Below is a letter to the editor from state Senator Tom Colapietro (D-Bristol)To the Editor,After the bombardment of prerecorded political “robo calls” that we faced during this past midterm election in November, most of us were ready to get a break from them all. No such luck, I’m afraid, because for many Connecticut residents the robo calls still haven’t ended.In response to people’s frustration with the sheer number of robo calls—some of us were getting more than ten of them in a single evening—I, along with several other legislators on both sides of the aisle and around the state, submitted a number of bills this year to add these political robo calls to our state’s voluntary Do Not Call list. The legislature approved creation of the list in 2000, which gave people the choice of whether or not they wanted to receive telephone solicitation calls. The original list did not include political calls, and this new legislation would add robo calls to the list to extend people’s choice even further.
A private company has decided to protest the submitted legislation in an unexpected way—by robo calling Connecticut residents. The robo calls ask for the people of Connecticut to oppose the new legislation, which they allege will infringe free speech rights. The proposed law is about choice, not opposition or infringement, and about stopping what many of us feel is an invasion of our privacy. The Do Not Call list offers a choice to anyone with a phone line. If you enjoy getting telemarketing calls and listening to automated political messages, you simply don’t put your name on the list; solicitors are free to call you as they please. If you’d rather not receive those calls, you should have the choice to preserve your right to privacy and opt out. Companies and campaigns are free to choose who they will call; people should be equally as free to choose who cannot call them. Several other states have legislation regulating these calls in place already; Connecticut should join the ranks.Tom Colapietro is the eight-term senator representing the 31st District towns of Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, and Harwinton and is the chair of the legislature’s General Law Committee.