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
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
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.