudes towards robo calling. During this past election my household received between five and ten calls a day. All they did was make me not want to vote Republican. How can Republican campaign managers be so dense? Your freedom of speech as a candidate will be trumped by my not voting for you. It’s that simple. If you harass someone already on your side how does that help in any way? At the very least check the no call lists. There is a reason people are on them and just because you can make the call legally doesn’t mean you should. In fact if I was a Republican candidate I would run on a No Robo call pledge and I would bet you would win the primary
The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. -Tacitus
You are wrong on this one. Robo calls are an assault and a complete waste of time. Why should I have to turn my phone off to avoid them ? I pay the phone bill. I answer the phone when it rings because there might be a family emergency. It may be a work problem. How are these any different than making harassing phone calls? If I called your house every 10 mins for 24 hours straight I think you would have a problem with it.
Do you really want the government to monitor and regulate who can call your phone line?
That’s water over the dam, Owen, at both the Fed and State levels.
I would favor an opt-out solution as opposed to a ban. Then it is me doing the regulating. There is no way a ban would pass constitutional muster.
Using recorded messages to telemarket was a practice banned long before the do not call list on the commercial end.
If you picked the phone and called me about the same thing five time a day . That would be considered harasssment.
I’d think an obvious difference between phones and TV is, phones are not advertiser supported.
If a phone vendor chooses to sell a phone “with special offers” then the subscriber has consented to see and hear ads on it. But I’ve not seen any such phones.
When it comes to over-the-air TV, the viewer is not the customer- the customer is hte advertiser and the viewer- well, the viewer is the product (that is, it’s the viewer’s possible attention that’s being sold).
The economics of Cable/Satellite TV are more complex, but excpet for ad-free premium channels, the viewer is still paying directly only for carriage and not for content. And if you’re not paying directly for something, you’re <i>not> the customer!
Perhaps Owen’s point is that political speech should be more privileged than commercial speech. And perhaps so; certainly First Amendment precedent does so.
But then, we’re talking about phones, and where the line is drawn. If robocalls to landlines are OK, what about robocalls (-texts) to cellphones? Since some still pay for each minute, should this remain forbidden? What about sending political ads to fax machine numbers- since the owner is paying for the paper and ink, should this be forbidden?
The idea of total privacy in one’s residence disappeared with Alexander Bell, but surely there’s still the question of using other’s property without permission?
Change the law to not exempt political calls from the Do Not Call lists. Problem solved, not the slightest Constitutional issue.
Gotta say I got a kick out of this:
In order for the electorate to be informed about candidates, someobody has to put that information out there.
When one of those political robocalls serves any sort of legitimate, honest informational purpose, it will be the first.
Listen to this… I stopped contributing to the RNC because it was just fueling the ROBO Fire!
I was receiving 7-10 calls daily from the NRA, some only seconds apart, telling me my liberties were in danger if I didn’t vote for Mitt and Tommy. That went on for over 2 weeks. I assume they targeted folks like me because I am a white middle-aged gun owner, hunter and competitive target shooter. I finally called the number they mentioned in the call and actually got to talk to a warm body (it took a while). The guy on the other end claimed he worked for the NRA and was a member, but couldn’t tell me the difference between a pump shotgun and a bicycle pump, nor would he share his name or where he was located.. He just kept going on about the impending loss of my freedoms. I finally told him if he called again I would find him personally and he wouldn’t like the outcome of our conversation. Then he called me a communist and hung up.
Soooo, Sen Hansen, go for it….
Don’t like the idea of a ban, but yes, there should be a way to opt out.
I, for one, oppose the idea of a ban. The very thought of Americans daring to infringe on the free speech rights of digital recordings and auto-dialers is an insult to our founding fathers. If corporations are people, surely machines are also people too!
“I for one, have always considered the phone an instrument of my personal convenience. If I want to answer it, fine. If not, fine. If I want to turn it off and head to Roatan for a week, then cool. I don’t feel obligated to answer a ringing phone.”
Apples & oranges, Owen. I must still get up and check the caller ID in case it is an important call..i.e. my elderly Dad had a fall and the like. Therefore, it is NOT CONVENIENT to get up every 10 minutes for a Robocall!
One work-around, however is U-verse’s Exclusive Call Forwarding. While I can’t “block” the call, I can send it to ring at a different number. I send it to the Do Not Call Registry.
I’m not a big fan of passing laws to make life convenient for you.
Your’re missing the point. I can turn-off the TV, I can’t turn-off the phone in case it is an important call.
In fact, I shouldn’t have to turn-off the phone to avoid these a-holes. Here’s an idea Owen: give me your phone number and I will call you every 10 minutes..using a phished caller ID number or a “000-000-0000” number, or a “unavailable number”. Sorry if it’s not convenient.
Y’all act like I wasn’t inundated with robocalls too. Of course I was. Still, I don’t want government passing laws to shield me from annoyances. I know that this is going to be extremely popular and probably breeze through the legislature, but mark me down as opposed.
“Still, I don’t want government passing laws to shield me from annoyances.”
And I do see your point; liberals legislate incrementally… it’s one hit here and one hit there…this being an example of same.
However, in this case the lib robocallers lose as well… and the average telephone owner wins.
In the last 2 years lots of laws have been passed or regulations loosened in WI for the convenience of the R’s and their friends. Soon there will be a mining law proposal that is being written by mining interests solely for their convenience. So don’t foist that argument off on us.
bajaskier: Once you get owen’s personal number please share it with all of us. I’ll make sure he gets the same treatment I did.
Owen, you are wrong on this one.
The answer as many have pointed out it simple—a political no call list. If it can be done for tele-marketing, do the same. The problem is that it would cost those making the calls more money and make it less convenient, because the robo-call machines would have to be programed with the do not call numbers, but big deal.
Unfortunately, those making the robocalls will pay as much attention to the list as the telemarketers do…that being none.
Rachel, from Credit Card Services.
Is that the best you can do? Must have hit a sore spot with you, eh?
And can you pass on that home phone number for us to call.
Nah, just all your comment was worth.
Come on, owen, sore because folks bested you on this issue?
But cheer up. You still have almost two more years of scott walker to be happy about.
And if the NRA starts calling you, tell them I sent you.
My, you are a child. Are you new to this?