October 24, 2014

Banning robocalls, making No Call list permanent

Legislation would make the state’s No Call list permanent and would ban robocalls.

A state lawmaker says people should not have to register their phone numbers every two years to stay on Wisconsin’s popular No Call list for telemarketers.

Representative Andre Jacque of (R-De Pere) is working on legislation that would also strengthen current law to ban those dreaded robocalls. “It’s one of the most popular state programs we have. I think if we are going to have a Do Not Call list, we really should have some teeth to it so that people get the privacy that they expect and deserve, and really that should include political robocalls.”

The current No Call law allows Wisconsinites to stop unwanted calls from telemarketers, although it exempts political campaigns, as well as charities, public opinion polls, preexisting business relationships, and government emergency calls (school districts and reverse 911).

Jacques’ bill would put an end to the onslaught of intrusive recorded political messages while still allowing campaign calls from a live person. “I’ve had disabled people or elderly folks that have called me and basically said ‘I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disrupted at dinner’ or ‘my phone is not near me’ and it can be a difficult or painful process in terms of getting to the phone every time it rings and it rings with great frequency for some of these political robocalls and they’re not really effective.”

Auto-dialed calls have become increasingly popular for their ability to repeatedly bombard citizens at a minimal cost. Jacque had introduced similar legislation (AB-111) in the last legislative session, but it didn’t receive a hearing.

Wisconsin officials require people to re-register every two years to make sure the lists that telemarketers get are up-to-date. Jacque points out the federal No Call list is permanent and of the 16 other states which maintain a similar list, 14 provide for permanent enrollment and two are effective for five years after registration.

Jacque is currently seeking cosponsors to his proposal.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:58