www.governing.com - News Analysis:
"The legislation would block or remove government financial incentives from Big Tech companies that violate free speech by blocking conservatives from their sites. But many warn the bill could cost jobs and money."
The legislation would block or remove government financial incentives from Big Tech companies that violate free speech by blocking conservatives from their sites. But many warn the bill could cost jobs and money.
[Iowa's] State Senate president Jake Chapman, one of thirty sponsors who introduced File 402, said the bill — which targets internet sites and digital marketplaces with at least 20 million subscribers or members — would block or take away government financial inducements for companies like Facebook and Google that have located data centers in Iowa if they were deemed to be muzzling free speech.
But representatives from business groups, education and the Iowa Attorney General's Office warned the result could cause widespread interference with contractual arrangements, cost the state jobs and damage efforts to attract and keep high-tech companies.
Keith Saunders, a lobbyist for the state Board of Regents and the University of Iowa, worried a contractual interruption with a technology provider could shut down the UI's utility plant, hospital, thousands of computers, email and phone systems, as well as the scoreboard at Kinnick Stadium.
Nathan Blake of the Iowa Attorney General's Office said the bill establishes some unrealistic timelines and complaint procedures without investigatory powers that would be difficult to meet without a "substantial increase" in state resources and creation of a new division to handle complex cases.
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"Policing all of that is going to be just an enormous amount of volume," Blake said.
Chapman said he was disappointed that no representatives of large-tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google that have facilities in Iowa showed up to testify at Wednesday's subcommittee hearing, and he was disappointed that Iowa interests only raised economic impact concerns.
"What is the value of our Bill of Rights?" he asked. . . "This is not to simply get the attention of the Big Tech. This is to change the behavior of Big Tech."