Free Speech Bills Making Their Way Through the Tennessee General Assembly

The General Assembly is considering several bills to further expand upon the protected rights of free speech. These bills address free speech in areas of public life such as college campuses, social media, state governments, and elections.

Several legislators proposed a bill to create accountability for social media companies and the government entities that use them. State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) and State Representative Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) introduced legislation that would prohibit state agencies from utilizing any social media platforms that censor the free speech of others on the basis of political ideology, viewpoint discrimination, or personal animus. The language of the bill claimed that using those platforms was a “tacit acceptance” of the practice to limit or censor free speech and therefore a violation of the state constitution. That legislation is in committee currently in both the House and Senate.

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