House Vote to Restrict Free Speech

WASHINGTON, August 3, 1998 -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would severely restrict, if not completely silence, citizen groups such as Texas Right to Life (TRL) from publicly speaking out about politicians and their positions on certain issues. The Shays-Meehan "campaign reform" proposal was passed by a vote of 237-186, which places citizen groups in legal jeopardy because they criticize or praise those who hold or seek office -- a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Shays-Meehan bill (HR 3526), if passed by the Senate, will severely limit such diverse groups as TRL ... to communicate with the public about politicians' positions and voting records. In response to today's vote, Joseph Kral, legislative Director for the Texas Right to Life Committee, stated, "The U.S. House is attempting to strip groups like ours of the ability to inform the public as to how their representatives and senators voted on the issues which concern them most. Not only is this a direct violation of our First Amendment constitutional right to free speech, but it also undermines the democratic process whereby citizens are denied access to information that would help them to effectively communicate with their elected officials."

SOURCE Texas Right to Life Committee, Inc.

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