Capital Clicks

Senate advances bill to fight online censorship

By: - March 17, 2021 5:30 pm

The Senate passed a bill aimed at penalizing companies that censor certain online content.(Creative Commons photo via Pxhere)

A bill that would ban state and local governments from having contracts with or offering aid to tech companies that censor certain online content passed the Iowa Senate on a party-line vote Wednesday.

Senate File 580 would ban state or local governments from having contracts with or providing aid to tech companies that censor certain online content. Several GOP senators, including the floor manager of the bill, Senate President Jake Chapman of Adel, said large social media companies have stymied conservative messages while allowing progressive ones.

“The reality is that we have liberal executives in the Silicon Valley dictating what Iowans are going to be fed through social media platforms,” Chapman said before the vote.

Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, called the bill “anti-business” and suggested Republicans focus on economic growth and pandemic recovery instead. “This is an anti-jobs, anti-tech, anti-business and anti-growth bill,” she said.

A similar bill, House File 830, is still alive in that chamber.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.