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Census, Robocalls, and More Discussed During Senator Schatz's Telephone Town Hall

Office of Senator Brian Schatz

Senator Brian Schatz answered a wide variety of questions from Hawaii residents Wednesday during his telephone town hall. People asked about the electoral college, climate change, net neutrality, and more.

One resident asked if there was any efforts being made in Washington D.C. to stop robocalls and telephone scams. According to Schatz, cracking down on them has bipartisan support.

Schatz says he, like everyone else, hates robocalls, and the Senate recently passed a measure to limit them.

"We voted out the TRACED Act, and that gives the Federal Communications Commission the ability to find illegal robocalls," said Schatz. "It also requires these carriers to place in technical solutions. And this law will just require them to implement it, rather than treat it like a value add or 'Hey, if you want robocall blocking, you gotta pay extra.'"

Ironically, Senator Schatz used a robocall to let residents know he was having a telephone town hall meeting. He told HPR he felt bad using the method, but it was for a legitimate reason.

Residents also asked the Senator about the state's role in taking the census.

The census is important because it decides how federal funds are distributed, and how many representatives a state gets.

Schatz says although the controversial citizenship question is getting the most attention, the big issue for teh state is having enough resources to conduct it.

"I'm working with Governor Ige," Schatz said. "He's got, I think it's called, a Complete Count Committee. But it's working with social service organizations, churches and others to make sure that no person is left uncounted. And there's a similar effort nationwide to just make sure everybody gets counted."

Schatz says it would be great if the Supreme Court ruled against the citizenship question, but any ruling would not change the state's task of carrying out the census.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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