New Hampshire Rep. David Bates (R-04) introduced H.B. 1232, which would repeal RSA 664:14-a III ("Prerecorded Political Messages"), the state's near-ban on political automated calls (including, by implication, automated political research calls).

The provision prohibits delivering or knowingly causing to be delivered, "a prerecorded political message to any telephone number on any federal do not call list."

A "prerecorded political message" is defined as "a prerecorded audio message delivered by telephone by: (a) A candidate or political committee; or (b) Any person when the content of the message expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure, or person at any election, or contains information about any candidate or party."

As with many similar laws and bills, the implication of "contains information about any candidate or party" implicates automated calls for political or public opinion research and the provision certainly prevents automated research calls conducted directly by political candidates and committees.

Unfortunately, even if H.B. 1232 became law, automated political research calls would still be effectively banned in New Hampshire, since provision II requires such calls to include "within the first 30 seconds of the message, the following information: (a) The name of the candidate or of any organization or organizations the person is calling on behalf of"; and "(b) The name of the person or organization paying for the delivery of the message and the name of the fiscal agent, if applicable."

Because such disclosures of sponsorship can irreperably bias research interviews, many automated political research studies would still be restricted in New Hampshire.

MRA will contact Rep. Bates in support of adding a full exemption from this section of the law for survey research calls to H.B. 1232.