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  By: Hughes, et al. S.B. No. 12
  relating to the censorship of users' expressions by an interactive
  computer service.
         SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that social media
  platforms are akin to common carriers, are affected with a public
  interest, are central public forums for public debate, and have
  enjoyed governmental support in the United States.
         SECTION 2.  Title 6, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 143A to read as follows:
         Sec. 143A.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
               (1) "Censor" means to block, ban, remove, deplatform,
  demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to,
  or otherwise discriminate against expression.
               (2)  "Expression" means any word, music, sound, still
  or moving image, number, or other perceivable communication.
               (3)  "Interactive computer service" means an
  information service, system, or access software provider that
  provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a server,
  including a service, system, website, web application, or web
  portal that provides a social media platform for users to engage in
  expressive activity.  The term does not include an Internet service
  provider as defined by Section 324.055, Business & Commerce Code.
               (4)  " Receive," with respect to an expression, means
  to read, hear, look at, access, or gain access to the expression.
               (5)  "Unlawful expression" means an expression that is
  unlawful under the United States Constitution, federal law, the
  Texas Constitution, or the laws of this state.
               (6)  "User" means a person who posts, uploads,
  transmits, shares, or otherwise publishes or receives expression,
  through an interactive computer service.
         Sec. 143A.002.  CENSORSHIP PROHIBITED.  (a)  An interactive
  computer service may not censor a user, a user's expression, or a
  user's ability to receive the expression of another person based
               (1)  the viewpoint of the user or another person;
               (2)  the viewpoint represented in the user's expression
  or another person's expression; or
               (3)  a user's geographic location in this state or any
  part of this state.
         (b)  This section applies regardless of whether the
  viewpoint is expressed on the interactive computer service or
         Sec. 143A.003.  APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER.  (a)  This chapter
  applies only to a user who:
               (1)  resides in this state;
               (2)  does business in this state; or
               (3)  shares or receives expression in this state.
         (b)  This chapter applies only to expression that is shared
  or received in this state.
         (c)  This chapter applies only to an interactive computer
  service that functionally has more than 100 million active users in
  a calendar month.
         Sec. 143A.004.  LIMITATION ON EFFECT OF CHAPTER.  This
  chapter does not subject an interactive computer service to damages
  or other legal remedies to the extent the interactive computer
  service is protected from those remedies under federal law.
         Sec. 143A.005.  CONSTRUCTION OF CHAPTER.  This chapter does
  not prohibit an interactive computer service from:
               (1)  censoring expression that the interactive
  computer service is specifically authorized to censor by federal
  law; or
               (2)  censoring unlawful expression.
         Sec. 143A.006.  REMEDY.  (a) A user who successfully asserts
  a claim against an interactive computer service for a violation of
  this chapter against that user is entitled to recover:
               (1) declaratory relief under Chapter 37, including
  costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees under Section
  37.009; and
               (2) injunctive relief.
         (b) If an interactive computer service fails to promptly
  comply with the court's order in an action brought under this
  section, the court shall hold the interactive computer service in
  contempt and shall use all lawful measures to secure immediate
  compliance, including daily penalties sufficient to secure
  immediate compliance.
         Sec. 143A.007.  ACTION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL.  (a)  The
  attorney general may bring an action for declaratory relief to have
  determined any question of construction or validity arising under
  this chapter and to obtain a declaration of rights, status, or other
  legal relations with respect to this chapter.  The attorney general
  may recover costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees
  under Section 37.009 in connection with declaratory relief obtained
  under this subsection.
         (b)  The attorney general may bring an action to enjoin a
  violation of this chapter.  If the injunction is granted, the
  attorney general may recover costs and reasonable attorney's fees
  incurred in bringing the action and reasonable investigative costs
  incurred in relation to the action.
         SECTION 3.  (a)  Because this Act has been enacted amid
  uncertainty about the application of the United States Constitution
  and relevant federal statutes, every provision, section,
  subsection, sentence, or clause of this Act, and every application
  of the provisions of this Act to any person, group of persons, or
  circumstances are severable from each other.  If any application of
  any provision of this Act is found by a court to be unconstitutional
  or invalid, on any ground for any reason whatsoever, the remaining
  application of that provision to other persons and circumstances
  shall be severed and may not be affected.  The legislature further
  declares that it would have passed this Act, each provision,
  section, subsection, sentence, or clause of this Act, and all
  constitutional applications of this Act regardless of the fact that
  any provision, section, subsection, sentence, or clause of this Act
  or applications of this Act were to be declared unconstitutional by
  any court.
         (b)  If any provision of this Act is found by any court to be
  unconstitutionally vague, the applications of that provision that
  do not present constitutional vagueness problems shall be severed
  and remain in force.
         SECTION 4.  Chapter 143A, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  as added by this Act, applies only to an action taken on or after the
  effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.