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Bill Drafted to Squash Free Speech… Please Don’t Pass Senate Bill 2104,

Well it appears that a few legislatures this year really don’t have a clue about what constitutional rights are all about.

First they write a bill trying to track internet usage for two years and now there is a bill that will squash free speech.

Unfortunately the report title is “Harassment; Electronic Communication,” but most people are trying to disguise this as some sort of “Cyber Bullying” bill.

I myself see the bill as it’s written as a big infringement on folks personal freedoms and especially the freedom to free speech!

The Description of SB 2104 reads as follows and it would be attached to current laws on the books regarding actual real harassment:

Provides that the making of an electronic communication, as defined in section 711-1111(2), Hawaii Revised Statutes, that is directed at a specific person and causes that person emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose, together with the required specific intent, is harassment.

Well this means that I couldn’t specifically blog about folks such as President Obama, Governor Abercrombie, Mayor Kenoi, our County Council or any other SPECIFIC persons or people.

It’s a very slippery slope when the government tells people what they can and can not write and laws enacted like this are another bad example of legislation that wasn’t thought about before it went to the legislature.

I’m totally against cyber bullying and cyber harassment, however, as this bill is drafted… it infringes on our personal rights to free speech.

Now I will specifically state that Senators Green, Espero, Chun Oakland, and Ihara were the introducers of this bill.  Let’s hope this doesn’t cause them any personal emotional distress that I feel the way I do about this bill!

15 Responses

  1. “directed at a specific person and causes that person emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose, together with the required specific intent, is harassment.”

    Questions for the smarty-pants:

    So if I say BOH is the worst bank I have ever dealt with, in different forums, a face book page, anywhere,. – then I could go to jail if BOH thought I was harassing them, instead of just expressing my utter distaste for BOH?

    Does this mean, because I dont have the law knowledge that others seem to have, that this could eliminate any satirical cartoons in the op-ed section of any of our local newspapers?

    When does someone cross the line from private to public figure if public figures are not included?

  2. Damon, Freedom is not absolute. We don’t have the freedom to hurt others either physically or emotionally. Your understanding of the law is minimal. Neither slander or libel pertain to public figures in parody, but that protection is extended to public citizens. This bill is not about limiting your right to free speech. It is about protecting the rights of private citizens from the kind of harassment that doesn’t need rehashing here.
    With Freedom comes Responsibility.

  3. I actually agree that the clause “with no legitimate purpose” is an escape clause for 1st amendment protection. The only justification for this type of bill would be to bring electronic communication in line with other forms of communication vis a vis existing laws on harassment / stalking / restraining orders; I don’t know if that’s necessary and I suspect it isn’t.

  4. Any legislation of the internet is bad legislation. Stop trying to ruin the last free place on this earth. Stop trying to control nature, you cant, and you wont win.

  5. You are reading it wrong, Damon.
    It could be worded more carefully, but this does not infringe on your freedom of speech. It set consequences for those who abuse those rights, keeps people accountable for their public communication and generally brings the law into the 21st century.

    • I was setting an example.

      As you state Karin… “It could be worded more carefully…” ENOUGH SAID.

      Squash the bill and write it w/out the BS.

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