Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Robocall Privacy Act with co-sponsors Melissa Bean (D-IL), John Campbell (R-CA), and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). A companion measure, which was recently introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), is currently moving forward in the United States Senate. The bill imposes significant sanctions on groups or individuals who: make political robocalls between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.; make more than two political robocalls to the same number in the same day; fail to disclose the party responsible for the political robocall; or block caller identification information.
“During the last few years, it has become clear that misuse of robocalls has continued to escalate,” noted Rep. Lofgren. “This bill, which addresses the most abusive practices, is a good first step in helping to curb that escalation. Importantly, this bill is not an absolute ban on the use of robocalls. I understand and respect the importance of the First Amendment’s protection of political speech and the benefits of robocall when used responsibly. This legislation ensures that political robocalls are used in a way that promotes, rather than discourages, meaningful participation by all Americans in the political process.”
“Throughout this primary election season, we’ve heard a number of horror stories involving computer-automated telephone calls from political campaigns – voters receiving them at all hours of the day and night. We need a sensible solution to this problem – one that protects both the privacy rights of Americans as well as the free speech of those who wish to engage in the political process. I believe our bill does just that and I commend Representative Lofgren for introducing this important legislation in the House,” stated Senator Feinstein.
“Pre-recorded phone messages, or ‘robocalls’ can be a useful method in communicating with constituents and voters, but they can also be used to deceive and confuse them, or worse, to deliberately suppress voter participation,” Rep. Bean said. “Informing voters about candidates’ positions can help our democratic process, but people shouldn’t be harassed by calls at obscene hours of the night. And voters should be told, up front, who is actually calling them.”
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.