Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur is proposing a bill that will require any blogger who is paid to blog to register with the State of Florida if they blog about the governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet, or the legislature of Florida. Of course this is patently absurd and incredibly unconstitutional…but apparently is getting serious consideration nonetheless.
The legislation, proposed by State Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Republican, also would require that the bloggers disclose how much they are being paid for their posts.
Under the terms of the bill — read it here — “if a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register with the appropriate office” within “5 days after the first post by the blogger which mentions an elected state officer.”
It also requires that bloggers file monthly reports if a post is added to the blog. The reports must disclose the “individual or entity” that provided compensation for the blog post, the amount of compensation, the date of blog posts, and the website and website address. Fines are set at $25 per day per report for each day late, not to exceed $2,500.
The bill defines a blogger as “a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content.” It excludes “the website of a newspaper or any similar publication.” Registration would have to be made to the Department of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics.
So obviously, at minimum, this is a violation of an individual’s freedom of speech. And it may be argued that an organized blog site is also a member of the media and as such, this would also be a violation of freedom of the press. So if passed and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, I don’t think such a law would last 5 minutes in a court of law. But nonsense legislation like this shouldn’t even see the light of day. And the obvious occupation of the Republican Party by their own little insane clown posse (and my apologies to the band) is appalling…and even worse that there are no longer any cooler heads in the party to get this stuff under control should be rather scary to members of the entire electorate of Florida and the United States.
Now technically this shouldn’t effect Blogging Blue. First, nobody here is getting paid. Second, we aren’t in Florida and a state law like this shouldn’t travel beyond their state line. But I do imagine that if passed they could harass us at first. I will not take kindly to that.