Online Freedom of Speech Vote Delayed

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 16, 2006 9:49 AM

H.R. 1606 will not be on the House floor this week after all. Reformers still want their substitute to be offered on the floor, too, despite the fact it hasn't been through committee, so 1606 was pushed back until after recess because reformers and freedom-lovers couldn't come to a compromise.

Bradley Smith, former commissioner of federal elections himself, writes about why we should stay positive:

The speech regulators are on the defensive...

And that leads to my third point: H.R. 4900, the CDT alternative, is a better bill (from the freedom point of view) than what the reformers trotted out as an "alternative" last fall. And remember, they don't really want to trot out anything. Every concession they make is a small win. H.R. 4900 is not as good as H.R. 1606. It has some nice little ornaments that H.R. 1606 does not seek to address, and if the reformers were honest about wanting to protect the net they would offer those pro-freedom amendments to 1606 and then vote for the whole bill. But its core provisions clearly do not provide the security to internet activities that 1606 does. Nevertheless, if 4900 is what we end up with, recognize that it is better than what the reformers expected to get when they won their court decision requiring the FEC to regulate the web.

If I'm overloading you with acronyms, reading the whole Smith piece should clear things up. Keep paying attention, folks, so we can win this one when the time does come.