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St. Peters seeks to stop ‘robo-calls’

A telephone call from a political candidate or group with a recorded message may not be the best way of cultivating votes in parts of St. Peters.

That’s what St. Peters Alderwoman Terri Violet (Ward 3), hears when she goes door-to-door during an election campaign.

“I actually had residents state that if you put out a robo call, I will not vote for you,” Thomas said. “They hate robo calls; they are annoying.”

Alderman Dave Thomas (Ward 1), was told the same recently.

“People were asking am I going to be hounding everybody with phone calls,” Thomas said.

These and other complaints about automated solicitation telephone calls, particularly political candidates, parties or groups, are prompting St. Peters city officials to complain to a higher authority.

The city’s Board of Aldermen is expected to consider a resolution at their Feb. 26 meeting asking that the Missouri General Assembly enact legislation severely limiting automated telephone or “robo” calls made “for political campaign purposes.” The board discussed the resolution during a work session on Feb. 12.

Missouri lawmakers passed legislation establishing a “do not call list” that permits residential telephone customers to sign up to not receive unwelcome commercial solicitations over the telephone.

However, provisions of the law don’t protect consumers with cellphones from automated telephone calls or calls from an automatic dialing announcing device (ADAD).

Mayor Len Pagano said the resolution marks the third time city officials have made similar requests to state legislators, but there has been a recent turn of events.

“There has been a surge in robo calls that are starting to go to cellphones,” Pagano said.

Automated telephone calls to cellphones are actually costing some customers because they are using up minutes allotted to residents in their cellular telephone plans, he said.

Once passed, the resolution goes to St. Charles County’s legislation delegation in the Missouri General Assembly. The resolution encourages legislators to pass a Senate bill, sponsored by State Sen. Scott Rupp (R-District 2), and a House bill introduced by State Rep. Tom Dempsey (R-District 18), the Majority Floor Leader, that would allow cellphones to be placed on the “do not call” list.

“The people of St. Peters have spoken so many times opposing robo calls,” Pagano said. “They are actually disgusted with those calling.”

The city’s aldermen said they would support the resolution.

Violet said unsolicited calls also are annoying because they can interfere with other calls and disrupt family activities.

“We’re not interested in being harassed by technology,” Thomas said.

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