Connecticut House Bill 6410, An Act Establishing A Working Group Concerning Safe Online Practices, is expected to go before the House and Senate this week, possibly as early as May 3, 2023.
The purpose of the bill is "to establish a working group to study the issue of online harassment of individuals and make recommendations concerning necessary changes in state law to penalize online harassment of individuals and guidelines for reporting online harassment of municipal and state-elected officials.”
Free speech proponents are opposed to the bill since it limits social media comments, including criticism of elected and other public officials.
This means that, with a supermajority in Hartford, Democrats would have the ability to redefine what speech might be considered defamatory and/or harassment.
One need only think back to the height of covid hysteria to understand what’s potentially at stake here.
At that time, on September 9, 2021, a coalition of 20 Connecticut Senate Democrats sent an open letter to all elected and appointed state and local officials.
The letter lamented the "vitriol and harassment” directed at them by people protesting covid vaccines, vaccine mandates, mask requirements and other totally unscientific rules issued in the name of covid.
“We are issuing a call to action to all elected and appointed state and local officials to take a stand against the confrontational tactics of the anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and COVID-19 deniers who are increasingly infecting our public meetings, our public discourse and our public life with an anger, irrationality and abuse which we fear will soon escalate into physical assaults and violence against elected and appointed public officials,” said the 20 Democrats.
Mind you this statement was issued 543 days after 15 days to slow the spread first began.
Democrats used the letter to call out "certain politicians" (likely all Republicans) who, in some instances, praised the words and actions of the protestors.
You can easily see how Democrats would use HB6410 to their advantage in this situation.
If HB6410 passes, it would have a chilling effect on free speech in Connecticut.
Democrats could easily silence their online critics, all in the name of “safe online practices.”
The citizens of Connecticut cannot let this happen.
It’s time to pick up the phone, or draft an email to your elected officials right now. Do not remain silent.