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Florida bill would require bloggers who write about the governor and lawmakers to register with the state


A Republican Florida state senator has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require bloggers who write about Governor Ron DeSantis, his cabinet, or state lawmakers to register with the ‘State.

Sen. Jason Brodeur’s “Disclosure of Information” bill would also require bloggers to disclose who pays them for their posts about certain elected officials, and how much.

“If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected official and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register” with the appropriate office within five days of posting, the draft states. law.

It defines “elected officer of state” as “the governor, lieutenant governor, an officer of the Cabinet, or any member of the Legislative Assembly.”

Failure to register would result in a fine of $25 per day, and the penalty would be capped at $2,500 per posting, NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa reported.

The bill states that bloggers’ reports to the state “must include” “the person or entity that compensated the blogger for the blog post, and “the amount of compensation received from the person or entity. ‘entity “.

The bill defines a blog as “a website or webpage that hosts a blogger and is frequently updated with opinions, comments or commercial content”, but states that “the term does not include the site website of a newspaper or other similar publication”.

DeSantis’ office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday night for its position on the bill.

Brodeur did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening, but told the Florida Politics site, which first reported on the bill, that “paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of speak.” They are both elected professionals. If lobbyists have to register and report, why not paid bloggers? »

Ron Kuby, a First Amendment lawyer in New York, said the law would not survive a legal challenge if passed.

“It’s hard to imagine a proposal that would violate the First Amendment any further,” Kuby said. “We do not register journalists. People who write cannot be forced to register.”

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