Florida could soon require blogs paid to produce content about elected officials to register and report that activity.
Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Lake Mary Republican, filed legislation (SB 1316) that would set up a system where bloggers covering the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Cabinet or Legislature must register.
The bill then requires reporting with the state “if a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post.”
Registration is required within five days of any blog mentioning an elected state official. After that, bloggers must file monthly reports that list what posts mention those officials, along with disclosing any individual who paid for the posts and the amount paid.
“If the compensation is for a series of blog posts or for a defined period of time, the blogger must disclose the total amount to be received upon the first blog post being published,” the bill reads. “Thereafter, the blogger must disclose the date or dates additional compensation is received, if any, for the series of blog posts.”
The bill also requires basic information about the posts including the dates published and the web address for each post.
The legislation also allows for the state to charge fines for blogs that fail to file timely reports. As written, the bill calls for late fines of $25 per day, up to $2,500, and requires payments within 25 days unless a blogger files an appeal with the state Ethics Commission.
Brodeur’s bill makes clear that pay-to-play bloggers should be treated similar to lobbyists.
“Each house of the Legislature and the Commission on Ethics shall adopt by rule, for application to bloggers, the same procedure by which lobbyists are notified of the failure to timely file a report and the amount of the assessed fines,” the bill reads.
Of note, the legislation appears only to apply to posts about elected officials, not candidates. It does not cover websites for newspapers and similar publications.
“Paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk. They both are professional electioneers. If lobbyists have to register and report, why shouldn’t paid bloggers?” Brodeur said of his bill.
Brodeur notably has been the subject of frequent criticism in the media in recent years, much of it surrounding the presence of a “ghost candidate” when he first ran for Florida Senate in 2020. He won that election with just 50.3% of the vote, besting Democrat Patricia Sigman while a no-party-affiliation candidate siphoned off thousands of votes.
March 1, 2023 at 11:36 am
This would seem to violate the First Amendment Rights of any public speech, regardless if it is paid for or “free” to access. This probably has a Ghost’s chance in Hell for passage, but, knowing the trend toward autocracy in this State, it might pass. Then, the Courts will strike it down, as it should be, if enacted.
Republicans keep pushing the envelope in obedience to the Governor’s agenda, which is to make Florida unbearable for people who respect the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.
March 2, 2023 at 7:45 pm
This seems uncharacteristic of Republicans. Typically, Republicans tend toward LESS government power/authority. But you are 100% right about the outcome of this.
March 3, 2023 at 6:39 pm
Republicans stopped favoring small government when they realized that large government policies could help them raise funds to finance their political ambitions and allow them to win elections despite a shrinking base. How can anyone possibly think that Donald Trump favored small government policies? The national debt grew by $7.8 TRILLION during his four years in office. Money for COVID relief was being handed out to large corporations, small businesses and individuals without controls on who got help and how much they got. The size of government also increased dramatically during those four years while many experienced government workers were forced out and inexperienced newbies were hired at even higher salaries.
March 5, 2023 at 3:08 pm
REPUBLICANS ARE JUST THE OTHER WING OF THE SAME UGLY BIRD, TURNS OUT. YOU SHOULD HAVE REALIZED THIS BY NOW.
March 2, 2023 at 5:29 pm
This is what Republicans mean by “small Government.”
Bloggers having to register with the State if they want to criticize the State.
Arresting Librarians for having books that aren’t approve by the State.
Freedom. Limited Government.
March 2, 2023 at 9:45 pm
Hey Jason — You need to goose-step off a cliff with your buddy Ron “Florida Fuhrer” DeSatan right away !!!! Register that – clown !!!!
March 2, 2023 at 11:09 pm
What a stupid idea. Republicans want less government, not more! He must be a Russian asset, or a Democrat.
March 3, 2023 at 7:27 am
…and if he is not, then what? What will be the excuse given? If you blindly follow your political leaders, you’re sure to overlook their atrocities.
March 3, 2023 at 12:21 am
Is this what DeSantis meant when he said that Florida is the Freest state in the country?
March 3, 2023 at 1:37 am
Anybody who can read things like this and still believes that Republicans want “less government” is certifiably delusional at this point.
March 3, 2023 at 8:32 am
Then everyone should be forced to make ALL payments known. No more ‘dark money’ donations. It’s only fair.
And never will
March 3, 2023 at 9:00 am
Is he gonna be put everyone in jail who says no? He doesn’t have enough prisons lol
March 3, 2023 at 9:45 am
i think this legislation may have benefits as I heard it accurately ready there were terms to report the lobbyist, and payments from foreign interests be reported. consider how legislation allows foreign involvement in US media, pushing false narratives, pushing stories as far as receiving Pulitzer Prize for lies, this legislation needs to be possibly rewritten though the intent is to protect americans from foreign propaganda
March 4, 2023 at 1:07 pm
I get what you are saying about the foreign payments and lobbying for false stories, but this is entering into over regulated territory and it is not the way to go. This guy is hurting his own party by pulling something like this.
March 5, 2023 at 2:41 pm
How about we change the focus of this bill so that all Florida politicians must report all contributions they receive within 5 days of receipt and WHO contributed. Politicians who do not file their reports on time should be fined $100 day up to a maximum of $100,000. Any proceeds from the fines should go to the ACLU and other organizations that protect the Bill of Rights. And then we could roll this out nationwide.
March 3, 2023 at 9:51 am
While I appreciate your attempt to write this without bias, this is so obviously in violation of the 1st Amendment that summary judgement would probably be issued in the inevitable lawsuit about five minutes after the suit was filed. Too bad you can’t say that…but you could have at least hinted at it.
March 3, 2023 at 5:21 pm
Let me get my opinion codified before Senate Bill 1316 is jackbooted onto Floridian “bloggers” who may be required to register with the Disingenuosi administration.
A blog is defined in the bill as “a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content” and a blog post as “an individual webpage on a blog which contains an article, a story, or a series of stories.” (It should be noted that the signed bill may expand or restrict who is required to “register with the State.”)
In actuality, this bill serves the same function as a Car Shield administrator. You, the Floridian blogger, are compelled to disclose to the Disingenuosi the content you are blogging, along with personal data like age, address, party affiliation, net worth, voting record,, and any other sensitive data that can be used against the “blogger” in order to prosecute them in court, as well as persecute them in the right wing media.
Like an auto repair estimate, the Administrator looks at your “blogs” and decides, on the basis of a black box ‘wokeness’ assessment, just how much to censor, fine, and/or incarcerate you, the illegal blogger, the enemy of the State. How much you will have to pay for your “woken” blog post and failing to “register”.
To be clear, this red meat will inspire an army of Floridian voters to fill comment sections such as this one, and many others, with their rightful opinion guaranteed by the First Amendment.
I predict there will be many who write “an article, a story, or a series of stories,” about “the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature.” However, they will forget to register.
I predict that Floridians who write for pay, and want to discuss our Governor or state legislators without worries, will do so anonymously in a website originating outside of Florida.
The jackboot opinionators are going to fill right wing media outlets with their threat to jam their unconstitutional SB1316 down our collective throats.
But—-just like with the Martha’s Vineyard kabuki and the Disney World land disappropriation debacle, this is ill-conceived performance theatre aiming to keep Disingenuosi in the news cycle. The blowback on these stunts has yet to be adjudicated.
The governor wants the lowest common denominator of supporter. Namely, whoever is dissatisfied with their life or circumstances and can be easily enraged. I predict American voters who are the targets of this self-anointed anti-woke warrior will turn up their nose at this shameless pandering to the disaffected.
Anyone with a brain will watch the cage-rattling provocations of this GOP shapeshifter and will, in the final analysis, understand Governor Disingenuosi to be a scheming authoritarian with little in the way of ethics, morals, or sensibility.
March 3, 2023 at 6:56 pm
Maybe Florida should change its name to New China.
March 4, 2023 at 8:18 am
I wonder if this applies to people working for Gov. DeSantis et al who post on line.
David A Howard
March 4, 2023 at 2:58 pm
“BAN THE JAB” http://stateofthenation.co/?p=157948
March 6, 2023 at 1:48 pm
This has no merit other than to intimidate free speech. If you know anything about history this is just another place fascism starts, Read the chronology of Hitler once he was in office. He went after the gays, kept moving on to other marginalized groups, banning books, putting out disinformation, going after the press which DeSantis is already doing all of this now. In this case it’s basic free speech he’s after.. Lobbyist and foreign government is a different matter and the Banana Republic Party will still take foreign money like they have and do now in elections even with laws in place.
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