Alabama Sen. Greg Reed (R-05) has re-introduced S.B. 11, similar to last year's S.B. 96, which MRA worked with AAPC to defeat. S.B. 11 would amend Section 17-5-16 of the Alabama Code to require “any communication via phone bank or other automated telephone dialing service to be conducted” with a “notice at the beginning and ending of the phone call that the communication was a paid political advertisement, clearly identifying the identification of the person, nonprofit corporation, entity, principal campaign committee, or political action committee that paid for such communication.”
S.B. 11 would also make it "unlawful for any owner, employee, agent, or other representative of any phone bank or other automated telephone dialing service to fraudulently misrepresent himself or herself or any other person or organization with which he or she is affiliated as speaking for or on behalf of any candidate, principal campaign committee, political action committee, or political party or agent or employee in a manner which is damaging or is intended to be damaging to such other candidate, principal campaign committee, political action committee, or political party."
Although the bill lacks clear definitions, it would certainly apply to survey and opinion research calls in a political or public opinion context. That would mean that such research calls would have to identify themselves as political advertisements and identify their sponsorship.
S.B. 11 would thus insert bias into research calls by forcing revelation of sponsorship, in addition to falsely labeling a research call as an advertisement.
MRA intends to join with the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) once again, to either amend or defeat S.B. 11, to protect telephone survey research in Alabama.