House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Thursday introduced the Free Speech Protection Act.
According to a committee press release, the bill would:
“Prohibit executive branch employees and contractors from using their positions to censor and otherwise attack speech protected by the First Amendment. [It] will also impose mandatory severe penalties for those executive branch employees who censor speech.”
The proposed legislation comes on the heels of Thursday’s contentious U.S. House of Representatives hearing of the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which was organized to “examine the federal government’s role in censoring Americans,” “Big Tech’s collusion with government agencies to silence speech” and the ongoing Missouri v. Biden lawsuit alleging government censorship.
According to Jordan:
“Censorship is a major threat to freedom today. It is clear that Big Government must be more transparent, and that bureaucrats must be held accountable for censorship.
“The Free Speech Protection Act accomplishes that and gives individuals remedies for censorship to protect vital First Amendment freedoms.”
As part of protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights, the bill would also:
- Mandate frequent publicly accessible reports from the heads of executive branch agencies detailing the communications between an executive branch agency and Big Tech.
- Ensure that federal grant money is not misused to label media organizations as sources of misinformation or disinformation.
- Terminate several programs and authorities that threaten free speech and other constitutionally protected rights.
Section 7 of the draft bill proposes the termination of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board — and bars any similar organization from being formed or funded in the future.
The bill would also require federal grant recipients to certify that funds are not being used to create lists of media outlets labeled as promoting misinformation or disinformation….