Florida has introduced the Empower Bigots Act, HB991.
It would classify accusations that someone engaged in discrimination as defamation per se with $35k minimum in damages. If it involves LGBTQ people and someone's beliefs, truth is no defense.
This is absolutely chilling.
If someone calls you a faggot or tranny and you say they discriminated against you, they can now sue you for at least $35k and cite their religious beliefs. This would apply to the internet as well. This would empower bigots to target the LGBTQ community with impunity.
This applies to the internet as well so if the person is in Florida, you could be liable even if you have never stepped foot in Florida. For instance, calling Seth Dillon of the Babylon Bee transphobic on Twitter could make you liable under this bill since he lives in Florida.
It gets even worse, it would presume anonymous sources are presumptively false. This would limit the ability of journalists to cover issues without fear of liability for using anonymous sources. This would silence journalists and those targeted by those in power.
This bill also reworks the actual malice standard for public figures and tries to redefine public figures. It's a full on attack against NY Times v. Sullivan and the first amendment.
This isn't the first time libel laws have been used to silence minority groups. Alabama tried to use libel to silence civil rights leaders and journalists. The case resulted in NY Times v Sullivan. Florida wants to try again to silence minority groups.
Since some people don't get that I named the bill the Empower Bigots Act, I named it that because that's what it actually does.