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GOP lawmaker floats bill to register and fine ‘fact checkers’

Lansing — A Michigan lawmaker who’s been at the center of efforts to question the 2020 election introduced a bill Tuesday that would require “fact checkers” to register with the state.

Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, wrote the legislation, which was co-sponsored by eight other Republican House members, about five months after Maddock floated the idea of licensing fact checkers on Twitter.

The “Fact Checker Registration Act” defines a fact checker as someone who publishes in print or online in Michigan, is paid by a fact-checking organization and is a member of the International Fact Check Network. 

State Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, is sponsoring legislation that would require

The network is a reference to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, a unit launched by the journalism group in 2015 to train and develop best practices in fact checking, Maddock said. 

The bill requires qualifying fact checkers to file proof of a $1 million fidelity bond with the Secretary of State’s office, which will be tasked with developing the “form and manner of registration and filing.”

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