Friday, March 24, 2006

Senator Frist on Regulating Political Expression on the Internet

A couple items from the Congressional Record.
31 . ONLINE FREEDOM OF SPEECH ACT -- (Senate - March 09, 2006)

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, yesterday, I filed the Online Freedom of Speech Act as an amendment to the lobbying reform bill.

This morning, the House Administration Committee will mark up identical legislation. We expect the House to act as early as next week to pass this vital protection of free speech.

Thomas Jefferson once quipped that, ``Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.''

But despite his low opinion of the press, he also observed that, ``Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.'' ...

As an amateur blogger myself, and soon-to-be private citizen, I am committed to ensuring that the extraordinary explosion of political debate in the blogosphere is protected from meddling bureaucrats and regulators in Washington, DC.

I commented on this very issue on my own blog last week. Free political expression is not a narrow privilege but a fundamental right. ...

It seems only reasonable that free speech should include the humble act of posting a blog.


44 . TEXT OF AMENDMENTS -- (Senate - March 08, 2006)

SA 2955. Mr. FRIST submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2349, to provide greater transparency in the legislative process; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the end of title II, insert the following:

SEC. __. MODIFICATION OF DEFINITION OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATION.

(a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``Online Freedom of Speech Act''.

(b) Amendment.--Section 301(22) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(22)) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``Such term shall not include communications over the Internet.''.

And links to the amendment and the bill (and other bills), to facilitate following progress if this measure is taken up by the Senate.

H.R. 1606 - Online Freedom of Speech Act
H.R. 4900 - Internet Free Speech Protection Act of 2006
S. 2349 - Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006
S.Amdt. 2955

See also FEC Draft Final rules:
http://www.fec.gov/agenda/2006/mtgdoc06-20.pdf

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