We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: Wisconsin must outlaw political robocalls

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John W. Eyster
Monday, March 10, 2014

I was THRILLED to read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Public Investigator report, “Wisconsin Lawmaker could restrict political robocalls” this morning. I urge you to read that article.

I wish it were possible to do MORE to prohibit DISRUPTIVE CALLS, including ALL political and non-profit calls, but this would be a WELCOME PROHIBITION!

I am on our Wisconsin do-not-call list. It is very helpful, but I totally HATE (I use this term advisedly!) robocalls and, truth be told, ALL OTHER UNINVITED calls which intrude into my life. IF you are one of those who makes such calls, PLEASE STOP! THANKS!!

I am VERY HOPEFUL of the outcome identified by Gitte Laasby author of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Public Investigator article will come to be LAW IN WISCONSIN, “Political robocalls could be added to Wisconsin's do-not-call list and become illegal before the Wisconsin governor's race if a bipartisan bill makes it through the Wisconsin Legislature.

The fact that the Senate-97 bill is bi-partisan with 18 Republicans and 12 Democrats makes the potential VERY HOPEFUL in spite of the fact that the legislature expects to adjourn soon. This makes YOUR response very TIMELY! YOU need to call YOUR SENATOR TODAY to underscore YOUR stance on this bill.

You can use this link to read the full text of SB 97.

I KNOW the TRUTH of Rep. Gordon Hintz's assertions, "During the last election cycle, voters were saturated with robocalls, amounting to little more than harassment in their own homes. Many of my constituents were inundated with upwards of a dozen calls a day." Do YOU?

It is VERY hopeful that 6 states already have laws which prohibit all robocalls to people on their no-call lists! That legal issue has been a barrier previously.

I also advocate the companion bill, SB 155, which makes registration for Wisconsin's do-not-call list permanent and merges it with the federal do-not-call list. Now, consumers have to re-register every two years to remain on Wisconsin's list. The present situation with our WI DO-NOT-CALL list enables telemarketers to find working phone numbers by comparing previous do-not-call lists and to call consumers who forgot to renew. Merging the list with the FEDERAL do-not-call list is expected to save the state at least $190,000 a year in administrative costs according to Rep. Andre Jacque (R-DePere), one of the authors of SB 97.

Rep. Jacque urged consumers to lobby their legislators to support SB 97—with calls. I note that Senator Cullen is a CO-SPONSOR of the bill so one assumes he will vote for the bill. At the same time, a call THANKING Senator Cullen for his support of the bill would be meaningful, I think. The office phone for Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), who represents the Janesville area in the 15th Senate District, is: (608) 266-2253 or (800) 334-1468. Tell Senator Cullen, “THANKS!”

I dare to HOPE that POLITICAL ROBOCALLS will be PROHIBITED by our DO-NOT-CALL list before the 2014 campaign season! What do YOU hope?

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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