BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A bill that looks to keep social media sites from censoring certain posts was put on hold at the state legislature Thursday. Senator Jay Morris was set to present his bill when the House Commerce Committee could not get enough Representatives in the room for a quorum to hear the bill. The Senator said he was shocked they couldn’t get a quorum and that his bill tackles a growing issue.
Senate Bill 196 looks to prohibit sites like Facebook and Twitter from censoring political and religious speech.
The social media giants in recent years began taking down content that is deceiving and proven to be false information.
Senator Morris’s bill states if a social media website removes someone’s content they can be entitled to damages up to $75,000. Social media companies are not viewed as publishers which allows them to block such content.
“The means by which information is distributed in this nation and in Louisiana is going through a small handful of companies who decide what we should be able to see, and what we should be able to read, and what we should be able to hear,” Sen. Morris said.
The bill had already been passed on the Senate floor and needs to pass this committee to have a final debate on the House floor. But days are running out as the session ends in one week on June 10, so this could be the end of the line for the bill.
Senator Morris said the circumstances the bill was halted under were suspicious.
Chairwoman Representative Paula Davis said the hearing was scheduled late Wednesday night and many of the Representatives were in other committees.
Senator Morris said he had spoken with most people on the committee so they were aware of the hearing.