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Author Topic: Free Speech  (Read 4721 times)

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truthjourney

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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2020, 08:47:27 am »
The Yellow Vest movement started from motorists being angry about the increase in diesel price.

“Yellow Vest” protesters have defied a ban on mass gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFKnD3Zuw9s
Isa. 29:15Woe to those who dig deep to hide their plans from the LORD.
In darkness they do their works and say,“Who sees us, and who will know?”
16You have turned things upside down,..
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Eph. 5:11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose and rebuke them.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

truthjourney

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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2020, 09:01:59 am »
That's all we need, to have more of our rights taken away. As if the Patriot Act wasn't bad enough.

As leaders seize powers to fight coronavirus, fear grows for democracy

BRUSSELS —France and Bolivia have postponed elections. Peru handed its president broad new legislative authority. Israel sharply ramped up the reach of its surveillance state.

While leaders around the world fight the spread of the coronavirus, they’re amassing sweeping new powers. As legislatures limit or suspend activities in the name of social distancing, many of the norms that define democracy — elections, deliberation and debate, checks and balances — have been put on indefinite hold.

The speed and breadth of the transformation is unsettling political scientists, government watchdogs and rights groups. Many concede that emergency declarations and streamlining government decision-making are necessary responses to a global health threat. But they question how readily leaders will give up the powers they’ve accrued when the coronavirus eventually subsides.

“This is a situation where it’s far too easy to make arguments for undue interference with civil rights and liberties,” said Tomas Valasek, a Slovak lawmaker.

The country that has attracted the most notice for a lurch backward from democratic reforms is Hungary, which last month handed Prime Minister Viktor Orban near-dictatorial powers. Orban was already facing the prospect of sanctions from the European Union over concerns he had packed courts with loyalists, closed down opposition media outlets and overhauled the country’s constitution to ensure he remains in power. The new measure gives him authority to legislate by decree, free from parliamentary oversight, for as long as he deems necessary to fight the coronavirus, and it imposes steep penalties for spreading “false information” — a step that critics fear will be used to further crack down on the opposition.

But even countries with robust traditions of freedom and dissent have imposed measures nearly overnight that under other circumstances would look more familiar in an authoritarian state. In Belgium, authorities have ­requisitioned cellphone companies’ location tracking data to make sure people aren’t straying too far from home. Police checkpoints on major streets monitor what the phone companies miss.

“It doesn’t just take the despots and the illiberals of this world, like Orban, to wreak damage,” said Valasek, who has been involved in negotiating Slovakia’s pandemic response. “We need to make sure that we don’t go a single inch further than absolutely necessary in curtailing civil liberties in the name of fighting for public health.”

Past moments of extreme anxiety have given rise to measures that long outlived the crisis they were imposed to address. After the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, for example, Egyptians lived 31 more years under a state of emergency that granted the government sweeping security powers.

The state of emergency declared in France after terrorist attacks in November 2015 remained in place for two years — and was ended only after many of the surveillance powers it enabled were made permanent.

And in the United States, the 9/11 attacks led to emergency measures that persist to this day. The detention center in Guantánamo Bay is still open. Targeted drone killings continue. Under the Patriot Act, mass surveillance is still possible.

“September 11th is the appropriate analogy,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “We had a fearful public that was willing to countenance a government that was taking steps that undermined civil rights and were difficult to reverse over a long time.

“Governments around the world are assembling emergency powers that they will be reluctant to relinquish, and over time emergency powers seep into the fabric of society,” he said. “You see this throughout history.”

Story continues:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/as-leaders-seize-powers-to-fight-coronavirus-fear-grows-for-democracy/ar-BB12wC0t?ocid=spartanntp

« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 12:05:15 am by truthjourney »
Isa. 29:15Woe to those who dig deep to hide their plans from the LORD.
In darkness they do their works and say,“Who sees us, and who will know?”
16You have turned things upside down,..
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Eph. 5:11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose and rebuke them.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
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patrick jane

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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2020, 05:53:13 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/november/scotus-ruling-new-york-church-worship-block-barrett.html








Supreme Court Blocks New York’s Worship Service Restrictions




It’s the first time during the pandemic the high court has sided with churches and synagogues challenging the new rules on religious liberty grounds.


As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus.

The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the majority. It was the conservative’s first publicly discernible vote as a justice. The court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.

The move was a shift for the court. Earlier this year, when Barrett’s liberal predecessor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was still on the court, the justices divided 5-4 to leave in place pandemic-related capacity restrictions affecting churches in California and Nevada.

The court’s action Wednesday could push New York to reevaluate its restrictions on houses of worship in areas designated virus hot spots, though both groups who sued are no longer in zones subject to the strictest attendance restrictions.

The justices acted on an emergency basis, temporarily barring New York from enforcing the restrictions against the groups while their lawsuits continue. In an unsigned opinion the court said the restrictions “single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.”

“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,” the opinion said.

Though the decision addresses the restrictions in New York in particular, religious liberty expert John Inazu said on Twitter, “I think the Court’s conclusion is correct and makes some important observations, including that these orders cause irreparable harm because they involve restrictions of First Amendment freedoms, and that virtual worship is not a constitutionally sufficient alternative.”

“In other words, worship is absolutely an ‘essential activity’ and to say otherwise is constitutionally incorrect and politically unwise,” he added. Inazu, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said it was the first time the high court had sided with houses of worship challenging COVID-19 regulations, but also that as the pandemic has gone on, Americans have learned more about the disproportionate risks of different activities.

The opinion noted that in red zones, while a synagogue or church cannot admit more than 10 people, businesses deemed “essential,” from grocery stores to pet shops, can remain open without capacity limits. And in orange zones, while synagogues and churches are capped at 25 people, “even non-essential businesses may decide for themselves how many persons to admit.”

Roberts, in dissent, wrote that there was “simply no need” for the court’s action. “None of the houses of worship identified in the applications is now subject to any fixed numerical restrictions,” he said, adding that New York’s 10 and 25 person caps “do seem unduly restrictive.”

“The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” he wrote.

Roberts and four other justices wrote separately to explain their views. Barrett did not.

The court’s action was a victory for the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues that had sued to challenge state restrictions announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on October 6.

The Diocese of Brooklyn, which covers Brooklyn and Queens, argued houses of worship were being unfairly singled out by the governor’s executive order. The diocese argued it had previously operated safely by capping attendance at 25 percent of a building’s capacity and taking other measures. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens are now in yellow zones where attendance at houses of worship is capped at 50 percent of a building’s capacity, but the church is keeping attendance lower.

“We are extremely grateful that the Supreme Court has acted so swiftly and decisively to protect one of our most fundamental constitutional rights—the free exercise of religion,” said Randy Mastro, an attorney for the diocese, in a statement.

Avi Schick, an attorney for Agudath Israel of America, wrote in an email: “This is an historic victory. This landmark decision will ensure that religious practices and religious institutions will be protected from government edicts that do not treat religion with the respect demanded by the Constitution.”

Two lower courts had sided with New York in allowing the restrictions to remain in place. New York had argued that religious gatherings were being treated less restrictively than secular gatherings that carried the same infection risk, like concerts and theatrical performances. An email sent early Thursday by The Associated Press to the governor’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

There are currently several areas in New York designated orange zones but no red zones, according to a state website that tracks areas designated as hot spots.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2020, 05:57:41 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/november/scotus-gets-it-right-religious-liberty-church-is-essential.html








SCOTUS Gets It Right on Religious Liberty: Church IS Essential





But the right outcome here doesn’t mean all restrictions are invalid or that churches should reopen.



Last night, the Supreme Court issued injunctive relief to houses of worship challenging New York City’s COVID-19 restrictions on in-person gatherings, the first time it has granted such relief during the pandemic. I have mixed views about the decision and early reactions to it.

First, I don’t think this decision is as momentous as commentators are suggesting. It is fairly fact-specific injunctive relief, and the nature and scope of pandemic orders vary greatly around the country. It’s hard to generalize much from this decision, and I’m concerned that public messaging about it will fuel a broader culture wars narrative from religious leaders like John MacArthur who insist “there is no pandemic” and continue to hold services for 7,000 unmasked people. An injunction against a 25-person cap is not a green light to return to regular worship. Given the current state of the pandemic, it’s not even a yellow light.

The dire rates of transmission we’re seeing all around the country, the Thanksgiving holiday travel, and our growing awareness that indoor, in-person gatherings are a major cause of transmission all increase the likelihood that even more restrictions may be coming. That’s another reason it’s best to view this order as limited and fact-specific.

That said, I think the Court’s decision is correct and offers some important observations. One of the most important is that these shutdown orders cause irreparable harm because they restrict First Amendment freedoms—and that virtual worship is not a constitutionally sufficient alternative. In other words, worship is absolutely an “essential activity” and to say otherwise is constitutionally incorrect and politically unwise. The New York City order and others like it should not be classifying worship as non-essential. Of course worship is essential.

That doesn’t mean worship may not be restricted. Earlier this year, the Court denied injunctive relief to a challenge against California’s restrictions affecting houses of worship. Chief Justice Robert’s concurrence supporting California’s restrictions seemed largely correct to me. In many cases, limitations on houses of worship will be constitutionally permissible policy decisions.

The New York City order is an example of policy overreaching. The constitutionality of other orders will depend upon local context and the degree to which restricted activities share comparable characteristics. Justice Gorsuch’s concurrence in last night’s decision gets too cute, comparing worship services to bike shops and liquor stores:

[T]he Governor has chosen to impose no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers “essential.” And it turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores. Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians.

Picking up a bottle of wine and attending a lengthy worship service are not comparable activities when we consider where people are located, how they’re moving, and what they’re doing. We would need to know a lot more before buying into Justice Gorsuch’s closer: “Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”

Justice Gorsuch rightly notes that we are past the pandemic’s early stages and we know much more about the virus today. But it’s not clear which way that cuts. On the one hand, many houses of worship are taking precautions that appear to be effective (as noted by the evidence presented in this case), and certainly better than activities like in-person dining. On the other hand, the pandemic is getting worse.

The elephant in the room is all of the latitude given restaurants and bars, whose gatherings seem far worse for the pandemic than limited-number, masked, indoor worship. As Amanda Mull observes in The Atlantic:

Why can’t a governor or mayor just be honest? There’s no help coming from the Trump administration, the local coffers are bare, and as a result, concessions are being made to business owners who want workers in restaurants and employees in offices in order to white-knuckle it for as long as possible and with as many jobs intact as possible, even if hospitals start to fill up again.

She’s right. That’s bad news for the pandemic, but it also weakens governmental responses to constitutional claims by houses of worship. Keeping Home Depot open while limiting houses of worship might make sense. Keeping restaurants and bars open while restricting houses of worship at the level of NYC’s order is much harder to defend.

Of course, questions of law and governmental policy speak only to what houses of worship may do, not what they should do. At a time when much of the country is sick and suffering and much of the country is partying and dining, many houses of worship continue to comply voluntarily even when orders have exempted them. That’s a tangible sign of loving one’s neighbor, even at great cost.








John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly (Yale University Press, 2012) and Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and co-editor (with Tim Keller) of Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference (Thomas Nelson, 2020).
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2021, 07:47:19 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/jericho-march-dc-election-overturn-trump-biden-congress.html








Jericho March Returns to DC to Pray for a Trump Miracle





Protesters are putting the pressure on Pence to act on the president’s behalf when Congress meets to confirm the Electoral College votes.


A die-hard group of Trump supporters hopes 2021 will start with prayer, fasting, and perhaps a miracle.

Organizers of the Jericho March, slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, have called on “patriots, people of faith and all those who want to take back America” to travel to Washington on those days for a pair of marches to overturn the recent presidential election.

Marchers plan to blow ritual Jewish horns called shofars on the first day before circling the Supreme Court building seven times in imitation of the Israelites’ siege of the city of Jericho described in the Bible’s Book of Joshua. On Wednesday, they plan to do the same around the US Capitol building.

The demonstrators will also pray that Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress will reject slates of electors from Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Nevada, where Trump loyalists claim there was rampant election fraud.

Courts in those states, along with federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, have rejected a series of lawsuits filed by supporters of President Donald Trump, ruling that there was no evidence of election fraud. Former US Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press in early December that the Department of Justice had found no evidence of wide-scale election fraud.

Preceding the two days of protest, the organizers will hold candlelight prayer vigils and “self-led” marches in the nation’s capital. Similar marches will take place in the states where marchers claim the elections were fraudulent.

In mid-December, a rally in Washington organized by the same group of pro-Trump activists featured speakers such as Eric Metaxas and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. The same day, members of the far-right militia the Proud Boys burned Black Lives Matter banners at two DC churches.

Metaxas and other evangelical Trump supporters have held a series of evening prayer calls featuring pro-Trump figures such as Michael Flynn, a former presidential adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was later pardoned by Trump, along with religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would be reelected.

Jericho March organizers said in a statement that they demand that administration officials, including Pence, intervene in the election.

“Vice President Pence has the ability to elect the President himself and Jericho March calls on him to exercise his rightful power in the face of the blatant election fraud and corruption,” the group said in a statement.

Pence will preside in the Senate on Wednesday when Congress meets to confirm the votes of the Electoral College. Federal law requires him to accept the slates of electors that have been certified by states, according to legal experts.

The announcement of the Jericho March came after Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri announced he would object to the results of several states being certified. Hawley is one of a dozen GOP senators and many more House Republicans who are expected to reject Biden’s win.

Conservative Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska accused his colleagues of putting political ambition above the nation’s good and trying to disenfranchise millions of American voters.

“Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government,” he wrote.

More than 2,000 religious leaders, including former World Vision president Rich Stearns, have signed a statement organized by progressive faith groups that calls on Congress to honor the election results and avoid “a delayed and drawn-out objection,” the AP reported.

Several well-known anti-Trump evangelicals, including Southern Baptist author and Bible teacher Beth Moore and author and First Amendment lawyer David French, have denounced the way that evangelical supporters of the president have embraced conspiracy theories.

“I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism,” Moore said on Twitter in mid-December. “This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2021, 09:38:43 am »
BANNED! Twitter Blocked Our Voter Fraud Evidence | Louder with Crowder



Twitter SUSPENDED our account for a short video simply saying we independently found voter fraud. HUGE mistake on Twitter's part. We also recap Tuesday’s hearings on the Capitol riot. And why is it okay for Joe Biden to put “kids in cages"?

1 hour
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeWUi5yZEBY
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2021, 12:51:06 pm »
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Free Speech
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2021, 04:51:05 am »

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/30/texas-soical-media-censorship/




Texas Senate approves bill to stop social media companies from banning Texans for political views





Some experts have raised doubts whether the bill will hold up in court.

The Texas Senate early Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit social media companies with at least 100 million monthly users from blocking, banning, demonetizing or discriminating against a user based on their viewpoint or their location within Texas.

Senate Bill 12, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, was approved after 2 a.m. Thursday. The measure, which would apply to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among others, would also require the companies to disclose their content moderation policies, publish regular reports about the content they remove and create an appeals process for user content that has been taken down.

The Texas attorney general would be allowed to file suit against any company that violates a provision of the bill. If upheld in court, the attorney general could recoup "reasonable" attorney's fees and investigative costs.

Experts have raised doubts about the legality of the measure. Hughes acknowledged that, if signed into law, SB 12 would almost certainly be challenged in court. He repeatedly referred to social media platforms as common carriers, though they have never been classified as such by law or in the court system. Common carriers, such as phone companies and cable providers, are private or public companies that transport goods or people and are barred by government regulators from discriminating against customers.

“Even though they’re private actors, because they are common carriers, because they chose to enter this business and offer their services, then they are bound by certain rules,” Hughes said.

Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond to requests for comment. In remarks before Congress last week, company executives denied removing content or blocking users based on their viewpoints.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment specifically on SB 12, but said in a statement that the platform enforces "the Twitter Rules judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service — regardless of ideology or political affiliation — and our policies help us to protect the diversity and health of the public conversation."

The bill heads to the House, where two identical bills have been filed but so far have not moved forward in the State Affairs Committee.

During Tuesday’s debate on the bill, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, pointed out that while Facebook and Twitter would be included under the measure, websites such as Parler and Gab, which are popular among conservatives, would be left out because they have fewer than 100 million monthly users. He proposed an amendment that would have lowered the threshold to 25 million monthly users, but it was voted down by a vote of 21-10.

Hughes stressed that the measure seeks to protect all viewpoints. But at a press conference earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his support for the measure and chided social media companies for leading a “dangerous movement” to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs.”

The rhetoric about silencing conservatives ramped up following the 2020 election, when platforms including Facebook and Twitter removed former President Donald Trump’s account for inciting violence during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Prior to that, the platforms attached warnings to posts by Trump and other conservatives who were, without evidence, sowing doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

Republican politicians have long targeted technology giants — accusing them of an anti-conservative bias and for silencing free speech, even though the actions to ban members were often in response to credible evidence that communications were inciting violence. A February report by researchers at New York University found that “there are no credible studies showing that Twitter removes tweets for ideological reasons.”

In a congressional hearing last October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers that “Democrats often say that we don’t remove enough content, and Republicans often say we remove too much.”

“The fact that both sides criticize us doesn’t mean that we’re getting this right, but it does mean there are real disagreements about where the limits of online speech should be,” he said.

Twitter in January purged more than 70,000 accounts linked to the dangerous conspiracy theorist group QAnon for the movement’s connection to the U.S. Capitol attack.

Hughes in 2019 filed a similar measure that won Senate approval, but it ultimately died in committee in the Texas House.






Florida Governor Signs Social Media ‘Censorship' Bill



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday as part of his campaign to reign in Big Tech companies when it comes to how they handle the information they collect from consumers and in how social media platforms treat their users.

DeSantis said the bill, signed at Florida International University in Miami by the Republican governor, cracks down on what he called social media "censorship" while safeguarding Floridians' ability to access social media platforms.

"One of their major missions seems to be suppressing ideas that are either inconvenient to the narrative or which they personally disagree with," DeSantis said.

The bill also imposes hefty financial penalties against social media platforms that suspend the accounts of political candidates. The bill would fine companies $250,000 a day for doing so.

DeSantis launched his offensive against social media companies in February when he accused platforms like Facebook and Twitter of censoring conservative ideology.

DeSantis said social media platforms have become modern-day public squares, and the governor and others have accused social media companies of censoring conservative thought by removing posts or using algorithms that reduce the visibility of posts.

The bill, SB 7072, requires social media companies to be transparent about content moderation practices and give notice to users of changes to those policies.

Florida's attorney general can bring action against technology companies that violate the law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and social media platforms found to have violated antitrust law will be restricted from contracting with any public entity, DeSantis said.
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