State House approves ban on campaign lies
Posted by Liberty on February 24, 2009
If this bill makes it through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, it will be illegal in Washington State to lie in the course of a campaign for public office. My first thought was, “Couldn’t they make this retroactive and nail Queen Christine for the lies she told about the state budget?” But the real focus of this law appears to be lies about a candidate’s opponent.
“The bill, passed out of the House on a 92-2 vote, seeks to reinstate an old law that was thrown out on free speech grounds by the state Supreme Court in 2007. The court said the state’s former ban on lying in campaigns violated the First Amendment because it did not require proof that campaign falsehoods were defamatory.
Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, said this year’s attempt at reinstating the ban on campaign lies addresses the court’s problems with the old law. Specifically, the bill approved Monday would prohibit false statements that are libelous or defamatory, and committed with actual malice – a key legal test in free speech case law.”