CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A 2018 Illinois law is meant to stop businesses from punishing you for giving them a bad review.

The sponsor, State Sen. Steve Stadelman (Rockford Democrat), says the bill is a first amendment issue, and was inspired by the headlines.

“It deals with anything — anything that may solicit an online review,” he said. “Several cases have drawn national attention. I’ll give you one example — a wedding venue had to allegedly force brides and grooms to sign a clause in their contracts saying they could be sued if they, or any of their guests, wrote negative reviews. And, in fact, that ended up happening.”

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According to Stadelman, many people sign such clauses without fully understanding what they’re agreeing to.

“Because people aren’t aware that these sort of “gag causes” exist, I think it’s important to protect them with state legislation,” Stadelman said.

The idea is to let consumers feel free to leave honest comments online, as well as seek advice — where to eat, what to do on vacation, where to stay, etc.

This is fairly new ground. Not long ago, unfavorable reviews were confined to word of mouth, or possibly graffiti. Welcome to the 21st Century.

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