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Don't Call Us

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Candidates might learn to hate it, but every dinner-eating Idahoan might come to cheer a bill proposed by House Minority Caucus Chair John Rusche. The Lewiston Democrat wants to keep those annoying automated messages from entering your domestic phone lines. Rusche is a physician who keeps a home office.

"I got barraged, as many of us do, with calls with recorded announcements during election time," Rusche said. "I haven't found anyone who finds them anything other than annoying or offensive."

So this summer, he drafted a bill that would make it illegal to use automated dialing technology--in campaign parlance they're known as "robo-calls"--to heckle residents.

Rusche is aware that candidates past and future love the technology. The calls are cheap--he's seen them advertised for as little as 2 cents per call. The bill does make exceptions for public health issues and for utilities that need to inform customers of urgent situations. House Bill 75 has a few co-sponsors, Rusche said, and is headed for the House State Affairs Committee for its first hearing soon.

"I don't think it's the greatest problem facing the Idaho public," Rusche said. "But it's a real annoyance."

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