South Carolina has long been known for the ridiculous and off-world bills its State House regularly submits to a vote. Indeed, the residents of the state are routinely subjected to a demonstration of the utter uselessness of the majority of its “representatives” as well as their lack of understanding and concern for civil liberties, Constitutional rights, and the general welfare of the State.
Enter another freedom-shredding bill submitted by the Constitutional non-scholar Mike Pitts, a Republican State House member from Laurens, S.C.
Pitts’ bill would establish a “responsible journalism registry” to be operated by the South Carolina Secretary of State.
The summary of the bill states that it would “establish requirements for persons before working as a journalist for a media outlet and for media outlets before hiring a journalist” as well as establish penalties, fines, and jail sentences for violations. And, of course, “for other purposes.”
A person seeking to register shall provide all information required by the office including, but not limited to, a criminal record background check, an affidavit from the media outlet attesting to the applicant’s journalistic competence, and an application fee in an amount determined by the office.
(C) A registration is valid for two years and must be renewed within thirty days of expiration.
(D)(1) The Secretary of State’s Office may deny, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew a registration if the office finds that the person:
(a) has filed an application for registration that contains a statement that is false or misleading with respect to a material fact;
(b) has failed to pay the proper application fee or any other fee or penalty imposed pursuant to this chapter; or
(c) has failed to comply with any provision of this chapter.
(2) The Secretary of State’s Office shall deny, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew a registration if a media outlet has determined pursuant to Section 40-85-40 that the person is not competent to be a journalist.
(E) Upon receipt of the required information and documents, the office within thirty days shall provide a registration to the person for submission to a media outlet or a letter notifying the person of the basis for denying, revoking, or refusing to issue or renew a registration.
It then describes how a journalist will be determined competent (essentially at the whim of the Secretary of State) by stating,
Before working as a journalist for a media outlet in this State, a person shall provide a criminal record background check to the media outlet to determine journalistic competence and register with the South Carolina Responsible Journalism Registry. After registering, the person shall provide a copy of the registration to the media outlet. A person may not work as a journalist until the person provides a copy of a registration to the media outlet.
Section 40-85-40. (A) A person is not competent to be a journalist if:
(1) within the three years before submitting an application for registration, the person has been determined by a court of law to have committed:
(a) libel, slander, or invasion of privacy; or
(b) a felony if the underlying offense was committed to collect, write, or distribute news or other current information for a media outlet; or
(2) as a journalist, the person has demonstrated a reckless disregard of the basic codes and canons of professional journalism associations, including a disregard of truth, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability, as applicable to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.
(B) Upon making a determination that a person is competent to be a journalist, the media outlet shall provide the person an affidavit attesting to the person’s journalistic competence for submission to the registry.
Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the S.C. Press Association says that the bill “is ridiculous and totally unconstitutional” and that the government cannot require journalists to register as the First Amendment ensures freedom of the press.
One can only imagine what fit of mental illness provoked Pitts to submit such a bill. After all, Pitts has professed his support of the Second Amendment repeatedly in the past so many might be scratching their heads as to why he is so antagonistic to the First. At this point, we are only left to guess as to why Pitts chose to launch his assault on the freedom of speech, expression, and the press.
Was it because he is bitter over all the negative publicity he has received in recent months and the threat those critical articles may have on his career of parasitism? Did Pitts lose his place while reading the U.S. Constitution and skim over the Bill of Rights? Did Pitts recently travel to Saudi Arabia and realize the Saudis have a better system? Is he suffering from an extended bout of untreated syphilis? Seriously, any of these explanations are as legitimate as the bill itself.
Regardless, Pitts’ bill should promptly be shot down. In fact, H.4702 should only be preceded in death by Pitts’ political career.
Clearly, no one in their right mind would ever support such a piece of legislation (but I didn’t say it wouldn’t pass) and no one in Pitts’ state of mind should ever be allowed to submit it.
In an attempt to shame anti-gun proponents and their unrelenting attack on civil liberties and Constitutional rights, S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts of Laurens, S.C. submitted the above as what can be termed a “satire bill” to the S.C. Congress. His bill sought to establish a “registry of journalists” to be operated by the S.C. Secretary of State and was apparently modeled after a number of anti-gun bills he has seen submitted in the past.
The bill, like most anti-gun bills, was blatantly unconstitutional. It was, in fact, ridiculous. It was also the point of the legislation.
“It strikes me as ironic that the first question is constitutionality from a press that has no problem demonizing firearms,” Pitts said. “With this statement I’m talking primarily about printed press and TV. The TV stations, the six o’clock news and the printed press [have] no qualms demonizing gun owners and gun ownership.”
Unfortunately, it was all too convincing to many members of the press, including this one. What was meant to be a satire bill is, in 2016, entirely believable. If a state Congress would push forward bills to eviscerate the Second Amendment, why would they not submit bills to eviscerate the First?
In my own report, I asked a number of questions – was Pitts insane? Did he miss the Bill of Rights while reading the Constitution? Did he have a terminal STD that affected his brain function?
It appears, however, that, at least on this issue, Pitts is not suffering from any of the above. He was merely pointing out that, in the minds of many, some rights are more equal than others and the reaction from much of the press only proved his point. (Although he managed to anger a few of us who are not simply sold to left or right but tend to use our brains instead of our television to think with.)
We hope and expect Pitts’ bill to go nowhere. And we disapprove of the use of satire in the form of Congressional bills. Still, it’s good that Pitts has clarified his intention with his submission.
In terms of the anti-gunners out there who were upset by Pitts’ bill, however, we can say “mission accomplished” to Pitts.
To the anti-gunners themselves we may ask, “how does it feel?”
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.