Similar to the Texas bill, HB 441 bars government officials from enforcing its provisions, in favor of giving individuals the right to sue. This reliance on private parties rather than public officials is meant to circumvent potential lawsuits that would keep the law from taking effect.
Steve DelBianco heads up a tech industry trade association called NetChoice, and he warned that approach won’t protect the bill in the long run. DelBianco explained his organization has already successfully challenged similar measures in Florida and Texas.
“That will make it harder to get an injunction as NetChoice did in Florida in Texas. But in my humble opinion, I think that was a change that was too clever by half,” DelBianco said, “because private lawsuits will run into the very same constitutional problems as the state did before in Texas.”
DelBianco stressed his conservative credentials before the committee, noting he went out canvassing for Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1984. He also noted that conservative voices tend to do better than liberal ones on many social networks when it comes to metrics like rankings, followers and sharing. He allowed there are anecdotal examples of conservatives getting sidelined over posts that violate a business’s terms, but at the same time, those examples undermine the idea that conservatives are being silenced.
“Those anecdotes, while not statistically significant, are elevated very quickly,” he said. “They’re elevated in the media, they’re elevated by the speakers because they seek to try to call attention to it.”