Sens. Cappiello & Guglielmo Call for the Expansion of State’s Do-Not-Call List to Include Campaign Calls

December 3, 2007

State Senators David J. Cappiello, R-Danbury, and Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, are calling for the creation of a state “do-not call” list that would apply to all political campaign phone solicitations. The measure is aimed at giving state residents the option as to whether they want to receive unsolicited phone calls and recorded phone calls, aka “robo-calls,” from political campaigns and interest groups. The senators are requesting that the legislature’s General Law Committee raise the bill this upcoming session so that residents who want to avoid such calls can add their name to a list prohibiting such calls before the height of next year’s elections.

“What we are seeing is a very annoying trend,” said Sen. Cappiello. “It seems that every election cycle it gets worse, people are being inundated with campaign calls and oftentimes there’s not even a live voice on the other end. I believe that if someone doesn’t want to receive these calls, then they should be able to put their name and phone number on a list that prohibits these types of calls to their homes.”

The Senators said that while the new law should be similar to the current “do not call” list it should be separate and distinct as to avoid any constitutional issues. In 2000, the Connecticut General Assembly overwhelming passed into law one of the nation’s first state-wide “do-not-call” lists. That law allows residents to put their names to a list that limits the number of unwanted business “sales” solicitations they receive.

“I’ve always believed that as elected officials we should adhere to these same standards,” said Sen. Guglielmo. “It never has made much sense to me that we would prohibit businesses from engaging in this practice, while not requiring the same of ourselves. The reason people put their names on this list is because they don’t want to be bothered by continuous phone solicitations. It’s probably a good guess that those same people don’t want to be bothered by the same types of calls from politicians.”

“We have each received a number of inquiries from our constituents asking if there is anything that can be done to reduce the number political calls they receive,” said Sen. Cappiello. “With the presidential primaries only two months away and the general elections soon to be in full force I think we need to act now to let people know that they will soon have an option to avoid getting flooded with these types of phone calls. By not doing anything our fear is that we run the risk of disenfranchising voters.”

Sen. Guglielmo said that the creation of electronic pre-recorded “robo-calls” has contributed to the frequency of campaign calls. “You don’t need campaign volunteers to make these calls because they are computer generated. To make matters worse they usually come at the worst time of day and you cannot tell anyone on the other end line not to call again because there is no one there. There needs to be a mechanism in place for people to turn to should they decide that they do not to want to receive campaign calls.”