Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating vetoed a bill last week that would have made it a violation of state ethics rules to publish inaccurate information about the voting record of a candidate for public office, according to Associated Press.
“The bill can be construed as not allowing for fair comment on a voting record,” said Keating about the measure by Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta. “[It] would likely have the effect of chilling constitutionally protected speech.”
Senate Bill 352 was passed by the Oklahoma House 67-32 in April and, if approved by the conference committee, would have subjected candidates and their campaign aides to fines of up to $50,000 if they published or broadcast inaccurate information about the voting record of another candidate for state office.
Lawmakers said earlier this year that the measure would not stop political groups from distributing voter guides during campaigns that may contain inaccurate information.
Candidates who are libeled or slandered at election time already have a remedy in the state’s civil courts, Keating said.