Letter to the editor: Chapman draws bead on big tech

Iowans voices must be heard, senator says

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To the editor:

A couple of weeks ago, I told you that I was anxiously and eagerly working on legislation to protect Iowans from big tech censorship. Wait no longer. The legislation is here!

On Thursday I held a press conference with a number of my fellow Republican Senate colleagues to announce that we have filed SF402 to protect Iowans from liberal executives in the Silicon Valley who are censoring your speech! Proudly, we have a total of 30 senators sponsoring this incredibly important piece of legislation.

Our nation was built on the ability of Americans to freely express their views, political or otherwise! Yet today the public square of the 21st century is being controlled by a small number of elitists who believe they are the arbiters of truth and are dictating what content you can see and hear.

Iowa is in a unique position in that these big tech companies have or will invest billions of dollars in constructing data centers in our state. From Altoona to Council Bluffs to Waukee, big tech is here in a very huge way. These tech companies have or will reap hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives, including property tax abatements, tax credits and even exemption from paying tax on their energy consumption.

Unfortunately, under U.S. Code Section 230, big tech has been shielded from civil liability for their feckless censorship. This law preempts states from enacting measures that will allow our citizens in Iowa to file civil liability suits against these companies.

To further protect Iowans despite this unfortunate limitation, they will now have the ability to take action. With SF402 we will make big tech pay for their censorship.

SF402 establishes a mechanism whereby Iowa citizens will have their complaints investigated and heard before a court of law. Upon a finding that constitutionally protected speech was likely violated, the big tech companies will forfeit hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks, incentives and credits.

I feel so passionate about this legislation that I will personally shepherd this bill through the Senate. SF402 will receive a subcommittee very soon, and a companion bill has been filed in the house as a study bill in the Judiciary Committee by Chairman Steve Holt.

Big tech will be forced to choose: Either respect Iowans’ rights to express their views and thoughts, or forego these rich tax breaks. I have already begun the process in reaching out to colleagues in other states to introduce similar legislation. I am optimistic this type of legislation will be introduced in numerous states!

Sen. Jake Chapman
Adel

State Sen. Jake Chapman represents Iowa’s Senate District 10. He can be reached at 515-650-3942.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I hope your concern about censorship isn’t in support of the lies spread by Donald Trump and his supporters, claiming that he was somehow cheated out of being re-elected through voter fraud. Is that the basis of your censorship concern, Senator? And if not that, what specifically are you referring to?

    • First of all, anyone with a shred of sense knows that there is no way Biden got more legitimate votes than Trump period. Any person that values the Constitution knows that free press and free speech are fundamental. Information that is controlled by the powerful is a method of communisms. Maybe you don’t know this, but communism is bad. Grab a book and read.

  2. Another load of manure from Chapman. Note the pandering scare words “liberal” and “elitists.” The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has nothing to do with this, and he knows it (I hope). Like Susie Olesen, we see exactly what this is about. Chapman is working full time for his party, not Iowans. We pay him for this?

  3. Media outlets and social media providers are neither government agencies nor in the public sector whatsoever. They can publish what they will and censor whatever they wish. They are not beholden to the government except for prohibiting anything which can be legally construed as libel. Still, if the GOP feels dissenting views are not being allowed a voice, they can support the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. Oh, that’s right. It was Reagan, the GOP and Rupert Murdoch who demanded the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine. Indeed, this is a prime example of how getting exactly what one wants often turns out to be the last thing one needs. Besides, Chapman and the others need to prove beyond a doubt that rights are being violated. The question is whether the social media outlets are stifling legitimate grievances or prohibiting the dissemination of “alternative facts.” My money is on the latter.

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