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[Slashdot] - Michigan GOP Lawmaker Floats Bill To Register and Fine 'Fact Checkers'

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A Michigan lawmaker who's been at the center of efforts to question the 2020 election introduced a bill Tuesday that would require "fact checkers" to register with the state. From a report: Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, wrote the legislation, which was co-sponsored by eight other Republican House members, about five months after Maddock floated the idea of licensing fact checkers on Twitter. The "Fact Checker Registration Act" defines a fact checker as someone who publishes in print or online in Michigan, is paid by a fact-checking organization and is a member of the International Fact Check Network. The network is a reference to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network, a unit launched by the journalism group in 2015 to train and develop best practices in fact checking, Maddock said. The bill requires qualifying fact checkers to file proof of a $1 million fidelity bond with the Secretary of State's office, which will be tasked with developing the "form and manner of registration and filing." An "affected person" could bring a civil action in any county district court to claim the bond for "any wrongful conduct that is a violation of the laws of this state." The bond could be forfeited at the discretion of the judge for "demonstrable harm" stemming from something a fact checker wrote, Maddock wrote. Fact checkers found to be in violation of the registry requirements could be fined $1,000 per day of violation.

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