Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1020

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENFORCEMENT OF A DEFAMATION JUDGMENT ENTERED BY A COURT OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.

Vote Date:

3/31/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/27/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Senators Suzio and Markley proposed this bill to protect authors, journalists and publishers from foreign libel suits unless the foreign proceeding minimally offered the level of protection provided by our 1st amendment of freedom of speech.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Linda Stuhlman, East Haddam, Ct.: Supports the bill. She expresses her concern of the importance of freedom of speech in foreign countries.

Steven Horst, Professor of Philosophy, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut: He supports the bill. His concern is that academicians who write about child labor laws, human trafficking, torture etc. are being sued for “telling the truth” about what's happening in other countries that don't have our freedom of speech protections and are subject to libel law suits.

Stephen Mendelsohn, New Britain, Connecticut: He supports this bill. Mr. Mendelsohn describes several cases of defendants who have had to fight libel cases in Great Britain where their freedom of speech laws differ from those in the United States. This bill is necessary to protect Connecticut citizens, especially the Jewish Community, from the effects of libel tourism.

Jane Bate, Cheshire, Connecticut: She is in favor of this bill. She describes how the bill affords protections against libel tourism. The practice of seeking out venues with lessor standards of freedom of speech than that afforded in the United States has grown in recent years and results in the chilling of our freedom of speech. With the prevalence of the internet we are seeing more of these cases. She relates the story of Rachel Ehrenfeld, who had sold unknowingly, 23 books via amazon in Great Britain and was sued. Her book was neither published in England or earmarked for that country.

John Greene, Canterbury, Connecticut: He supports the bill. He is concerned about the increased use of the internet. Information can be sent around the world almost instantly. The act of libel tourism can cause an author the loss of having a publisher and authors will begin to self – censor their works because of the low levels of freedom of speech afforded them in other countries around the world.

Robert L. Friedman: He supports the bill. He fears that the lessor standards of free speech when authors are sued for defamation or libel will be used with no recourse unless we pass legislation giving them the free speech defense.

Steve Bonin, Middletown, Connecticut: Mr Bonin is in support of the bill. He is concerned about the number of frivolous defamation suits brought against authors and writers in foreign nations. This legislation will protect them, authors and writers, from such actions.

Leslie S. Lebl, Woodbury, Connecticut: She is in favor of the bill. “Criticism is healthy. But I should not have to fear that my work will be subject to foreign libel laws that contradict our right to free speech and that would have the effect of constraining or inhibiting the essential public debate”.

American Liberty Center, Radio Talk show Host Founder, Lori-Hopkins Cavanagh, New London, Connecticut: She supports this legislation. She believes that the forces that undermine our liberties, through the fear of being sued, prosecuted and persecuted, abroad or at home, cannot be tolerated. We must end this practice of Libel Tourism.

Doretta Wildes, Middletown, Connecticut: She is in support of this bill. She believes as a writer of fiction that without passage of this legislation, she would be subject to Libel Tourism from foreign countries. This is the strongest form of censorship and the lowering of the standards for freedom of speech. Please pass this bill.

John Kraemer, Middletown, Connecticut: He is in support of this legislation. He writes that the free transfer of facts and ideas should be protected from frivolous libel law suits in foreign countries.

Tom Grimshaw, Cheshire, Connecticut: He supports this bill. He wants the legislature to pass this bill for the protection of writers and authors from foreign country libel law suits. Connecticut would be the eleventh state to do so.

Several people wrote to simply say support SB 1020:Lawrence Burns, Gene Meccariello, Karen Burns, Marilyn Taggett, Aniello DePascale, Stephanie Thompson, Barbara LaMontagne, Bethany Auria,David Christopher, Jay Bolton, William Brown, Patricia McPike Drechsler, Mickey LaCrosse, Anna Ciresi, and Laurie Lestage.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted

Reported by: Allan D. Spotts, Assistant Clerk

Date: April 11, 2017