September 27, 2016

September 26, 2016 San Francisco Chronicle - Professor Alexander Reinert spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about two pending laws intended to protect free speech both before and after it occurs. 

The first, the Consumer Review Fairness Act (HR5111) is nicknamed the "Right to Yelp Act," and would bar companies from including non-disparagement provisions in agreements they ask customers to sign. This would effectively prevent customers from posting negative reviews on web sites like Yelp.

The second law, the Speak Free Act (HR2304), creates a legal weapon for defendants in lawsuits over their publicly expressed thoughts. If a customer is taken to court, they can use the bill to get the case dismissed quickly, as well as force the paintiff to pay attorney's fees. 

According to the article in the SF Chronicle, Professor Reinert called the Speak Free Act unconstitutional in testimony before the House, and said that it "could 'impose significant barriers to important civil rights an dpublic interest litigation,' and intrudes into states' rights. 'There is no evidence that the problem HR2304 is trying to solve actually exists on a scale sufficient to justify any legislation,' he said."

Read more at the SF Chronicle.