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Thursday, November 03, 2005

House votes to regulate Internet speech

Remember that pesky First Amendment? It's understandable if you've forgotton. Here's my favorite part:
Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
Unfortunately, annoying little things like the Constitution didn't stop the House from...well, making a law abridging the freedom of speech:
The House voted 225-182 for a bill that would have excluded blogs, e-mails and other Internet communications from regulation by the Federal Election Commission. That was 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed under a procedure that limited debate time and allowed no amendments. The vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.
At least we've got a Texan on our side -- Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who represents part of the D-FW metroplex:
"The newest battlefield in the fight to protect the First Amendment is the Internet," he said. "The Internet is the new town square, and campaign finance regulations are not appropriate there." Without his legislation, Hensarling said, "I fear that bloggers one day could be fined for improperly linking to a campaign Web site, or merely forwarding a candidate's press release to an e-mail list."
The bill is HR 1601. Make sure to include that bill number on your placards when you descend on Washington in a marauding horn. Also, the phrase "Keep your filthy hooves off Mattsapundit" would be good. Make sure the cameras see it.


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