Michigan state representative Matt Maddock has introduced a bill that he said aims to “put fact checkers on notice.”
Rep. Maddock wrote a Facebook post announcing his proposed legislation on May 6:
Social Media companies deplatform people, politicians, and businesses on the basis of ‘Fact Checkers’ who relish their role punishing those whom they deem ‘false’. Many believe this enormous economic and social power is being abused. Who are these Fact Checkers? We’re going to find out. My legislation will put Fact Checkers on notice: don’t be wrong, don’t be sloppy, and you better be right.
House Bill No. 4813, the Fact Checker Registration Act, was formally introduced before the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill defines a “fact-checker” as someone who is “paid or compensated by an organization affiliated with a national or international fact-checking organization or network” and is a member of the International Fact-Checking Network.
Maddock’s bill states that fact-checkers must register with the Michigan Secretary of State and take out $1 million of fidelity bond insurance. It will also grant people the ability to sue fact-checkers who commit “wrongful conduct that is a violation of the laws of this state.” If the act becomes law, any fact-checker who violates the terms—most likely in the form of failing to register—may face a daily fine of $1,000 until the violation ends.
The name “Matt Maddock” may sound familiar to Big League Politics readers. In November 2020 he introduced the first impeachment legislation in Michigan state history against Governor Gretchen Whitmer: