Legislature Repeals Missouri Facebook Law

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 04, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It looks like the Missouri Facebook law has met its end.

In late August, the law was put on hold by a state judge, who found that its enforcement "would have a chilling effect" on the First Amendment rights of teachers and students.

And late last month, the state legislature overwhelmingly voted to repeal clauses that prohibit all private internet communications between teachers and students.

The provision will instead direct local school districts to develop their own policies.

Teachers were originally upset about the Facebook law's vagueness and intrusion into the educator-student relationship. It was unclear when, and in what circumstances, they could communicate with students over the internet. It was also believed that the law went too far.

The Missouri State Teachers Association sued, and won an injunction against the law's enforcement. In response, Governor Jay Nixon asked the state legislature to reconsider the law.

The Governor has not yet decided whether he will sign the repeal into law. He asked legislators to consider a repeal, not a rewriting. A spokesperson has said that he wishes to investigate the new provision, and determine how school districts are currently handling the issue.

Even if Governor Nixon chooses to veto the repeal, it may still become effective.

Two-thirds of each house must vote to overturn a veto, according to the Missouri Constitution. The repeal was passed by a 139-2 vote in the House, and a 33-0 vote in the Senate, reports the Associated Press.

If legislators have no desire to defend or enforce the Missouri Facebook law, they have enough votes to make the repeal happen.

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