A bizarre-sounding draft law proposed by a Republican state legislator in Florida would oblige all bloggers mentioning Governor Ron DeSantis to register with the authorities or pay fines if they fail to do so.
While it remains unlikely that the bill would be passed, it has been taken up by leftist media as a propaganda tool against the right.
Tackles Any Blogging Mention of Executive, Legislature Members
The proposed bill requiring state registrations from bloggers covering Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis comes amid reports that he will announce his candidacy for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
A number of reports claim DeSantis is planning to make his 2024 White House bid official in May, after the end of the spring session of Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature, which would have presumably codified into state law much of his current political agenda.
The weird-sounding bill proposed by Florida state Senator Jason Brodeur, a Republican representing Lake Mary, would affect bloggers who write about members of Florida’s executive cabinet or legislature, WFLA-TV reported.
That is, the bill’s requirements would not be limited to coverage of the governor only, but the report emphasizes DeSantis and explicitly mentions Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody.
As per the proposed state legislation, bloggers who mention state executive or legislature members would have to file for registration with the Florida Office of Legislative Services (FOLS) or the state Commission on Ethics.
The so-called Senate Bill 1316 on “Information Dissemination” seems designed to tackle the issue of spreading misinformation or fake news propaganda – a favorite activity of the left and its mainstream and non-mainstream outlets – in this case, about Florida’s government.
The draft law, however, seems controversial. It might not stand much chance of getting passed by Florida’s legislature in spite of the Republican majority in both of its chambers.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 6, 2023
The idea that bloggers criticizing a politician should register with the government is insane. it is an embarrassment that it is a Republican state legislator in Florida who introduced a bill to that effect. He should withdraw it immediately.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 5, 2023
The proposed bill targets bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), cabinet members and state legislators. https://t.co/RbOAAmZhjU
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) March 6, 2023
Bill Proposes Hefty Fines for Noncomplying Bloggers
Brodeur’s proposal declares that an author who writes a single story or a series of stories about a cabinet or legislature member for pay would have to register with the state within five days after the respective material is published.
If there is more than one blog post, the author would have to start submitting monthly reports – except in months when no relevant content is published. The monthly reports would have to “disclose the amount of compensation” the writer has received or expects to receive for his or her articles.
If a blogger fails to abide by the provisions, he or she will be fined $25.00 per day and up to $2,500.00 per report. The draft law would also oblige authors to submit notices of “failure to file” a report on time in a fashion similar to how lobbyists file disclosures on assessed fines.
Any fines under the bill would have to be paid in 30 days unless they are appealed. The proposed state legislation would exclude newspapers or “similar publications” and would only be applicable to bloggers.
It remains unclear how likely it is for the proposed blogger coverage bill to be passed by Florida’s legislation. Still, it is possible that pro-left media outlets may be making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.
Thus, WFLA-TV, also known as News Channel 8, which has reported extensively on the bill, is an affiliate of the leftist mainstream network CNBC News.
A Republican state senator in Florida has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, his cabinet or state legislators to register with the state. https://t.co/gKiLruCif8
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 3, 2023
This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.
Unconstitutional and un-American, Florida Senate Bill 1316 would force bloggers who criticize the government to register with the state.
Read FIRE’s full statement below.https://t.co/rIHu0Obq8x
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) March 3, 2023