1997 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Howell
House Bill 269
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT THE DISSEMINATION OF FALSE STATEMENTS CONCERNING A CANDIDATE, EITHER KNOWING THEM TO BE FALSE OR WITH RECKLESS DISREGARD OF WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE FALSE, THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PROMOTE THE ELECTION, NOMINATION OR DEFEAT OF THE CANDIDATE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ANY VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION; TO PRESCRIBE A PENALTY THEREFOR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. A person, during the course of any campaign for nomination or election to public office, shall not knowingly post, publish, circulate, distribute or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate that is designed to promote the election, nomination or defeat of the candidate, either knowing the statement to be false or with reckless disregard of whether or not the statement is false.
A complaint for a violation of this section shall be filed with the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall investigate all complaints filed and shall prosecute, in the court having proper jurisdiction, any person that violates this section.
Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).
SECTION 2. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.