Dead: Bill wanted by governor targeting election lies
OLYMPIA — A bill sought by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee that would make it a crime for elected officials or candidates to knowingly lie about election results if those allegations result in violence will not move forward, the government’s sponsor said Tuesday. Senate.
Hours before a key deadline, Democratic Senator David Frockt said the bill would not come to a vote in the Senate. He said the bill did not have enough support to clear the Democratic-led chamber.
Opponents had argued the bill was unconstitutional, but Inslee said his staff was working with legal experts to refine the bill and protect First Amendment free speech rights.
“Governor. Inslee felt, I believe correctly, the need to introduce legislation to address something we never thought could lead to violence in our country and our state – a sustained campaign of misinformation about results of an election and its potential contagion to other election results in the future,” Frockt said in a written statement.
Inslee proposed the bill last month, citing the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol and an incident the same day when a group broke through the door of his residence in Olympia – prompting officials from Washington security to rush him into a vault. room.
The measure would have made it a serious offence, with penalties of up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine, for candidates and elected officials who “knowingly, recklessly or maliciously” lie about election results. elections that lead to violence.
Candidates and elected officials would also have been prohibited from falsely claiming that they were entitled to elective positions they did not win and from making false statements that undermine election processes or results.
In addition to criminal penalties, elected officials would also have been removed from office if found guilty.
In a written statement, Inslee said the bill’s failure to move forward “should in no way diminish or nullify our efforts to save democracy.”
“We all have this responsibility, and I once again call on all lawmakers to continue to loudly call out those who lie about elections to overthrow democracy,” he wrote.