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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Harrisburg Takes Aim at Negative Robocalls

According to The Express Times, the state senate yesterday approved legislation making clear, yet again, that robocalls must contain a "clear and conspicuous" announcement identifying their funding source. The senate apparently forgot to run this bill by DA John Morganelli. He has consistently winked at anonymous sleaze ads, most of which is done by his own political consultant, Severson Scissorhands.

Over at the state house, three Lehigh Valley legislators - Rich Grucela, Joe Brennan and Craig Dally - are co-sponsors of legislation that flatly bans political robocalls. "Automated political calls – A person may not use automatic dialing equipment to make a telephone solicitation call on behalf of a political candidate or a political party." Brennan and Dally have also signed onto a similar bill that deletes the political exemption from Do-not-call lists.


Anonymous said...

so? - you can have a bunch of "volunteers" dialing numbers and playing a pre-recorded "sleaze" call - I don't see where their bill "eliminates" the problem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:53, A bill does not eliminate anything. A law does, but I doubt either of these bills will pass this year.

It will be much more expensive and time-consuming to use volunteers to play recordingsa. This proposal really would have an impact.

Anonymous said...

It won't Rich Grucela from saying he's the man for the job - Not!

Bernie O'Hare said...

It won't Rich Grucela from saying he's the man for the job - Not!

I have no idea what the hell you are saying.

not so casual observer said...

Well placed 30 second positive get out the vote calls can raise the turn out by 2%;and the robo call is much more efficient than the phone bank.

The public outrage is against the ugly unattributed attack calls; they can actually suppress voter turn out.

What will happen if there is a law
against robo calls being made by political entities is that they will then be made by "527" groups who will call them public serice announcements.

Let's not throw the baby out witht he bath water on this.

The Senate bill makes more sense than the house bill. There should be a disclaimer in the call and that will help keep them civil in tone. Limiting the calling hours and the days of from the election would keep the voter irritation level to a minimum but I am sure that would be challanged on the first amendment basis.

The point is that the parties responsible for the nasty robo calls in this past cycle are going to ruin the use of a good tool through their abuse of it. Its always the way!

Bernie O'Hare said...

not so casual observer,

Thanks for the stats. I confess I never even considered what 527 groups might do.

We agree that GOTV calls, made a few days before the election, are fine. We also agree that other political robo-calls are resented.

Why not have a time-place restriction? The S Ct has ruled those are reasonable and consistent with the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I believe Boscola was the one pushing this legislation and proposal, right?

Anonymous said...

The problem is not just that the calls are anonymous and automated, it is that paid political calls were "protected" from "Do Not Call" legislation. This is the outrage. This is the logical opening for continued harassment via 527s.

The legislation is half-baked bullshit that won't protect me and my family from unwanted entities ringing my phone.

Sears can't ring my phone to deliver their paid speech. Why can some politician do the same with his or her paid speech? What is so difficult for these legislators to understand about this?

Nice try Craig and Rich and Joe, but you're still protecting the right of your ilk to violate the sanctity of my house. If I want your message, I'll look or listen for it. I'm a big boy. And if someone requires a reminder phone call to get their lazy ass informed and out the door, God help us.

Don't call my house unless I give you the number and my permission. Got it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:05, According to the ET account I link, Boscola certainly supported the senate measure. Unfortunately, I could not find the actual legislation this morning. According to the news accounmt, the measure was adopted Wednesday. I looked at the three measures the senate adopted, and did not see this among them. So I do not know for certain that she sponsored the legislation. I would hope so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:36, God help me if I ever call you on accident. :-)

That's a funny thing. People hate calls, even from real people. But they love it when you knock on their door.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you may call me anytime. My number is 1-800-mattress (leave off the last "s" for savings).

Without revealing my exact locale (black helicopters and all ...), one time Craig came to my door seeking my vote and I said I'd consider if he kept his dog from defecating in my yard. He did. I did. A promise made in person on the doorstep - and kept.

I prefer my grassroots without dogshit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pretty damn good (and funny). You should be the one blogging.

Shaun said...

Legislation is simply a cover for pols 'acting' like they are doing something about this issue.

Bottom line is that these calls are an invasion of privacy.

Our members are saying clearly:

- stop calling at dinner
- we are grown ups and can can information about candidates from other sources than calls
- we won't vote for candidates that don't take the 'do not call' pledge.

I was at the House hearings (DC) last week on robo calls and it was clear that nothing will be done that is meaningful.


Shaun Dakin

Anonymous said...

Don't Reichley and Dally use public money to make informational phone calls and television commercials ?