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EDITORIAL/Texas and Business: Lawmakers abhor regulation, unless it suits them politically

May 13, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

Texas likes to tout it's pro-business climate and anti-regulation philosophy.

Except, of course, when it business and politics clash or the GOP-controlled Legislatures sees a way to gain more brownie points from conservative base. Then all bets are off.

Take HB20, the law passed last year that bans large social media companies like Facebook and Instagram -- companies with more than 50 million users -- from banning users over their political views . The move came after Twitter gave President Donald Trump the heave-ho for allegedly inciting violence during the Jan. 6, 2021, protest that turned into an invasion of the U.S. Capitol

Social media companies took the state to court over the law, saying it is unconstitutional. A federal court put the law on hold while the case played out.

But this week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, while not ruling on whether HB20 is legal or not, reinstated the law, meaning it can be enforced until some final resolution is reached.

That means banned users can sue in Texas for reinstatement and recover legal costs. Or the Texas attorney general's office can do it on a user's behalf. Legal action is always an annoyance to large companies. But it's not clear whether the state could force the companies to actually pay up, though, short of figuring out some way to stop Facebook and the like at the border. That's hardly likely. Texas doesn't run the Internet.

But that won't stop Republican lawmakers from trying to make these companies toe the party line. And bragging about how Texas is so business-friendly at the same time.

Print Headline: EDITORIAL/Texas and Business: Lawmakers abhor regulation, unless it suits them politically


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