A bill was introduced this year to the California Assembly, AB 1104, bans “false” or “deceptive” statements on the internet having to do with any candidate or ballot measure. The relevant text of the proposed measure:
“Section 18320.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
“18320.5. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on an Internet Web site, or cause to be made, published, or circulated in any writing posted on an Internet Web site, a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote on either of the following:
“(a) Any issue submitted to voters at an election.
“(b) Any candidate for election to public office.”
The prohibition is not limited just to anyone who makes or publishes such alleged falsities, but also anyone who “circulate[s]” such statements. This means that a retweet a tweet on Twitter or a share on Facebook could be illegal. Further, the prohibition extends to people who “cause” the above to happen. While the legislative analyst claims that this is totes OK, citing an allegedly similar measure from Colorado, it is so vaguely worded as to potentially apply to anyone.
Most disconcerting, though, is the obvious answer to the question of who decides what is false or deceptive? Considering that the hard Left control California at the state level and in many counties therein, there is a clear temptation to selectively attack political opponents who hold doubleplusungood positions or give voice to their incorrect crimethink.
For example, if there was a ballot measure concerning “global warming”, could anyone who questions the “settled science” be prosecuted? ‘Twould be easy to come to a “consensus” for “green” measures when the state actively prosecutes dissenting opinion.
The bill analysis also sites “Russian” influences and the 2016 election as justification for silencing utterances deemed false by Minitrue…
Remember, this is the state where people have been charged with the crime of committing politically incorrect doubleplusungood journalism…
The text of the bill as introduced, followed by the in-house bill analysis, can be read below:
Hat Tip: Heat Street.