Last week on September 22, NetChoice and CCIA went to federal court to challenge HB 20 (formerly known as SB 5 and SB 12) on multiple constitutional grounds, in order to protect Texas consumers, small businesses, and free speech.
Today, NetChoice co-filed with CCIA its preliminary injunction request following its complaint against Attorney General Paxton regarding Texas’ anti-bias bill, HB 20. This preliminary injunction, if granted, will delay the law’s date of enforcement. The memorandum and the NetChoice declaration are linked here.
“A preliminary injunction ensures that our online spaces aren’t polluted with the worst of what’s on the internet. If an online public forum really is what Governor Abbott really wants, the state can easily create a government-run social network at PublicForum.Texas.gov,” said Steve DelBianco, President and CEO of NetChoice. “Until the court strikes down this unconstitutional law, Texans’ free speech and online safety is at risk. We cannot stand by and let the Texas government become the arbiter of what is and isn’t allowed online.”
“Just like we can stop people from holding a political rally in our front yard, private companies have the First Amendment, court-proven right to kick us off their social media spaces,” continued DelBianco. “The reasons HB 20 cannot take effect for even a second are simple—it removes our Constitutional protection against government compelled or restricted speech, and we risk losing the innovation, content moderation, and security protections built into an online ecosystem that balances free expression and public trust and safety for users, creators, and advertisers alike.”
Examples of what social media and online services could be forced to host if HB 20 can be enforced includes:
- Racial epithets
- Pornographic images and videos
- Homophobia and transphobia
- Harassment and revenge porn
- Medical Misinformation
- Dangerous conspiracy theories