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Proposed Texas law protects online speech

SAN ANTONIO – In this politically-charged world, talking politics on social media could cost you your job.

A proposed state law filed by State Rep. James White would protect your right to express your opinions.

To post, or not to post: that is the question, with political rhetoric at a fever pitch and employers watching what you say online.

"There's a lot of political opinions,” says social media user Kristy Lapreziosa.

"The election, the outcome of the election,” adds social media user Ricky Stephens.

"You want to post stuff to people that follow you but at the same time you still have that thought in the back of your mind - who's going to see this? Am I going to get in trouble for voicing my opinion?" says social media user Yvette Ramirez.

The proposed law would clear up that gray area by allowing you to express your political beliefs without fear you’ll be fired from your job, or won’t get hired by a prospective employer.

"It's not a protected status in Texas,” says labor and employment attorney Bob Kilgore. “This bill would add that protection.”

On the flip side, he says disgruntled employees could take advantage of that protection.

While state lawmakers consider the proposal, Kilgore offers advice to anyone using social media.

"Think very carefully about what they're saying and how they're saying it, and the circumstances in which they're saying it,” he says.

Social media users hope the proposal sparks discussion – the good kind – about tolerating each other’s political views.

"I feel that you should be able to post whatever you want and not feel like that's going to affect you in the end,” Ramirez says.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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