Legislator plans to propose bill to put end to political robo-calls

With a fresh legislative session just around the corner in the Connecticut General Assembly, a press release from his office said State Representative Whit Betts (R- Bristol) is pushing an idea that most people, still recovering from months of constant political campaigning, can get behind.
The release said Betts is pushing a proposal to end the exemption on political phone calls from the National “Do Not Call” registry. Currently, political phone calls, including robo-calls and calls from politically active groups such as unions and political action committees (PACs) are not defined as “telemarketing” and so do not apply to the do-not-call list.
The release explained political campaigns can get residents’ phone numbers from voter registration information that is available publicly. Campaigns can call individuals as often as they like to push a message and if an individual requests that a campaign refrain from calling there is nothing in the law that requires the campaign to stop, explained the release from Betts. Furthermore, the release said, campaigns from various parties and political offices generally have calling lists independent from each other meaning if a voter is removed from one campaign’s list; they are likely to remain on lists from other campaigns.
“I hear complaints from people all the time, Republican and Democrat, man and woman, young and old, who are tired or receiving so many calls and have actually become disinterested in politics because of the frustration,” Betts said in the release. “This is not a partisan issue, both sides engage in excessive amounts of phone calling- it is a fast and cheap form of direct campaigning. But I believe these high volume calls are only resulting in frustration and anger among the people whose voicemail boxes are jammed and dinners are constantly interrupted.”
Betts said in the release he is still researching the legal side of things and is working to craft language for his proposal. His intention is to include all politically active groups including PACs and unions. He said he has spoken to a number of legislators that share his concern and is working to put together a group of lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, to push this proposal.
“I am just suggesting that we give people a choice, a choice to opt out of these phone calls,” Betts added in the release. “This will not ruin political campaigning; instead, I believe it will improve it.”
The Connecticut General Assembly begins legislative session on Jan. 9 and ends on June 5.