Ohio's Tea Party and Liberals Join Forces to Challenge an Internet Free Speech State Law

May 18, 2017

Tom Zawistowski says the fight over free speech is uniting people across the political spectrum.
Credit STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A group of conservative and liberal activists are challenging an Ohio law that they say puts unfair restrictions on free speech.

WKSU’s Phil de Oliveira reports the group is suing the state over ambiguities in the law.

The plaintiffs are the liberal blog Plunderbund, freelance political reporter John Spinelli, and the Portage County Tea Party.

They’re taking issue with a clause in H.B. 151 that prohibits anyone from intentionally abusing, threatening or harassing someone else on the Internet.

Tea Party spokesman Tom Zawistowski says the clause is too broad and too vague. He says politicians could easily claim they’re being harassed when groups like the Tea Party criticize them.

“If you’re in public office, you need to be accountable for your actions,” Zawistowski says. “We, as citizens, hold you accountable and we must be able to say what we think about your performance.”

Zawistowski says the law goes too far in limiting free speech for the sake of safety.