New Report Surveys Speech-Chilling Statutes Across the Country

First-of-its-kind survey covers political speech and lobbying restrictions in 50 states and 3 cities

March 19, 2019   •  By IFS Staff   •  
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Alexandria, VA – The Institute for Free Speech today published a first-of-its-kind survey of campaign speech regulations and grassroots lobbying laws that implicate First Amendment freedoms.

The survey looks at state laws in twelve distinct policy areas, ranging from electioneering communications statutes to disclaimer rules to false statement laws. These statutes all have the potential effect of chilling speech and association.

“States regulate speech about government through a labyrinth of laws that often make it nearly impossible for average citizens to participate,” said Institute for Free Speech Senior Fellow and survey author Eric Wang. “This document is the first of its kind to attempt to pierce that veil. Would-be speakers will now at least be aware of the pitfalls they face.”

By illuminating the many ways states regulate activity related to speech and association, the Institute for Free Speech hopes to give policymakers a guide to the obstacles facing First Amendment-friendly policies.

“We hope this survey will be a useful resource for public policy advocates, litigators, and legislators,” said IFS Research Director Scott Blackburn. “When defending your First Amendment rights, the first step is knowing the current state of the law.”

To read the introduction to the survey, click here. To receive the full survey, please fill out the brief form at the bottom of the page.

About the Institute for Free Speech

The Institute for Free Speech is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and defends the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government. Originally known as the Center for Competitive Politics, it was founded in 2005 by Bradley A. Smith, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. The Institute is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.

IFS Staff

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