Robocall Privacy Act Take Two

An anti-robocall measure that went nowhere in Congress last session has been re-introduced by California Sen.


An anti-robocall measure that went nowhere in Congress last session has been re-introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. After a hearing in the Senate’s rules and administration committee last February, the bill never made it to the floor.Shaun Dakin, who heads the National Political Do Not Contact Registry, says he was in contact with Feinstein’s staff about re-introducing the bill, which the California Democrat did in May. In a non-election year Dakin thinks the bill stands a much better chance for passage, particularly given the recent uproar over the millions of bogus car-warrantee robocalls that initiated a Federal Trade Commission crackdown.The new measure would place time restrictions on the calls—robocalls between the hours of 8pm and 9am would be illegal. It would also require disclosure at the beginning of the call, rather than the end. And the bill would ban more than two robocalls from a campaign to the same telephone number each day. The regulations would apply 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general. The legislation is co-sponsored by Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Olympia Snowe. One major difference is that the new version of the bill would not mandate that campaigns adhere to the commercial do-not-call list.  The political consulting industry has fought back hard against attempts to regulate automated calls, establishing a legal defense fund last year through the American Association of Political Consultants, or AAPC. The two aspects of the legislation that are the most troublesome for phone vendors are the disclosure provision and the 2-call per day restriction. A Senate hearing on the new legislation is expected in the coming months.   Shane D’Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com


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