Last month, House Republicans announced that they were considering implementing a ban on the use of recording devices on the House floor. On Wednesday, the House officially adopted the rules as House Resolution Five.
The new rules impose fines on any member of Congress who attempts to use a recording device on the House floor.
‘The Sergeant-at-Arms is authorized and directed to impose a fine against a Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner for the use of an electronic device for still photography or for audio or visual recording or broadcasting in contravention of clause 5 of rule XVII and any applicable Speaker’s announced policy on electronic devices.
‘(2) A fine imposed pursuant to this paragraph shall be $500 for a first offense and 12 $2,500 for any subsequent offense. ‘
Democrats have been united in their opposition to the rules, which they see as an attempt to impede freedom of speech and the right to protest. ABC News reported that Rep. John Lewis compared it to the oppression he faced during the Civil Rights movement. During the vote, Lewis and other Democrats took out their phones and recorded what was happening.
‘We should never ever give up the right to protest. We were elected to stand on the courage of our convictions not to sit here to rot and hide … I am not afraid. I have been fined before.’
Lewis is the ideal spokesperson to oppose this bill, since it was his sit-in last summer that many believe to be responsible for the GOP’s enacting of this law. Lewis and other Democrats were trying to pressure Republicans to pass comprehensive gun-control laws.
Since the rule was officially adopted, there have been several attempts to combat these undemocratic measures. Mashable spoke to a man named Blaine who is attempting to raise money to cover the fees of congressional representatives who violate the new rule.
‘So now he’s aiming to raise $25,000 — or 10 maximum fines (it’s a $500 fine for a first offense and $2,500 fee for subsequent offenses) — through the end of the year. He said the money will go to candidates who are fined for violating the livestreaming rule. Any leftover money will go to two nonprofits, Public Citizen and the Dow Jones News Fund, he said. If the rule is reversed, Blaine said all the donations will go straight to these groups.’
Hunter Walker, who has worked for tech firms such as Google, urged Twitter to set up a legal fund to help cover the fines.
‘Twitter should announce the “Periscope Legal Defense Fund” & cover these fines’
However it’s done, we should absolutely oppose these new rules, as they are nothing more than attempt to keep the American people ignorant regarding the action of their government.
Featured image via Getty Image.