Court to hear arguments on Maryland political ads law

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In this Saturday, April 7, 2018 photo, Maryland Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George County, who sponsored legislation in Maryland to increase transparency in online political ads, sits in his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, in Annapolis, Md. The bill, which was passed and sent to Gov. Larry Hogan on April 5, aims to help stop foreign influence in the state’s elections. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A state law that was passed in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election will get another hearing in federal court.

Newspapers argue that the Maryland law amounts to the government telling the press what to publish. It requires that they create a database identifying the purchasers of online ads and how much they spend in state and local elections. They say that violates the First Amendment.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Wednesday in the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling barring enforcement of some provisions of the law.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says the law serves an important purpose by protecting against foreign interference in elections and does not infringe on the newspapers’ right to exercise their editorial control and judgment.

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