On Monday, June 3, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) signed a law that aims to protect Free Speech for all students, citizens, and news outlets. This bill safeguards against unconstitutional lawsuits and so-called “free speech zones.”
According to the Associated Press, during the 2019 legislative session, numerous witnesses testified that they had been sued for libel or slander after simply expressing their First Amendment rights.
The law allows a citizen to seek an immediate stay of such a lawsuit.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic Representatives Lisa Cutter, Shannon Bird and Senator Michael Foote.
The Denver bill, modeled after a longstanding California statute, is considered one of the nation’s toughest challengers to outrageous and undemocratic lawsuits used against citizens who exercise their freedom of speech.
According to FOX News, “The new law allows a citizen to seek an immediate stay of such a lawsuit by arguing its motivated by the citizen’s exercise of First Amendment rights. A higher court can order immediate dismissal of the lawsuit, and plaintiffs can be held liable for court costs and attorneys’ fees.”
After the passage of the bill, Colorado joins about 30 other states that have enacted legislation to uphold the First Amendment.
Defending free speech is very important, arguably the defining trait of America, and its protection is extremely important.
Freedom of Speech legislation has not only been signed in Denver.
Polis also recently signed in a separate bill that would create a media literacy advisory panel in the state education department to study how to educate Colorado students about the role of the news media.
The panel will report to lawmakers on the possible introduction of media literacy studies in public schools.