It looks like Minnesotans will avoid many of the automated political phone calls that have interrupted dinner conversations in some other states -- at least for now.
A conservative group from Iowa that challenged the state’s restrictions on such calls has dropped its demand that the Federal Election Commission halt Minnesota’s prohibitions.
The decision came after Minnesota and seven other states that restrict "robocalls" defended their laws in letters to the FEC.
The Minnesota law requires campaigns to use live operators to introduce automated calls and get the consent of the person answering the phone to play them -- conditions that discourage the practice.
The American Future Fund’s political action committee had asked the FEC last fall to override portions of a 1987 Minnesota law that curb the recorded calls, saying the restrictions infringe on federal laws overseeing campaign finance and free speech.
But the fund concluded this week that it saw no advantage in draft advisory opinions under consideration by the FEC.
One draft said recorded political phone calls can be curbed by Minnesota and other states. In another draft the agency declined to issue an opinion, saying disputes over restrictions on automated calls should be left to the courts.
While a third draft sided with the fund by preventing state restrictions, opposition to it from several states was so strong it was likely some would fight a court battle over the issue,
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Thursday hailed the development.
"People have the right to be let alone in their homes, and robocalls are particularly intrusive and annoying to Minnesota citizens," said Swanson, calling the fund’s request to strike down Minnesota’s law "misguided."