Bill Summaries: H832 (2021)

  • Summary date: May 4 2021 - View summary

    Contains whereas clauses. Amends Part 1 of Article 22A of GS Chapter 163 (regulating contributions and expenditures in political campaigns) by adding GS 163-278.18A, which does the following:
    (1) Directs social media companies to submit their reason for censoring a candidate for public office in writing to the State Board of Elections (Board) within three calendar days of censoring a candidate's social media page;
    (2) Directs the Board to, within three calendar days of the required submission by the company, hold a hearing to determine if a company’s censorship of a candidate was justified according to the terms and conditions the candidate agreed to when they created their social media page;
    (3) Directs the Board to notify the company and candidate in writing of its decision of whether the censorship was justified;
    (4) Provides that a company or candidate may appeal the Board's decision of whether censorship was justified to the Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations (Commission) and directs the Commission to convene and render a ruling on the appeal within three days of receiving the appeal;
    (5) Provides civil penalties for illegal in-kind contributions between $250 and $250,000 per day that a candidate is censored if the Board finds the company has censored a candidate without cause;
    (6) Requires that terms and conditions of a candidate’s social media page must not exclude any rights guaranteed by federal law;
    (7) States this section does not prohibit candidates from seeking a separate cause of action for wrongful censorship and provides that candidates who succeed on a separate cause of action are entitled to declaratory relief, including attorneys' fees and costs, or injunctive relief; and
    (8) Provides that the court, in an action brought under this section, should hold a company in contempt and use any lawful measures, including penalties, to ensure compliance. Effective at 5 p.m. on the day before the 2021 candidate filing period begins and applies to election cycles on or after that date.