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Editorial: New bills across nation strip away rights

This year, numerous bills have been proposed, which would take away many rights that we, as U.S. citizens, currently enjoy.

Florida House Bill 991 is an example of an obvious infringement on free speech. This bill lowers the bar on who is considered a public figure for defamation purposes and on what is considered defamation.

“[Florida HB 911] weakens state laws that have long protected journalists against frivolous lawsuits,” according to American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “The bill also requires journalists reveal their sources or face liability when accused of defamation. It also grants new protections to those who discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals.”

This bill not only affects professional journalists but also social media, allowing Florida citizens to sue those who spread information in light of the new defamation laws.

The RESTRICT Act, or S. 686, is a bipartisan Senate bill proposed “to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries, and for other purposes.”

This act would affect social media platforms like Chinese-owned TikTok, potentially banning the platform.

More abortion bills are also being passed. Nebraska’s “Heartbeat” Legislative Bill 626, which would ban abortion at six weeks, and Arkansas HB 1174, which could allow women who receive abortions to be charged with homicide.

In Mississippi, HB 1020, which has been referred to as the “Jim Crow” bill, is being called unconstitutional.

“Many lawmakers have publicly argued the bill violates the U.S. Constitution because it denies a right to vote to the city’s 80%-plus Black population and allows the judges to be appointed by a white chief justice of the state Supreme Court,” according to Mississippi Today.

Multiple bills are targeting LGBTQ+ citizens, especially those who are transgender.

Florida Senate Bill 254 is “a dangerous bill that will drastically threaten the lives of trans children in Florida and criminalize health care providers who provide medically safe and appropriate standards of care,” according to ACLU Florida.

Indiana HB 1608 is following Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law by banning LGBTQ+ topics in schools.

Georgia considered a similar bill, but it hasn’t made it through the legislator.

These bills are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more.

While all these bills are on several different topics, they all have one thing in common: They are attempting to take away rights that have already been granted.

Even though some of these bills might not be in our state, many states are using bill ideas from other states to make their own, so Georgia could be next.

Bills are being created continuously all over the nation, and it is important to be aware of what is being proposed.

As college students, we have a responsibility to make our feelings known to those who represent us when considering these bills, especially since we will be affected by them more than those who are writing them.

We are the upcoming generation, and as we have done before, we need to stand up for what we believe in and protect our rights that are being affected.

This editorial reflects the general opinion of the Spectator. 

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