Florida Sen. Wants Bloggers to Register To Write About Govt. Officials
Just when you thought the world of free speech couldn’t get more draconian, a bill that proves you wrong appears in the Florida Congress. Sen. Jason Brodeur (R) created a sweeping bill that would require bloggers who write about any government official to register with the state.
(Okay, I’m kidding. We all knew things were going downhill and bound to get worse. This is definitely worse, though.)
The very idea that, in the United States of America, one would need to register with the government to talk about the government is profoundly, deeply, and disturbingly un-American.
What does SB:1315 say?
Here’s what would happen. Bloggers must continuously update the state on how much money they made on any articles mentioning government officials. If the bill were to pass, failure to register and update the state about compensation will result in daily fines.
SB:1315: Information Dissemination targets bloggers specifically. For a small, one-person blog that covers politics, the paperwork would be so onerous as to put them out of business. I guess a blogger must’ve written something about Sen. Brodeur and hurt his feelings enough he wrote an entire law about it.
Here’s some of the verbiage:
- requiring bloggers to register with the Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, as applicable, within a specified timeframe;
- requiring such bloggers to file monthly reports with the appropriate office by a certain date; providing an exception;
- specifying reporting requirements;
- authorizing a magistrate to enter a final order determining the reasonableness of circumstances for an untimely filing or a fine amount;
- requiring that the Legislature and the Commission on Ethics adopt a specified rule; providing penalties for late filing;
- prohibiting the assessment of a fine for the first time a report is not timely filed, under specified conditions;
- authorizing bloggers to appeal a fine within a specified timeframe
- specifying the appeal process; authorizing bloggers to request that the appropriate office waive the reporting requirement under specified conditions;
- providing that unpaid fines for a specified timeframe may be recovered through the courts of this state; providing an effective date.
There’s more, but that’s the gist of it.
Another attack on free speech
First things first, please note that the sponsor of this bill is a Republican. People are always ready to point fingers at the Democrats for offenses against the 1st Amendment (and with good cause, which we’ll discuss in a moment). But i
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