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Seventh US Circuit Says Indiana Robocall Law Not Pre-empted by Federal Law
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The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago released a decision on Thursday ruling that a lower court had erred in holding the Indiana ban on automated telephone calls to be preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Indiana state law in question bans automated telephone calls many of which disturb receivers.


However, the 7th Circuit directed the lower courts to find out whether the state law in question infringed the free speech rights guaranteed under the First Amendment in any manner.

Patriotic Veterans Inc, an Illinois-based nonprofit political advocacy group had challenged the Indiana state ban against automated calls. The group used a service that is capable of delivering up to 100,000 messages in three hours, and used the service to inform voters about the stands taken by politicians on issues of veterans.

The group challenged the Indiana law as invalid when applied to political messages.

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In 2011, US District Judge William Lawrence held the federal TCPA automatically preempted the state law as the federal law should apply to interstate use of automatic telephone dialing systems.

Admitting that it could create great confusion if interstate autodialers had to comply with 50 different state regulatory systems, nevertheless, the 7th Circuit ruled that the TCPA did not contain any provision that mentioned preemption of state laws.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner observed, “Legislators in the State of Indiana believe that the bulk of its citizens find automated telephone messages to be an annoyance, and one worthy of government protection … That the legislature attempted to do so without violating the free speech rights protected by the First Amendment does not turn the legislation into one with the purpose and objective of protecting non-commercial robocalls.”





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