Chesterton Tribune



Robocall ruling overturned

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A federal appeals court has reversed a district judge's ruling that Indiana's ban on political robo-calls covers only in-state telephone calls because federal law doesn't allow such limitations.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Thursday that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act "says nothing about pre-empting laws that regulate the interstate use of automatic dialing systems. Therefore, we must conclude they are not pre-empted."

That reversed a ruling two years ago by U.S. District Judge William Lawrence in Indianapolis. The appeals court sent the case back to the district court to determine whether Indiana's law violates First Amendment free-speech rights.

Patriotic Veterans Inc. filed a lawsuit in 2010 challenging a state law that prohibits using automatically dialed phone calls to deliver a prerecorded message unless consumers have given consent. Telemarketers, including those calling on behalf of campaigns and political groups, are allowed to make automated calls to households only if a live operator first obtains the consumer's permission or if the recipient opts in to receiving such calls.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller praised the appeals court ruling.

"This decision confirms the position we have been advocating for over a decade in every forum where our telephone privacy laws have been challenged. Federal law bearing on telemarketing simply does not preclude broader state prohibitions," Zoeller said.

 Posted 11/22/2013