First, the background. The South Carolina legislature is poised to pass new regulations of political speech. While the proposed law is being spun as perfunctory regulation of election ads, it actually would go much farther than mere campaign ads to potentially cover virtually all communications critical of public officials during a broad window before an election.
The proposals offered by both the House and Senate are clearly unconstitutional, appear designed to capture all communications critical of elected officials, and would almost certainly result in a federal court challenge. The bill under consideration is House bill 3722. (See also this Senate version, a bill that’s widely thought to be dead but may not be).
This bill would clash with multiple rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that have clearly protected political speech under the First Amendment.
Continue Reading this story at the SC Policy Council.