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.

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“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.

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