(INDIANAPOLIS) — A House committee is trying to make an 11th-hour swerve to regulate social-
media apps in Indiana.
Commerce Chairman Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) wants to fine Facebook, Twitter or other apps if
they suspend your account, or delete or limit your posts. He describes those actions as
“censorship” and an infringement of free speech.
Morris filed the proposal three weeks ago, but even fellow Republicans say they were caught off
guard when it popped up for a vote with no notice or discussion. The agenda called for a
discussion of Morris’s bill to gut Governor Holcomb’s pandemic restrictions — Morris says he’s
abandoning that bill to make room for the social-media bill, through the legislative maneuver known
as “strip and insert.”
Even supporters are urging a fuller hearing next week before a final vote. Next Tuesday is the deadline for committees to send bills to the full House.
The bill calls for a $50,000 fine against companies who limit a post made in Indiana or
delete an Indiana user’s account.
Morris says he’s scuttling the original COVID bill because his concerns are being addressed in
other legislation. A separate bill now exempts houses of worship from any emergency orders.
Morris’s bill would also have prohibited any limits on business capacity or operating hours,
exempted private schools, and declared hospitals can’t be ordered to pause elective surgeries.
The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected attempts to go even further, by banning any
business restrictions at all, and either capping emergency declarations at 30 days or eliminating
the governor’s emergency powers entirely.