The Texas Senate recently passed the Freedom from Censorship Act (Senate Bill 12), filed by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), to protect Texans’ right to free speech on social media platforms.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced on his Twitter page back in February that he supported Hughes’ effort, stating the legislation “would prevent social media providers like Facebook and Twitter from cancelling conservative speech.”
A bill was introduced two years ago, but failed to pass. Hughes told the News Messenger previously that the bill he’s filed will give Texans who have been kicked off of the social media platforms due to their political or religious viewpoints, a way to get back online. It’ll also provide a way to sue the Big Techs for discrimination.
“In Texas, we will defend our right to free speech against West Coast social media oligarchs,” Hughes said.
“I think we all have to acknowledge these social media companies are the new town square, and a small group of people in San Francisco can’t dictate free speech for the rest of us,” he said on his Twitter page, following the passing of the Act by the Senate last Thursday.
“It needs to be an open exchange of ideas, and Senate Bill 12 is going to get Texas back on line,” the Senator said.
Hughes said Senate Bill 12 will not only hold big tech companies accountable, but will also protect Texans against social or political viewpoint discrimination, and empower those who are wrongly silenced to get back online.
“We invited these companies to testify on the bill, but they decided not to show up,” he said. “Instead, they have engaged in a dishonest and coordinated media campaign to confuse the issues and derail this bill. But the Texas Senate didn’t fall for it, and neither will the people of Texas.”
Senator Hughes expressed his thanks to Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, his House counterparts and fellow Texans who supported the bill and recognized “the unprecedented power these companies have over public discourse.”
“Their power has not been subject to constitutional safeguards, and free speech has suffered,” said Hughes. “Senate Bill 12 will serve as a safeguard for Texans and as a model for other states as they fight to safeguard free speech in America.”
Hughes explained that the bill will not only make sure that Texans have the right to free speech, but also the ability to exercise that right in the modern public square. The bill is co-sponsored by State Rep. Scott Sanford, and now awaits action in the Texas House of Representatives.
“We expect it to get a good consideration; and hopefully soon on the governor’s desk for his signature,” said Hughes.