Yes, We Have One of Those Stupid Speech-Limiting Bills Here Too

Arizona House Bill 2549, which just passed its committee 30-0:

It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use ANY ELECTRONIC OR
DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.

I'm no lawyer, but it sure looks like, under this proposed law, my blogging that Sheriff Joe is an asshole will be illegal (if he is annoyed, and believe me he is annoyed by any criticism).

Note also that by the wording of the law, said communications are illegal in Arizona if it was originated here or received here.  That means if you folks in Colorado or California put something profane in an Internet comment, and it annoys some idiot in Arizona, you are technically in violation of the law.

Sometimes I have this fantasy that we have a Goldwater-libertarian streak among Arizona Republicans.  Obviously, this is just that, fantasy.

 

  • me

    Aw, I wasn't using my constitutional rights anyway. Land of the free...

  • http://sevencontinents@mindspring.com Benjamin Cole

    So, if I write on Coyote Blog to the AZ legislature to "Please go f-yourselves," then they can throw me in jail? And I have to hire lawyers, or burden taxpayers by taking on public defenders? And I may actually go to jail, at taxpayer expense?

    What next, my government can assassinate me without trial or jury as they think I am a terrorist?

    And if I burn a USA flag I own to protest these perversions, they can throw me in jail?

    Does anyone think we might be going too far with the powers we give to other human beings, who have the same flaws and shortcomings we all have?

  • DrTorch

    Arizona probably did have a libertarian streak, but that went away w/ the influx of transplants from IL and NJ.

  • Anna

    Oh, goddammit. (scratches Arizona off list of states to move to from California. We were really contemplating on making the move to Arizona. But maybe too many Californians have already done so and have infected the political scene.)

    What the hell is the matter with these people? And how do we stop them? Even if we kick them out of office, the new batch will not necessarily repeal the odious laws because they benefit from them, too.

  • Jason

    I would like to see a politician run on the platform that they will not pass any new laws and instead spend their entire tenure in office repealing laws that already exist.

  • IGotBupkis, Climate Change Denier and Proud Of It.

    >>> Sometimes I have this fantasy that we have a Goldwater-libertarian streak among Arizona Republicans.

    Well, this is that cyberbullying crap, you can anticipate a whole new level of protect the childen!!! hysteria over this. It's much the same situation as occurred in the early 1990s regarding "repressed memories of child abuse", it will, in the end, be shown by more prudent FACT CHECKING individuals that the most extreme cases of bullying are largely blown vastly out of proportion and/or particularly unusual and not something whose results would be affected by or be prevented by such idiotic laws.

  • IGotBupkis, Known Cyberbully in 6 States

    There, changed my tag. :D

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in 6 States

    Better.

    P.S., I'm with Jason, I'd like to see a PARTY formed on that basis.

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in 57 States

    Even better still :D

  • Mark2

    While the law is not a good idea, I understand the good intentions behind it.

    You recall there was a mom, that badgered another families child to the point where that child committed suicide, just because she felt that girl did something to her child. It was horrible, but I don't think they could charge that mom with anything. Hence this law.

    The problem with these good intentioned laws is they tend to overreach, and will be used by law enforcement in ways well beyond the intended good.

  • Mark2

    I also like to know, how Warren knows Sheriff Joe is even aware of this blog. Does he get threatening letters and emails from the Sheriff's office?

    Might have to move to Pima county if you don't want to live under a wacky sheriff. Uh, wait never mind - why does Arizona seem to breed wacky sheriffs?

  • Dan from Gilbert

    I wrote to all my reps on this one. I moved here BECAUSE of the conservatism of this state. I can't believe they have completely chucked our very core conservative principles of freedom of speech and LESS government oversight out the window for this bill. It's just shameful. You need to write to them. They need to be reminded of our core principles.

  • Blake

    Don't be ridiculous, this law would never apply to internet criticism, especially of public figures like Sheriff Joe. As a country we are rabid when it comes to protecting speech. Public figures must show actual malice. I'm not sure what this law could be used for but it has some serious precedental obstacles in the way.

  • Not Sure

    "I also like to know, how Warren knows Sheriff Joe is even aware of this blog."

    Warren said:

    1. I’m no lawyer, but it sure looks like, under this proposed law, my blogging that Sheriff Joe is an asshole will be illegal...

    and

    2. ...if he is annoyed, and believe me he is annoyed by any criticism.

    From 1 and 2 above, it does not follow that Warren knows for a fact that Sheriff Joe is aware of this blog.

  • Mark2

    @Not sure, I guess I misread the initial post. I thought there might be some personal Vendetta by Sheriff Joe.

  • Ted Rado

    Why should anyone be surprised? If governments can tell us what to eat, what to drive, and what health insurance we must buy, is it any wonder that they now want to tell us what to say? We should exhume Tojo and reinstitute thr thought police.

  • markm

    Wouldn't a "Stupid Speech-Limiting Bill" be a bill to limit stupid speeches? Only it would have to be an initiative, because the legislators would never pass one that applied to themselves. Perhaps require each elected official to wear a gag for all but one hour a week.