Monday, January 23, 2012

How will you protect free speech in Kentucky?

Theresa Camoriano, a Louisville attorney, understands better than most that we don't appreciate our free speech rights until we notice them being taken away. Mrs. Camoriano has written a legislative bill to ensure that individuals can maintain those rights in the face of a state government growing increasingly hostile toward its citizens who dare to speak out.

Her bill would amend KRS 121.015 by adding the following to it:

(18)     "Press" means any resident of the state of Kentucky who engages in any form of communication. 

(19)     "Media" means any resident of the state of Kentucky who engages in any form of communication.

(20)     "Newspaper" means any form of printed material that includes any advertisement or other information for the purpose of public distribution, including information printed on paper, billboards, signs, fliers, web pages and other electronic print material.

The purpose of this portion of Kentucky statute is to clarify that the speech and press rights of the flesh and blood residents of Kentucky are no less than the speech and press rights of legal persons taking the form of newspaper and broadcast businesses operating in Kentucky.

Given Kentucky's clear constitutional prohibition on government infringement of free speech rights, this change in state law shouldn't be necessary. But as long as we have Democratic elected officials promoting nonsense like this and Republicans willing to go along when they don't want to be criticized either, we need to be proactive.

This language would prevent the Commonwealth of Kentucky from punishing any citizen for simply exercising his or her right to speak freely. Anyone opposed to that?